Office of Animal Welfare

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Facts and Figures

  • Approximately 52 million dogs and 57 million cats live in U.S. homes.

  • One unspayed female cat and her unaltered offspring can produce 420,000 cats in seven years.

  • Seven puppies and kittens are born for every one human.

  • More than 12 million dogs and cats are euthanized in pounds and shelters across the country every year. Millions more are abandoned in rural and urban areas. The fact is there are simply not enough homes for them.

  • As many as 25% of dogs entering shelters across the country each year are purebreds.

  • Approximately 61% of dogs entering shelters across the country will be euthanized.

  • About 75% of all cats entering shelters across the country will be euthanized.

  • In recent years, "exotic" pets have become increasingly popular. In addition to the many cats and dogs they receive, shelters and pounds are now acquiring other unwanted pets such as rabbits, lizards, birds, ferrets, rats, mice, hamsters, to name a few. People purchase these animals without knowing how to properly care for them. Often these exotics are allowed to breed freely in the home. When these animals are no longer wanted, they are dropped off at local shelters or abandoned in rural, suburban and urban areas. Unfortunately, many of these pets that are brought to the shelter or pound must be euthanized for lack of homes. Those that never reach the shelter or pound are left to fend for themselves in the outdoors.

  • Nearly two-thirds (62%) of households own a pet compared with 56% in 1988.

  • Almost half, or 47%, of households own more than one type of pet.

  • Cats are more popular than man's best friend, with 73 million felines in the United States compared with 68 million dogs.

  • Annual pet spending is $35.9 billion, up from $34.4 billion in 2004, and more than double from just a decade ago.