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Dog vs. Cat Statistics

image of dog and cat hanging out

Is your family about to get a pet for the first time? Do you find it hard to make up your mind about which one it should be? A cuddly little kitten or a cute puppy, perhaps? 

You probably know that cats and dogs are by far the most popular types of pets people across the USA parent. In this article, we look at some facts and figures related to these two. The cats and dogs statistics may indeed be a starting point of your search for an ideal pet. 

So, where do most feline and canine pets come from? Which group is more prone to catching diseases, or how many of them get neutered or spayed? Are there any other curious facts you didn’t know but are relevant for a prospective owner?

Read on to find the answer to these, along with many more questions.

Cat and Dog Comparison Chart

Are you more of a cat person, eager to have a lovable, but a more independent pet by your side? Or is it a loyal canine that would make a perfect companion for you? In this section, we have compared some of the essential characteristics of both groups.

Hunting ability


If you feed them good food regularly, they will not hunt. However, no mouse will be safe around your household.


All pups are natural hunters, but this behavior is not typical of dogs that are fed.



Felines do not suffer from separation anxiety as much as pups do, so being left on their own at home is not a problem for them.


Canines are more sociable and enjoy the company of other pups and people. They tend to feel lonely if left at home for too long.



Your feline pet will do quite well even when living in an apartment, as they do not require too much space.


Pups enjoy having a lot of space since they are active and playful. Yet, a properly trained dog copes well with living in an apartment, too.



Cats do not hide their affection, but there are many situations in which they tend to show their dominant, independent nature.


Canines are known from being highly affectionate, loyal and attached to their owners

Good with children


Felines tend to be impatient with small children, so keep an eye on them to avoid incidents such as scratching, biting or hissing.


It depends on each dog’s character how friendly they are towards small children.

Other Differences



No matter whether your mouser is long or short-haired, it requires regular brushing to maintain its fur healthy. The longer a feline’s hair, the more frequent the brushing sessions should be. It is not necessary to give your feline pet baths, except in some special situations.

To keep your pet dog’s coat healthy and shiny, do not forget to brush them regularly. If your best buddy has longer or curly hair, do it more often. Most pups enjoy their baths, but you should not overdo it.



How much food you should give to a kitty is conditioned by their age and size. Generally speaking, they require less food than pooches, and the average daily calorie intake ranges between 250 and 300 for a grown-up feline. There are various types of dry and wet food options to choose from.

A wide variety of food, both wet and dry, is available for your canine pets (best rated dog food here). When it comes to the recommended amount, it should ensure the intake of between 25 and 30 calories per pound a day.



Dogs call for a considerably greater deal of attention. They seek the company of people or other pets and can get rather unhappy if left on their own for too long. If you are too short of time and have a busy daily timetable, it may reflect negatively on your furry pal.

Felines are less demanding and do not get so stressed out about being on their own for some time.


Tricks and Games

Cats are playful and energetic, and they find it entertaining to do tricks. However, they usually do it for their own amusement, rather than to please their owners. It is still possible to teach your furry friend a few tricks or games, though.

Many dog breeds enjoy doing tricks and get a great deal of pleasure by being stimulated mentally (check best interactive toys for dogs). They require plenty of activity daily.


Space Needed

Though they can have lots of fun playing in the garden, felines generally do not need too much space. They can be equally happy and content if kept in your home.

On the other hand, dogs are active, enjoy running, and energetic play sessions, and require much more space. Make sure your dog gets enough exercise, walks, and time spent outside in the open space.



Cats are known for their strong character and their independent nature, which can be a bit of an obstacle during the training process.

It is, however, possible to train them and teach them some basic rules of behavior around your home. Your kitty will learn to use their litter box in no time.

Most canines are quick learners and are easy to train. With some breeds, it may take a bit more time and skill than with others, but overall they respond well to being trained. A training process usually lasts around two months.

See more: Dog Training: Fetch

image of cat and dog getting know each other



A cat likes the company of people but is also very independent. Felines are rather well-off on their own and will not suffer too much if left alone at home while you are out working or running errands.

Canines are more friendly and enjoy being around people. They need far more attention, and quite a few of them tend to feel anxious if you leave them alone for too long. If you have a busy lifestyle and spend most of the time out of your home, getting a pet pup may not be the best idea.



The costs involved in keeping a feline are estimated to amount to 670$ per year. The data is provided by ASPCA [1]. This sum of money should be sufficient to provide your your purry friend  with food, litter, and pay for the medical treatment costs.

How much money per year you may need to keep a dog is conditioned by the breed. Small dogs will require around $580. Medium breed costs will reach the sum of about $695, while large ones need around $875.

Most Popular Cat and Dog Breeds

image of siamese cat


Depending on whether their lineage has a pedigree history or not, felines are usually referred to as either purebred or domestic. Some breeds have been around for a long time, though leading associations recognize different numbers of official breeds.

The three most popular types of felines [2] in the US include Siamese, Persian, and Maine Coon.

labrador retriever puppy image


No other animal is as popular in the US as a dog. There is a large number of breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club, but several breeds seem to be picked by the largest number of people.

Labrador Retrievers have, for a long time, been the favorite breed of most Americans [3], while other popular pups include Yorkshire Terriers, German Shepherds, and Golden Retrievers.

Ownership Statistics in the United States

  • Cat Ownership

According to data obtained in the US census, approximately 86.4 million kitties are kept as pets. Every third American household is home to at least one of these animals. On average, the number of felines living with cat-loving American families is two.

Figures provided by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) [4] are somewhat different regarding the feline ownership statistics. According to these, the number of mousers living in American homes amounts to 74 million.

  • Canine Ownership

There are 78.2 milion pooches kept as pets in American homes. This number was recorded in the US census. Almost 40% of American households have a canine companion. The average number of canines per family is one.

Statistical data provided by the AVMA states the total number of 70 million pooches that are kept in the States. On the whole, more families, in general, opt for a dog as their pet. However, feline lovers seem to keep more than one such pet at a time.

dogs and cats ownership statistic illustration

Shelter Intake Percentage

You may find your future pet in one of many shelters and rescues across the country. So, let us have a look at some cats and dogs shelter statistics. You never know – your new best friend may be waiting for you to give them a second chance.

  • Cat Intake

Between five and seven million felines and dogs end up in shelters every year. The percentage of animals that are returned to their owners is very small, i.e., it is less than 2% in the case of the former. Microchips, tags, and tattoos are of great assistance in finding the owners of these misfortunate animals.

Yet, despite all of the efforts invested by shelters to rehome them, around 70% of these animals are euthanized annually.

  • Dog Intake

If a pup gets abandoned by their owner or the animal control picks them up, they will probably find a temporary home in one of the shelter facilities. As many as 60% of them will, however, not get a second chance and will face euthanasia. Between 15 % and 20% of rescued canines will be reunited with their owners (read more about benefits of adopting a dog).

New microchip evaluation techniques will make it possible to identify an animal even 25 years after the chip is implanted.

Other Statistical Facts About Cats and Dogs

If you have taken a kitten or a puppy as your new family member, you have probably got them from a friend or a family member. About a quarter of these animals are purchased from a breeder, whereas a fifth of them is adopted from a shelter. Between 2% to 10% are bought in a pet shop.

If we look at adopted pets, it is interesting to notice that not all of them stand the same chance of finding a new owner.

While black puppies do not seem to be people’s favorites, as many as 61% of cats and kittens adopted from rescues are mostly or entirely black.

Owners spay or neuter their felines in 88% of the cases, while the percentage in the case of pups is somewhat lower and amounts to 78%.

Yet, it appears that only 10 % of dogs and cats that get into shelters have been neutered and spayed.

illustration of a man taking dog for a walk

While the gender seems to be of less importance to dog owners judging by the approximately the same numbers of male and female canines owned, female kitties seem to outnumber the males in American homes (with between 65 and 80% of female felines kept as pets).

Owners of both these animals feel strong affection towards their companions, considering them as members of the family ( 79% of dog owners think this way, compared to 63% of owners of felines.

Still, only 1% of all animals have their insurance policy.

Pups enjoy car rides on many more occasions ( 75% of them get this chance in comparison with only 8 % of cats. 34% of pooches will accompany their owners during family trips and vacations.

illustration of a cat sleeping on sofa next to girl

Cat owners seem to be less strict about allowing their buddies to sit or lie on the furniture (in 70% of homes) or even share their bed with a family member (65% of cats). Figures are significantly lower for canines and are estimated to 40% in the former, and 39% in the latter case.

Owners seem to spare no expense when treats for their beloved friends are in question. And while around $100 million is spent on feline treats per year, a jaw-dropping figure of $ 1 billion goes on treats for pups.

Finally, when the time comes to say goodbye, almost 60% of all owners will bury their furry companion  somewhere on their property – with figures being identical for both groups of animals.


Letting a new furry friend enter your life and home is undoubtedly a big decision. These loving creatures bring plenty of joy and affection, but also call for a great deal of responsibility, attention, and dedication. It is thus essential to be aware that the choice of the right pet should not be taken for granted.

So, before you take in a new lovable fuzzball, find out about as many aspects of cat or dog ownership as possible. Responsible approach and a well-informed decision are bound to bring you many years of mere joy with your loyal friend by your side.


• [1] ASPCA Releases Updates to Estimated Costs of Pet Ownership – www.aspca.org

• [2] CFA Breeds – cfa.org

• [3] Dog Breeds – www.akc.org

• [4] U.S. pet ownership statistics – www.avma.org

• [5] The Truth about Cats and Dogs – www.psychologytoday.com

• [6] The 10 Best Dog Breeds for Children