|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 71 million, and the pet cat population is well over 73 million.
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.