America's Pets


The 2007-2008 National Pet Owners Survey is out, and guess what? There are 142 million freshwater fish in America. Compare that to the number two most-owned pet on the list, cats, at 88.3 million, and you begin to see how fish are just swimming by the competition. Coming in at 74.8 million, dogs, of course, but what's interesting is that more American families own dogs than cats. The reason why there are more cats? Because most cat owners own two, while most dog owners only own one.

Birds notch in at 16 million, horses at 13.8 million, reptiles at 13.4 million, and saltwater fish at 9.6 million. There's also a category called 'Other small animals,' which, I assume includes things likes gerbils and hamsters. Americans own 24.3 million others. Growing up, my neighbor owned a ferret, which I've always regarded as a strange other. What kind of unusual others do you own? Your neighbors? Family? Friends? Cohorts? Let's hear about the strangest others out there.

More facts from the survey:


Thirty-nine percent of U.S. households own at least one dog
Most owners (63 percent) own one dog
Twenty-five percent of owners own two dogs
Twelve percent of owners own three or more dogs
Ten percent of owned dogs were adopted from an animal shelter


Nearly 34 percent of U.S. households (or 38.4 million) own at least one cat
Fifty-six percent of owners own more than one cat
On average, owners have two cats (2.3)
More female cats are owned than male cats (73 percent vs. 63 percent respectively)
Eighteen percent of owned cats were adopted from an animal shelter