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USA Today reports on a new study done by the American Veterinary Medical Association saying that “the number of U.S. households with pets climbed 7.6 million, to 59.5% of all homes, up from 58.3% in 2001. By comparison, about 35% of U.S. households have children, the Census Bureau says.”

At the same time, “Pet owners are spending more on medical care. Veterinary expenditures for all pets were estimated at $24.5 billion in 2006. In inflation-adjusted dollars, Americans spent $22.4 billion in 2001 … All that care means pets are living longer. Today, 44% of dogs are older than 6, while in 1987 it was 32%. For cats, it's 44% over 6 vs. 28% in 1987.

“Although there more pet cats than dogs, more families actually have dogs. Counting by household, 37.2% are dog owners, compared with 32.4% with cats. But cat owners have more of them: 2.2 per house compared with 1.7 for dogs.”

KC's View:
Which is why pet food and supplies are big business.

It isn’t just furry animals, by the way. The study also says that turtle ownership jumped 86% from 2001, to a pet population of 2 million.

We have some experience with this in the Content household. We currently have a dog, named Buffett (of course!) and a cockatiel named Buddy (named by my 13-year-old daughter, believe it or not, after the Morey Amsterdam character on the old “Dick Van Dyke Show”). I didn’t want either of these animals, but for some reason they have both fixated on me…the bird likes to sit on my chest and rub its head against my beard.

Go figure.