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Which are better: dogs or cats?

All the advice you’ll need — expert and otherwise — to make a choice during National Pet Adoption Month.

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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

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Dog: : $557 ($269 for food, $61 for treats, $227 for vet visits)

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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)

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Cat: 13.7 years (1.2 years higher than national average)

COMMON BENEFITS

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

COMMON DRAWBACKS

Dog: Shedding, difficulties traveling, slobber, dog-park people, poop outside your house

Cat: Shedding, clawed couches, yowling, suspicious looks, poop inside your house

DEMOGRAPHIC CORRELATIONS

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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

Dog: 100%

Cat: 0% Have you ever met a cat?

EXEMPLAR OF THE SPECIES

Dog: Lassie

Cat: Grumpy Cat

THE VERDICT

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:

- Mourning the loss of a dog can be a lonely endeavor

- Love me, love my cat

- Psychological effects of pets are profound

Sources: 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.