Under great pressure from one of the mini-Ws, I agreed a couple of months ago to provide shelter for an abandoned cat. The feline in question is a spirited character, who has made short work of our carpet and gets through mountains of chicken and turkey terrine. I guess I must have a soppy, sentimental side.
Of course, it's a short step from being a pet owner to shelling out for pet insurance. People are quick to warn you about exorbitant vets' fees. And once you sign up to Petplan, you become a proud recipient of Pet People - a magazine packed full of exciting advice for animal aficionados everywhere.
In the current edition, I have an opportunity to win a TransK9 'Space Saver' Dog Transit Box, one of seven 'pawprints lockets' or 10 sacks of Burgess Sensitive Scottish Salmon and Rice. For pet owners worried about their pooch being seen on a dark winter's night, 15 high-visibility, reflective dog jackets are on offer. But it's the obsession with excrement that really gives the magazine its unique flavour.
It's true that I can walk into any newsagent and find plenty of magazines that are full of s**t. But none of them are a patch on Pet People.
"We settled Sally, my Bearded Collie, in the car while we joined acquaintances for dinner in their immaculate house," writes Beverley Cuddy, editor and publisher of Dogs Today. "When I checked on her, I found she'd done the most enormous poo on the velour car seat. Too embarrassed to share this with my hosts, I grabbed the only item I could find - an old T-shirt from the boot. Only when when we were back home did I realise that I'd left the soiled shirt on their hedge."
Well, Beverley, thanks so much for sharing your 'real-life toilet tale'. It will certainly be a talking point the next time we invite you over to Woodford Towers for supper.
Not to be outdone, Dave Nightingale chips in on the PetplanUK Facebook page. His wife made an apple crumble ten years ago, which his cat mistook for a litter tray.
What these troubled owners need is Poopsta, 'the world's first one-push poop scoop'.
"Do you hate the feel of dog mess through the bag when you pick it up?" asks the promotional blurb. "Are you tired of carrying bagged poop until you find a dog bin?" Poopsta has a 'patented single-push action', which 'transforms a rubber band and biodegradable plastic bag into a four-in-one poop scooping system'.
I fear that I'm not yet quite the Pet Person that Pet People thinks I am. But I also fear the magazine may become a regular guest publication on WARTE.