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Cat and Dog Population

More than half of all American households share their home with at least one cat or dog. Today the pet dog population is more than 75 million, and the pet cat population is well over 84 million.

 

1981*

1991*

2001**

2011**

2012**

Dogs

53,831,000

53,272,000

61,293,000

74,385,000

75,773,000

Cats

44,579,000

62,434,000

75,601,000

84,415,300

84,726,300

Source: *PFI pet ownership statistics; **Euromonitor International

 

Reasons for the Increase in Pet Ownership

There are many reasons for the increase in pet ownership over the last several decades. The in­creasingly urban nature of our society, with our resulting separation from farm animals and from nature, may have stimulated a desire to bring dogs and cats, the most suitable domestic companion animals, into our lives. The breakdown of the nuclear family, with older people and unmarried adults often living alone, has led to the appreciation of dogs and cats as companions. For some, the presence of a watchdog which alerts the owner to anyone else's presence gives a sense of security in addition to companionship.

The importance of pets goes beyond these responses to trends in society. In recent years evidence has become conclusive that pets contribute to the well-being, both physical and psychological, of their owners.

 

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