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What would pets use for currency?

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I have a world-building question for a story I am writing. I am looking for ideas as to what type of currency pets and animals roaming around a city would use. Assume the animals have an incredible grasp on technology and can wear storage pouches/satchels.  So far, the two options I have are some sort of nut and/or a hammered bronze coin. But I'm not 100% sold on those. Any ideas?
#1 - March 31, 2021, 12:57 PM

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What a fun concept! Dog biscuits? Jerky? Something dogs would value, that you can't just pick up from anywhere.
#2 - March 31, 2021, 03:11 PM
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You can absolutely make it anything. It's your story, your ideas. You can go with real currency. Are they talking animals? I would assume so, and as intelligent as you want them. Maybe if you were going more organic, I would go with some kind of valuable nut, or food? Are they bartering and trading? If you had it high tech, you can invent something completely new? Or jewels, gems? Nuggets of gold?

It's what fits for your story. If it's a fantasy, you have an endless amount of ideas. But if you were trying to make the animals realistic,  the coins or paper currency would work too.
#3 - March 31, 2021, 04:29 PM
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I'm reframing your question because that helps me brainstorm. What would squirrels, rats, dogs and cats all value? Are birds included? My first thought is food, but once you eat it, you can't buy anything else. Some birds gather things to use for nests. Do squirrels do this too? If those items are shiny enough, they might attract a cat. But not a dog. Can they trade in scents? Items that smell like far away places or the ocean or a cozy living room with people might work. But I don't know if birds smell. I imagine more of a barter system than actual currency. (This is easier for kids to understand.) But you need to set relative values. Maybe research all the animals involved and find a common thing they'd like.
#4 - March 31, 2021, 06:37 PM
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The word "pets" infers humans are still the dominant species. Food doesn't work because animals don't treat it consistently. Dogs binge and squirrels store. But the bigger question is what do they buy with this currency? tech? belly rubs? freedom from their human overlords?

Then ask who are they buying it from? And work backwards from that.

E.g. They buy tech from crows (who collect shiny things), so the currency is other shiny things -- like cubic zirconia (because you want it reasonably easy to get).

#5 - March 31, 2021, 06:51 PM

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 Maybe different currencies for different animals. 

Birds would value shiny trinkets of the sort a magpie might pick up.  A bit of colored glass, a bright bit of string, a lost ring. 

The less reputable cats are in the drug trade, with catnip being their coin.  But better bred cats like cat toys and shoestrings. 

Dogs horde bones mostly, though all things edible are highly valued though not great currency since they're quickly consumed.  Squeaky toys are more valuable than toys that don't make noise. 

Reptiles trade stones that they line their sleeping areas. 

No one knows what rabbits trade. 

Fish don't understand any of it. 
#6 - March 31, 2021, 06:54 PM

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Fish don't understand any of it. 
I love this! : )

#7 - March 31, 2021, 07:21 PM
Odd Bods: The World's Unusual Animals - Millbrook Press 2021
Tiny Possum and the Migrating Moths - CSIRO Pub. Oct. 2021

www.juliemurphybooks.com

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Thank you to everyone who responded! I finally had a chance to look at the responses this morning and the thread is full of good ideas.

I'm leaning towards something inedible- as it would help to make it universal for different types of animals (pigeons, cats, dogs, snakes, etc).

But I especially loved the concept of cats being heavy into the 'drug trade' of catnip. I lol'd at that in real life and will probably incorporate that :)
#8 - April 01, 2021, 07:30 AM

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This thread was highly entertaining. Thank you Michael.
#9 - April 01, 2021, 09:06 AM
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Maybe different currencies for different animals. 
I like this idea because it makes practical sense. Of course, it would make it hard for the animals to buy and sell from each other. Perhaps you could have a financial broker animal where the other animals go to exchange their currency for some other form of universal animal currency. I have no idea what that would be. Maybe the financial broker could help the animals value their currency - like 6 acorns equal one dog biscuit, or one shiny object equals two pieces of string.

The less reputable cats are in the drug trade, with catnip being their coin. 

No one knows what rabbits trade. 

Fish don't understand any of it. 
I especially liked these suggestions.  :) This has been such a fun thread. :star2



#10 - April 01, 2021, 07:47 PM

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Or you could have a dog searching out shinnies to pay a bird for something he needs from the bird.  Or a cat could be digging up dog bones with much distaste because she needs to trade something to a dog who won't take fine quality catnip like a sensible cat would.  And where the heck did that rabbit get a skateboard anyway?  And how did it learn to ride it?!?
#11 - April 01, 2021, 08:21 PM

I love the idea of jerky. It takes a long time to make, which makes it worthwhile. It can be stored. And I think the most important thing to an animal is food for survival.

Different types of jerky could have different types of value.

Ree
#12 - April 02, 2021, 06:00 AM

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