RMW: the blog

Roslyn's photography, art, cats, exploring, writing, life

Feline Friday – #11 – Pets by the numbers


FrankieI hope to get back to regular blogging very soon but in the meantime I found this information on the Humane Society of the United States website. The figures that stood out for me are that almost as many cats and dogs that are adopted from shelters every year (3 to 4 million) are euthanized in shelters every year (2.7 million) in the US. These figures are from a couple of years ago but I doubt they have changed that much.

Every time I hear about somebody’s dog or cat having a litter of cute babies I shudder. Puppies and kittens are discarded every day in trash cans and dump sites or left to wander the streets fending for themselves. There is nothing cute about that.

The photo above is of my shelter cat Frankie. He was one of the fortunate ones found on the street with a life-threatening disease and looking for food. Fortunately, the West Los Angeles Animal Shelter was able to get him ready for adoption just in time for lucky me to come along!

Pets by the Numbers

Pet ownership survey data and The HSUS’s estimates on pets adopted from or euthanized in U.S. shelters in 2012 and 2013

The number of dogs and cats euthanized every year has gone down, but annually there are about 2.7 million healthy shelter dogs and cats who aren’t adopted.

Pet ownership in the U.S. has more than tripled from the 1970s, when approximately 67 million households had pets, to 2012, when there were 164 million owned pets.

In other words, in 2012, 62 percent of American households included at least one pet.

That same year, according to the American Pet Products Association, Americans spent more than $50 billion on their beloved cats, dogs, and other animal companions.

U.S. pet-ownership estimates from the APPA for 2012


  • 83.3 million—Number of owned dogs
  • 47 percent—Percentage of households that own at least one dog
  • 70 percent—Percentage of owners with one dog
  • 20 percent—Percentage of owners with two dogs
  • 10 percent—Percentage of owners with three or more dogs
  • 1.47—Average number of owned dogs per household
  • 20 percent—Percentage of owned dogs who were adopted from animal shelters
  • $231—Average annual amount spent by dog owners on routine veterinary visits
  • 83 percent—Percentage of owned dogs who are spayed or neutered
  • Even—Proportion of male to female owned dogs


    • 95.6 million—Number of owned cats
    • 46 percent—Percentage of owners with one cat
    • 31 percent—Percentage of owners with two cats
    • 24 percent—Percentage of owners with three or more cats
    • 2.11—Average number of owned cats per household
    • 26 percent—Percentage of owned cats who were adopted from an animal shelter
    • $193—Average annual amount spent by cat owners on routine veterinary visits
    • 91 percent—Percentage of owned cats who are spayed or neutered
    • 73 percent vs. 62 percent—The difference in number of owned female cats and owned male cats, respectively

U.S. shelter and adoption estimates for 2012-13

There is no central data reporting system for U.S. animal shelters and rescues. These estimates are based on information provided by the (former) National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy.

Just as the U.S. has come a long way over the last few decades in terms of increased pet ownership, it’s also progressed in terms of euthanasia. The number of dogs and cats euthanized each year in shelters has decreased, from 12–20 million to an estimated 3–4 million. However, there’s still work to do: An estimated 2.7 million healthy shelter pets are not adopted each year, and only about 30 percent of pets in homes come from shelters or rescues.

  • 3,500—Number of animal shelters
  • 6 to 8 million—Number of cats and dogs entering shelters each year
  • 25 percent—Percentage of purebred dogs in shelters
  • 3 to 4 million—Number cats and dogs adopted from shelters each year
  • 2.7 million—Number of adoptable cats and dogs euthanized in shelters each year
  • 30 percent—Percentage of shelter dogs reclaimed by their owners
  • 2 to 5 percent—Percentage of shelter cats reclaimed by owners

You can help the Humane Society of the United States celebrate 60 years of helping animals by donating here.

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins unless otherwise noted. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life in Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!


Author: RMW

I am an explorer and creative person. I've had many jobs, careers and interests... everything in life and the universe fascinates me. Born in Brighton, England, I've lived my entire adult life in Los Angeles, California. A few years ago I rediscovered photography which is a great excuse to get outside and look. I'm also in the process of re-writing some of my unpublished short stories and possibly a novel. .

9 thoughts on “Feline Friday – #11 – Pets by the numbers

  1. Great post, Roslyn! The stats are eye opening and very sad.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Frankie looks pretty darn comfortable with you, Ros. Thanks for pushing the need for more rescues all around. Hope you feel up to more regular blogging soon, my friend.


  3. A very fortunate cat you have there, when one considers the statistics.
    Unfortunately cats and dogs breed in litters, and owners sometimes fail to appreciate this fact.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh,my sweetheart little kitten,you are so safe in this cozy corner …
    The included statistics and your sad stories broke my heart,Roslyn Dear;impossible to work out in my poor mind,such behaviour to those innocent creatures … Stay well my friend 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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