Dogster is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Are Cats or Dogs More Popular in the U.S.? What Statistics Say

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on April 16, 2024 by Dogster Team

gray cat beside a black and white dog on a grass

Are Cats or Dogs More Popular in the U.S.? What Statistics Say

Are you a cat person or a dog person? It’s an age-old question that’s divided people across the country. What do the numbers actually say about pet ownership in the United States? According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, 38.4% of households in the United States own a dog, while only 25.4% of households own a cat. So, according to numbers, dogs are the winners over the US!1

This guide will walk you through everything that you need to know about this burning question.


Are Cats or Dogs More Popular in the U.S.?

While we all have our own strong feelings about which of our furry friends we love the most, when you take a hard look at the numbers, it’s clear that in the United States, dogs have the edge.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, 38.4% of households in the United States own a dog, while only 25.4% of households own a cat.2

With numbers like that, it’s hard to declare that cats are the more popular pet species in the United States.

Tabby cat and Dalmatian
Image Credit: Katho Menden, Shutterstock

Dog Ownership vs. Cat Ownership Statistics

While more homes in the United States have a dog than a cat, that doesn’t tell you everything that you need to know about dog and cat ownership.

Cat owners tend to own more cats per household than dog owners, though it’s not a large enough jump to make up for the total number of dogs in the United States.

Dog owners average 1.6 dogs per household, while cat owners average 1.8 cats per home. However, that doesn’t make up for the 13-point differential in ownership. That’s why there are just under 77 million dogs in the United States and just over 58 million cats.

If you’re looking at how much people are willing to spend on their pets, dogs take the edge there too.

Dog owners spend more on their pets each year than cat owners, and it’s not even close. The average dog owner spends $1,201 a year on their pet, while cat owners average $687 each year.

A large portion of that increased cost comes down to necessary expenses, as dogs are simply more expensive when it comes to food and healthcare. But you look at gifts and splurge items, the average dog owner spends $63 a year on these types of items, while the average cat owner only spends $24 a year.

In the United States, there are simply more dog owners and more people spending extra money on their dogs than their cats.

Where Are Cats More Popular Than Dogs?

Just because dogs are more popular than cats in the United States, that doesn’t mean it’s the case everywhere.

In this super unofficial hashtag Twitter study, cats seem to take the global advantage. They’re more popular in Germany, Italy, Russia, Canada, and China.

In fact, this poll has cats as the more popular option in 91 countries, while dogs only claim 76. However, it is worth noting that even in this informal hashtag poll, dogs still win out in the United States.

Akita Inu dog and Maine Coon cat
Image Credit: Olezzo, Shutterstock

Where Are Dogs More Popular Than Cats?

The United States is far from the only country with a preference for dogs compared to cats.

Dogs win out in England, Ireland, France, Australia, Mexico, Japan, and Brazil! So, while the world might prefer cats, the United States is in good company when it comes to preferring dogs.


Keeping Your Dogs and Cats Safe

Something that both cat and dog lovers can agree on is the need to keep their pets safe. Too many pets end up lost or hurt. Fortunately, there are a few things that you can do to keep your pet safe.

Get Tags

One of the simplest and most effective things that you can do to help ensure that your pet gets back to you if they get lost is to keep up-to-date tags on them. This is a simple way for whoever finds your pet to know where to take them.

You should also microchip your pet, so even if the tag falls off, you can still be contacted if your pet is taken to a vet or shelter.

vet microchipping a beagle dog
Image Credit: LightField Studios, Shutterstock

Keep Their Vaccinations Up to Date

While we like to think that we can keep our pets safe from everything out in the world, we’re powerless over infections and disease. The good news is that all you need to do to keep your pet safe from the most common illnesses is keep their vaccines up to date.

It’s a safe, easy, and effective way to protect your pet from just about everything that they can’t fight off on their own.

Use a GPS Tracker

If your pet tends to get outside and roam, a GPS tracker might be just what you need to help you track them down when they’re out. It’s not the lowest-cost option out there, but it’s one of the most effective.


Final Thoughts

If you love cats more than dogs, don’t worry, you’re still in good company. More than a quarter of all homes in the United States have at least one cat, and that equates to millions of Americans.

There’s no wrong answer here when it comes to dogs vs. cats — in fact, we recommend spreading the love out and getting both if you can!

Featured Image Credit: Andrew S, Unsplash

Get Dogster in your inbox!

Stay informed! Get tips and exclusive deals.
Dogster Editors Choice Badge
Shopping Cart


© Pangolia Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved.