...a cat. Or a dog. It depends on how you look at the numbers.
While there are far more cats as pets, many homes have multiple cats. That means there are more households with a dog than there are households with cats--even if the total number of cats outnumbers dogs.
The 2007 National Pet Owners Survey, conducted by the American Pet Products Manufacturer's Association, broke down the pet preferences of Americans as follows, reports LiveScience.com:
Pet ownership in the United States has reached an all-time high with 71.1 million households owning at least one pet, which translates to 63 percent of all households. In 1988, the first year the survey was conducted, 51 million households owned a pet.
- 142 million freshwater fish
- 88.3 million cats
- 74.8 million dogs
- 16 million birds
- 24.3 million small animals
- 13.8 million horses
- 13.4 million reptiles
- 9.6 million saltwater fish
Fun facts to know and tell about pet ownership:
- Americans will spend about $40 billion on their pets this year.
- Pets' veterinary care, medicine and supplies will total $19.7 billion this year.
- $16.1 billion is what Americans will spend on pet food this year.
- 77 percent of dogs were on medication at some point in 2006.
- 3 percent of dog owners purchased health insurance for their pooches.
- 30 percent of dogs go on vacation with their owners.
- Almost 50 percent of dog owners consider their dog's comfort when purchasing a new vehicle.
- More than 50 percent of dog owners bought their dog a gift in 2006. The average price of that gift was just over $10.
- The average pet owner will spend $107 a year on toys and treats.
- 40 percent of dogs and cats are overweight.
- 26 percent of dogs have their own beds.
- 42 percent of dog owners share a bed with their dog.
- 63 percent of cat owners let the cat sleep in their bed.