By Phil Snyder, Executive Director of Suncoast Humane Society
Published in the Englewood Sun on September 27, 2015
According to the Humane Society of the United States, pet ownership has more than tripled since the 1970s, when approximately 67 million households had pets. Today approximately 165 million homes have at least one pet.
Of these numbers, 95.6 million are cats, and 83.3 million are dogs. Yes, according to these statistics, there are currently more cats in our homes than dogs. Our feline friends have been edging up in popularity over the last several years. Why is that?
Well, if you talk with certain cat fanciers, they think it is a no-brainer. They point out that cats don't need to be walked. They claim they do very well when left alone at home for a much longer period than a dog.
Also, you don't have to clean up your yard if you have an inside cat. They are a lot quieter than dogs. Multiple cats can fit in your bed and still offer you plenty of room, while trying to squeeze into a bed being occupied spread-eagle by a 100-pound dog may find you sleeping on the couch.
And with a smile, cat fanciers add that cats don't roll in disgusting things and then rub against you. They don't maul your company or lick them half to death. That is a good thing because being licked repeatedly by a cat's tongue could result in loss of a layer or two of skin.
One claim that you may not be aware of is the fact that even though dogs may be a man's best friend, cats were once worshiped as gods. I think this was in Egypt. Some say most cats have never forgotten it.
Of course dog fanciers bark back with their own list of beliefs. They say walking your dog keeps you healthy and fit. Dogs are smarter and, if well-trained, can adjust to anything. They protect you and wake you up in case of danger, instead of booking it out an open door or window.
They know when you are sad and can cheer you up with a sloppy lick on the face. Cats lie there grooming themselves while you pine away. Dogs are chick magnets and can help you make friends. Most dogs don't bring you gifts like lizards from the lanai and drop them on your bed.
I really feel that some of the logical reasoning is that many people are now living in condos, apartments and homes with small yards. This has to add to the popularity of cats and small dogs. It is a busier world today and, although arguments continue back and forth, I think it is safe to assume that whatever pet fits into your lifestyle is the one for you.
Cat, small dog, large dog, rabbit, gerbil, hamster, guinea pig or ferret: They are always waiting for a loving home at the Suncoast Humane Society or other animal shelters in your community.