A Mother's Day for singles and pets is on the cards

Straining desperately for perceived new niche markets, the latest in Mother's Day greeting cards will be on supermarket shelves today.

The card for the single mother is being stocked at Asda for the first time, beside the cards from cats and dogs for their human "mothers". Asda reckons the cards will be popular.

At £1.99 and illustrated with flowers, the single mother's card makes a brave attempt to celebrate her changing responsibilities. The verse reads: "As a single mum you devote extra time, love and energy to the things you do each day/ And though you don't look for praise or recognition, there couldn't be a better time than Mother's Day to remind you how special you really are!"

Cards for stepmothers - established in the Christmas market - carefully avoid the term "stepmother" with the words "Like a mum" to cover every shade of mother from granny to aunt.

An Asda buyer, Ceri Stirland, said the emphasis was on the wording of the rhymes, which are longer than those in most conventional cards. "The cards are a response to the market and the identification of opportunity," she said.

"The pets cards went down wonderfully at Christmas. They are appreciated by [women] who have not had children and who perceive their pets as 'children'. That's why we are doing pets' cards for Mother's Day. We thought it was about time someone recognised all mums, whatever their circumstances."

The images on Mother's Day cards for mothers also reflect lifestyles. "Women are not portrayed in front of ironing boards any more," said Ms Stirland.

And men will not miss out when their time comes. Stepfather's cards, as well as those to "Father" from cats and dogs, are in preparation.

Those who intended sending a card are, of course, late. Yesterday was the last day for posting. The Royal Mail expects to deliver 12 million cards.