Best Friends reports 2/3rds of U.S. households share their homes with pets


Many of us in the United States share our homes with cats and dogs. That news comes from Best Friends Animal Society in its most recent report on the number of cats and dogs in U.S. households. Best Friends also reported on the latest statistics of animals in shelters as the organization looks toward a no-kill shelter goal by 2025.

Key stats about cats in U.S. households

· 76 million cats owned in the U.S.

· 1.78 average cats per household

· 19 percent fewer cats owned in the U.S. since 2016

· 42.7 million (34 percent) U.S. households have a cat

· 12 percent increase in households with cats in the past 10 years

· 15 percent increase in households with cats in the past 20 years


Key Stats About Dogs in US Households

· 97 million dogs owned in the U.S.

· 1.53 average dogs per household

· 8 percent more dogs owned in the U.S. since 2016

· 63.4 million (50%) U.S. households have a dog

· 39 percent increase in households with dogs in past 10 years

· 62 percent increase in households with dogs in the past 20 years

Current number of animals in U.S. shelters

· 5.4 million cats and dogs entered U.S. animal shelters in 2019

· 79 percent of the 5.4 million cats and dogs that entered U.S. shelters were saved in 2019

· Sadly, 625,000 cats and dogs were killed

· 52 percent of animals entering shelters are dogs, 48 percent are cats.

Why do pets end up in shelters?

Pets are relinquished to shelters for reasons related to the owner’s circumstances at roughly a ratio of 2 to 1 as compared to reasons specific to the animal. Unlike what many may believe, the animal’s behavior is not a leading reason for surrender.


Top reasons cats and dogs are surrendered

· Euthanasia 18.5 percent

· Housing 14.8 percent

· Financial 11.3 percent

· Caretake or family health/death 10.7 percent

Note: 12 percent of cats are surrendered due to the owner having too many animals, ranking 4th, ahead of financial factors.

Trap-neuter-return (TNR)

While dog intakes are higher than cat intakes, twice as many cats are dying in shelters. 69 percent of the animals killed in shelters are cats (the remaining 31 percent are dogs)

Most significant concerns about free-roaming cats

· 52 percent overpopulation

· 50 percent spread of disease

· 49 percent abandoned litters

· 43 percent safety of the cats


See more statistics on pets and shelter stats from Best Friends.

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