Cats – not dogs – are reigning in Connecticut. The state ranks a lowly 49th in dog ownership and 23rd in cat ownership, according to a new survey. The data revealed that 28.3 percent of households in the state own a dog, 31.9 percent own a cat, and 54.4 percent own a pet, slightly below the national average. The state is middle-of-the-pack for overall pet ownership - ranking 34th in the country, as reflected in newly released statistics from The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) in its U.S. Pet Ownership & Demographics Sourcebook. The survey indicated that 379,000 Connecticut households own at least one dog, while 427,000 own at least one cat. The number of cats in Connecticut exceed the number of dogs by 289,000 (796,000 to 507,000).
The survey is conducted by the AVMA every five years and includes a breakdown of pet ownership by state. The most recent survey, conducted in 2012 based on December 31, 2011 numbers, indicates that nationally between 2006 and 2011:
- the percentage of households that made no trips at all to the veterinarian increased by 8 percent for dog owners and a staggering 24 percent for cat owners.
- about 81 percent of dog owning households made at least one visit to the veterinarian in 2011, down 1.7 percent from 2006.
- the decrease for cat owners was, once again, much higher, as only 55.1 percent of cat owners made at least one visit to the veterinarian in 2011, down 13.5 percent from 2006.
Connecticut’s dog ownership levels lagged in the 2006 survey was well, when the state ranked 47th. The only state to rank in the top ten for cats and dogs in the latest survey was West Virginia, which ranked #5 in dogs and #6 in cat ownership. The number one state for pet ownership, Vermont, also led the way in cat ownership. Nearly half the households in the state – 49.5 percent – own a cat, according to the survey. Vermont is the only state to exceed 70 percent in overall pet ownership, with 70.8 percent.
National statistics reflect the affection for, and costs of, having a pet:
- Six out-of-ten pet owners, or 63.2 percent, considered their pets to be family members.
- There are approximately 70 million pet dogs in the U.S. and 74.1 million pet cats.
- The average veterinary expenditure per household for all pets was $375 (for 2011).
When it comes to veterinary visits, cats are feeling the pinch of the nation's economic downturn. Although 75 percent of cat owners believe check-ups are important, the number of households taking their cat to the veterinarian just once a year has dropped 13.5% in the past five years. Of those surveyed, 22 percent said they didn’t take their cat to the vet because they couldn’t afford to do so. Close to 30 percent of dog owners who didn’t take their dog to the vet in 2011 cited the same reason.
For more information about the AVMA or to obtain a copy of the U.S. Pet Ownership and Demographics Sourcebook, visit www.avma.org. To learn more about Dog Owners vs. Cat Owners, check out the infographic at topreveal.com