There's an old myth that the mice will play when the cat's away. But who watches the cat or dog when the owner is away?
Now, any pet owner with smart home technology can keep tabs on their pet when they are away - and help keep their home safe, too.
Total Connect is a home security system that can be accessed through mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, as well as computers.
The security system uses WiFi cameras to keep tabs on activity inside and outside the home, said Tim Andrew, marketing director for Moon Security, a Secure + integrator.
"If a client can receive emails and/or texts on their smart devices, then it should work as intended," Andrew said.
Secure + is a special designation offered by the Electronic Security Association to increase awareness of enhanced digital services provided by the association's members. Locally, ASAP Security of Las Vegas is a Secure + integrator and member of the association.
Total Connect is just one of thousands of products on the market catering to people's love of their pets. The American Pet Products Association reported that Americans spent $50.96 billion on their pets in 2011, the last year figures were available for, and estimated that would increase to $52.87 billion in 2012. Estimates for 2013 were not available.
As with home furnishings and accessories, items for pets who live in the home are becoming more stylish and available in a variety of colors.
"Most people want their pet products to blend into the home, so they want the litter box disguised, the food and water bowls to be stylish and their beds and gates to match the furniture of the home," said Tierra Bonaldi, pet lifestylist for the APPA. "There are scratching posts made from real plants to further blend into your home décor and cages that are built into end tables so again, décor is not being compromised.
"However, the products need to be functional and have the approval of the pets in the first place or they won't be doing anyone any good."
Jillian Plaster, owner of The Dog House at Town Square Las Vegas, sees this on a regular basis.
"We have a variety of bowls, beds, etc., to make pets feel at home, but we specialize in being able to custom order any style and size our customers need," she said. "... whether a customer wants something traditional or trendy we can get it for them."
In addition to being able to customize pet products, she said The Dog House only offers items that are safe for the pet to use.
Bonaldi said specialized products for pets range from beds that are heated and therapeutic to those that are elevated and eco-friendly.
As more people are choosing to live greener, Bonaldi said they are seeking out environmentally friendly products for their pets as well.
"I would say the newer trends go away from the kitschy design of paw prints and bones and are more eco-friendly, safe and discreet. We are noticing plastics are now all BPA free, but manufacturers and owners are even moving away from plastics toward stainless steel and ceramics," she said.
Additionally, products are being designed with convenience in mind with items such as programmable feeding and drinking systems, automatic and battery-operated toys, self-cleaning litter boxes and self-warming pet mats.
Included in this trend is FrostyBowlz, a two-part bowl that keeps water or food cold. The stainless steel bowl has a removable center core that goes into the freezer. It stays cold for as many as 14 hours, depending on the ambient temperature, according to the manufacturer.
Another trend in pet care is companies traditionally known for making products for humans now including animals as part of their customer base. According to the APPA, companies such as Paul Mitchell, Omaha Steaks, Origins, Harley-Davidson and Old Navy are now offering lines of pet products ranging from dog shampoo, pet attire and name-brand toys to gourmet treats and food.
And with more American families having pets than children, 62 percent versus 44 percent, according to statistics by the APPA and Census Bureau, that is not surprising.