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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.