In another sign of the rising status of animals in U.S. households: Fluffy and Scout are scoring big this holiday season. Shoppers scrambling to buy Christmas and Hanukkah presents are picking up something special for their furry and feathered companions too.

Sniffing an opportunity, big-box retailers and specialty boutiques alike have rushed out gift sets, party outfits and luxurious spa treatments — all for pets. There are even pet stockings to hang by the chimney with care.

Not only do more people own pets — nearly 70% of U.S. households, up from 56% in 1988 — but many are treating their cats and dogs as they would a friend or family member, said Bob Vetere, chief executive of the American Pet Products Assn.

The pets-as-people trend was unleashed by twenty- and thirtysomethings who are waiting to have offspring, and empty nesters whose critters are replacements for adult children.