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CAT Stanley Takes a Look Back at 2012


So much has happened this year I hardly know where to start. This blog is one of the new things for the year and it has allowed me to communicate with so many of you CATalysta. Hearing from you and your feline friends is something I truly enjoy.

In other news, the American Pet Products Association (APPA) tells us that 72.9 million households in the US own pets. Of those, 38.9 million own cats. The total number of cats kept as pets in the US, according to APPA, is 86.4 million. That means there are more of us kept as pets than dogs. The total number of dogs kept as pets equals only 78.2 million. These statistics are courtesy of APPA’s 2011-2012 National Pet Owners Survey.

Similarly, the American Veterinary Medical Association released their own Pet Ownership and Demographics Sourcebook. Here are some of their findings released in a sneak peak of the publication:

“Results of the survey indicate a slight decline in household pet ownership over the past five years, down 2.4 percent from 2006 to 2011. This trend includes household ownership of dogs and cats, which were down 1.9 percent and 6.2 percent, respectively.

The 2012 sourcebook will also show that dogs are still the most popular pet in America, as 36.5 percent of all households in the United States own a dog, compared to 30.4 percent owning cats. But cats are still the most common pet, with the total U.S. population hovering right around 74.1 million, compared to 70 million dogs. Cat owners are more likely to own multiple cats – 2.1 per household – compared to dog owners, who average 1.6 dogs per household.

The study also revealed trends in veterinary spending. Of the two most popular pets in America, dog owners were revealed to be more dedicated to providing their beloved pets with appropriate veterinary care. In fact, total veterinary visits for dogs in 2011 increased to 130.4 million, a 9.2 percent increase from 2006. Veterinary visits for cats were down 4.4 percent from 2006 to 2011, when there were 60.5 million visits.

The amount of money dog owners spent on veterinary care for their pets increased to $19.1 billion in 2011, up 18.6 percent from 2006. Veterinary expenditures for cats remained comparatively flat, rising only 4.2 percent from 2006 to 2011 to $7.4 billion.”

Though the numbers differ a little bit between the two reports, it’s still clear that we cats are popular pets. It’s disturbing though that many of us don’t receive the same quality of veterinary care as dogs.

In their own State of Pet Health 2012 report, Banfield Pet Hospital notes that Domestic Shorthair, Domestic Medium Hair and Domestic Longhair make up more 85% of cats seen by veterinarians but exotic breeds are increasing in popularity. Specifically mentioned were the Siamese, Bengal, Manx, Himalayan, Persian, Russian Blue, Maine Coon and Ragdoll breeds.

Chronic diseases were spotlighted in the Banfield report, including heart disease, thyroid disease, kidney disease, arthritis and obesity. All of these conditions can affect cats and veterinarians are seeing these diseases more frequently than previously.

Disturbingly, this report finds that:

  • “At least 3 in 4 cat owners are not aware that vomiting, dental disease or weight loss can be associated with heart disease; over half (54%) of cat owners are not aware that aging can also be associated with heart disease.”
  • “More than 2 in 3 cat owners are not aware that weight gain or obesity are associated with arthritis; 38% are not aware that aging is also associated with arthritis.”
  • “At least 3 in 5 cat owners are not aware that diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy or weight loss can be associated with kidney disease.”
  • “4 in 5 cat owners are not aware that changes in a cat’s coat or unusual urination habits are highly visible signs associated with hyperthyroidism. Less than half of cat owners (45%) realize that changes in appetite can also be a sign of this condition.”

Cats, please tell your people about these issues. Let your two-legged friends know that the best way to keep you healthy, happy and comfortable is to get you to the veterinarian to be checked out regularly.

Another thing that I’m finding particularly alarming is the increase in girth many of us cats are experiencing. The Banfield report talks about this also. Many of you will remember my friend Meow who passed away earlier this year, essentially killed by too much kindness in the form of far too many cat treats! When your people do take you to the veterinarian, make sure the veterinarian evaluates your weight.

That brings me to my New Year’s resolutions for this year. I address the weight issue and much more in them so take a look. I think you’ll find them entertaining and informative.

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