International Cat Day may seem like a fluffy story, but it turns out it's actually purr-fectly serious, given the global market for cat treats was worth more than $2bn (£1.5bn) dollars for the first time this year. Fur real.
Figures by Euromonitor suggested the global cat treat market in particular has jumped to $2.05bn in 2017, rising from $1.2bn in 2012.
North America makes up the largest segment of that market, with a $966m slice, followed closely by Western Europe, which spent $862m on treats for its moggies last year. In the Middle East and Africa, people spent just $2m - although that has climbed from $1.4m in 2012.
Mars has the largest market share, with a 42.2 per cent chunk of the cat treat market. That's followed by Nestle, which has 15.8 per cent of the market, while Vitakraft Pet Care has 4.7 per cent.
Cat litter is another money-spinner: in the US, sales hit $2.4bn last year, up 18 per cent since 2011.
Euromonitor said a rise in the number of cats being kept indoors, a fall in the number being put down and enhanced nutrition (brands now offer paleo and gluten-free diets for pets) has led to an increase in moggies' life expectancy - although 58 per cent of those in the US were classed as overweight or obese in 2015, so those jazzy new diets might not be working.
“The pet care industry is expected to achieve good growth in 2017, with a two per cent rise expected in constant 2017 value terms," said Paula Flores, head of pet care at Euromonitor International.
"Pet owners are continuing to establish strong bonds with their pets, with pets becoming companions, friends or ersatz children. This humanisation phenomenon may not be new, but it has been driving the industry.
"The many ways in which it has done so are continuing to change. A good example is the continuous growth of dog and cat treats – globally the categories with the highest growth. Cat treats, in particular, has seen exponential growth in most regions, albeit from a small base, making it the most dynamic category globally in 2017.”