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Cats or dogs? For Butler County, it’s complicated

Veterinarian Jennifer Kennedy checks on Cinders at Butler Veterinary Associates in Butler on June 4. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle

Pets come in all shapes and sizes. For most Americans, however, the choice comes down to two: canine or feline.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association’s 2022 Pet Ownership and Demographic Sourcebook, dogs or cats are the overwhelming choice of companion animal for most pet-owning Americans with 44.6% of households who responded to the association’s survey reporting they owned a dog and 26% reporting they owned a cat. No other type of pet gained a share higher than 2.7%.

Furthermore, according to the American Pet Products Association’s 2023-24 National Pet Owners Survey, there are approximately 65.1 million dog owners in the United States and 46.5 million cat owners. The only other type of pet with more than 10 million owners was freshwater fish, with 11.1 million.

When it comes down to the age-old debate of cats vs. dogs, the dogs seem to have the upper hand in terms of sheer numbers. While numbers for Butler County are not immediately available, the same seems to hold true to some extent, interviews with area experts indicated.

Betty Paugh, manager of the pet supply section at Oesterling’s Lawn & Garden, said she generally sells more dog supplies than cat supplies, even though the amount stocked for each is “pretty much even.”

“We have people come in, and some of them buy both dog and cat stuff. Some of them just buy dog stuff,” Paugh said.

Cydnee Traversari, manager of the Healthy Pet Products store in Cranberry Township, reports similar results.

“It's pretty split 50/50, but dogs do come out on top,” Traversari said. “Healthy Pet Products does stock more for dogs, and as a result, sells more.”

Cari Ciancio, executive director at the Butler County Humane Society, said that they’ve historically seen their dogs adopted from the shelter at a faster rate than their cats, based on ownership records.

“We always have far more cats than we do dogs,” Ciancio said. “We can house more cats in a smaller area than dogs. Dogs require a lot more space.”

However, Ciancio said that she’s seen a shift in attitudes in recent times.

“Lately, I would say that there's been a change,” Ciancio said. “We've been seeing cats get adopted a lot more frequently than before. “Statistically, that's what everybody seems to be seeing nationwide, actually.”

Likewise, Katherine Taggart of Butler Veterinary Associates reports that her clinic sees more dogs every year than cats, by a ratio of roughly two-to-one. She added that this could be down to dogs being brought to the veterinarian more often, rather than there being more dog owners in the Butler area.

“A lot of people don’t seem to bring cats to the vet as much,” Taggart said.

Veterinarian Jennifer Kennedy checks on Flash at Butler Veterinary Associates in Butler on June 4. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle
Veterinarian Jennifer Kennedy checks on Flash at Butler Veterinary Associates in Butler on June 4. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle
Veterinarian Jennifer Kennedy checks on Flash at Butler Veterinary Associates in Butler on June 4. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle
Veterinarian Jennifer Kennedy checks on Flash at Butler Veterinary Associates in Butler on June 4. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle
Veterinarian Jennifer Kennedy checks on Cinders at Butler Veterinary Associates in Butler on June 4. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle
Veterinarian Jennifer Kennedy checks on Flash at Butler Veterinary Associates in Butler on June 4. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle
Veterinarian Jennifer Kennedy checks on Cinders at Butler Veterinary Associates in Butler on June 4. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle
Veterinarian Jennifer Kennedy checks on Flash at Butler Veterinary Associates in Butler on June 4. Morgan Phillips/Butler Eagle

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