There’s no question America is a country of animal lovers. Eleven percent of cat and dog owners make financial arrangements for their pets in their wills, for Pete’s sake. But in National Pet Adoption Month, one eternal question remains: Which four-legged friend is quantifiably best? Let’s crunch the numbers.
AVERAGE COST OF ACQUISITION
Dog: $408 ($556 for purebred)
Cat: $66 ($169 for purebred)
AVERAGE ANNUAL OPERATING COSTS
Dog: : $557 ($269 for food, $61 for treats, $227 for vet visits)
Cat: $387 ($246 for food, $51 for treats, $90 for vet visits)
POPULARITY IN MASSACHUSETTS
Dog: 23.6% of households have at least one; total state population: 850,000
Cat: 34.1% of households have at least one; total state population: nearly 1.6 million
AVERAGE LIFE SPAN IN MASSACHUSETTS
Dog: 11.5 years (0.1 years lower than national average)
Cat: 13.7 years (1.2 years higher than national average)
Dog: Companionship, stress relief, exercise, slipper fetching, good at finding people down wells
Cat: Companionship, stress relief, easy to care for, good at holding down stacks of paper
Dog: Shedding, difficulties traveling, slobber, dog-park people, poop outside your house
Cat: Shedding, clawed couches, yowling, suspicious looks, poop inside your house
Dog: Average owner is 46, makes $62,000, and is more likely than the general population to be married
Cat: Average owner is 47, makes $57,000, and is more likely than the general population to own his or her home
PERCENTAGE OF OWNERS WHO CONSIDER THEIR PET A FAMILY MEMBER
Dog: 66.7% (4% of owners buy bottled water for their dog)
Cat: 56.1% (6% of owners have thrown a party for their cat)
PERCENTAGE OF PETS WHO CONSIDER THEIR OWNERS FAMILY
Cat: 0% Have you ever met a cat?
EXEMPLAR OF THE SPECIES
Cat: Grumpy Cat
Dog: Sure, they’re expensive, but most people would say they’re worth it.
Cat: The budget pet is clearly the most popular, but what are you really getting?
Related coverage:American Pet Products Association, APPA National Pet Owners Survey 2015-2016; American Veterinary Medical Association, US Pet Ownership & Demographics Sourcebook 2012 Edition; Banfield Pet Hospital, State of Pet Health Report.