Igor Purlantov says that the number of households that have pets is shrinking. At the end of 2013, American households had 7.6 million fewer cats and 2 million fewer dogs than in 2006 according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.
This decline stems from the economic downturn along with a shift in demographics as fewer Americans live in family households. Animal rights advocate Igor Purlantov says that studies have consistently shown that household pets tend to be more prevalent in families with two parents and children while singletons, couples without children and the elderly tend to be less likely to have pets at home.
Igor Purlantov notes that this is the first such decline in cat or dog households since 1991 when there were 57 million cats and 52.5 million dogs in U.S. households. Although current estimates are that there are 74.1 million cats in 30.4% of U.S. homes and 69.9 million dogs in 36.5% of U.S. homes, the numbers are down from 80.7 million cats and 79.9 million dogs in 2006.
This current decline in household pets is of great concern especially since the percentage of households with a pet is now down 2.4%, translating to more than 2.8 million households. This recent decline from 2006-2011 also worryingly bucks the trend of the increase of household pets of various types that has been happening since 1986 says Igor Purlantov.
This unprecedented decline in household pets comes with a convergence of a stagnant economy and changing demographics that has led to fewer pets being adopted by first time pet guardians as well as fewer adoptions by people that have lost a pet. Despite this decline in household pets, there are fortunately more animal rescue groups and shelters across the U.S. that embrace a no-kill policy says Igor Purlantov.
This increase in no-kill shelters also comes at a time when more people are becoming informed and educated about the benefits of spaying and neutering their pets to help control the population. Ultimately there is hope that this current decline in household pets is only temporarily and will soon reverse so that more animals can find a loving home says Igor Purlantov.