A ‘Tail’ of Cats and Dogs

Top Cat… The Indisputable leader of the gang… he’s the boss… he’s a pip… he’s the championship… he’s the most tip top… Top Cat!

So rocking a tune from the 70’s hit cartoon TV series, when every kid including me wanted to know why we couldn’t sleep in garbage cans, sneak food from the convenient stores, be the coolest cat in town, and more importantly, OWN A CAT!

For many of us, our first introduction to animals came through TV shows like Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, or for me, a classic Disney movie, 101 Dalmatians, a made for movie re-creation of Dodie Smith’s novel by the same name.

Like most kids I wanted a Dalmatian, because every kid on the block did.  Heck, I can take care of a dog at the tender age of 6 years old, right?  Wrong!  Thankfully my parents had the foresight to realize just how irresponsible I was at 6 years old, and a Dalmatian was not in the cards for the Abbate family. However, there was a cute little Dachshund in the movie which was more my mother’s size for household management, and so began the 15-year stretch of dogs coming and going through the Abbate household.

In a recent survey by Ipsos Public Affairs, Americans Have a Serious Case of “Puppy Love”, we investigate pet ownership and human behavior towards their canine and feline friends (we do the same for our friends in Canada here – Pet Ownership is the “Cat’s Meow” in Canada).

So, who is “King of the Household?”  While nearly 1/3rd of U.S. homes contain a cat (34%), our self-reported results show almost half (48%) of U.S. households can be called a “dog house” (though the AVMA tracks a more conservative figure of 37%), while an additional 12% of households contain some other type of pet. North of the border, felines (35%) ever so slightly edge out dog (32%) in the never ending battle of cats versus dogs in Canadian homes, while an additional 10% of households contain some other type of pet.

Obviously there is quite a bit of good karma received from pets in the house as three-quarters of those surveyed believe the benefits of owning a pet far outweigh the work and cost involved – and that’s true on both sides of the border!

Thankfully we did not ask the most important question of all to surveyed parents, “On average, how much time per week do you EXPECT your children to spend caring for your pet?”

So, since only one-third of Americans live without a pet, it begs the question… “Do we treat our pets as we would treat ourselves?”   Well here in the United States… “National Pet Day”  is April 11th and “Take Your Dog to Work Day“ is coming up on June 21st, offering all of us several opportunities to shower our loved ones with bones, biscuits, boudoir, and beauty!  Two-thirds (66%) of pet owners have purchased a gift for their pets on a holiday or birthday, with an overwhelming (73%) of females adopting this practice. In case you were wondering, Canadians are almost as gift-crazy with their pets as Americans: 64% of Canadian pet owners have purchased a gift for their pets on a holiday or birthday, and again overwhelming number of Canadian women (72%) have adopted this practice.

No one has said, “I can’t live without you” more than Jennifer Aniston in recent times, which may explain her love of pets.  However, only a minority (29%) of Americans feel a need to take their pets with them when they vacation.  But… for those Americans taking Felix & Spike on the road for the holidays, (54%), or more than half, agree it’s very important to stay at a “pet-friendly” hotel.   Almost half (45%) of Canadians taking the pets along for the journey would agree.