What is the percentage of U.S. households that have at least one cat? How does this percentage compare with 10, 20 years ago?

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According to the ASPCA, 62 percent of all households in the United States own either a pet. Broken down further, a little more than 20 percent of them own cats. That compares with 1988 when 56 percent of all U.S. households owned a pet.
Pets are big business. According to an October 2012 article in TimeMagazine total pet expenditures in the U.S. came were $51 billion last year—and that number is expected to be broken this year, as opposed to $30 billion spent in 2002.
So what’s the reason for this surge? Part of it, of course, is simply that there are more pets. Look a little deeper, though, and you’ll find some even more interesting statistics, based on the animal-human connection:
• Pets give us much-needed friendship: Americans have about one-third fewer close friends today than they did 20 years ago — averaging two rather than the three they had, on average, in 1985—and pets fill those vacuums.
• Pets give humans emotional connections. In fact, nearly one-third saythey’d rather chat with their cat than anyone else after a long day. Almost 40 percent say their cat is more likely than a romantic partner to pick up on their current mood.
• Pets give us a general feeling of mental and physical well being. Almost 95 percent of pet owners say their pet makes them smile at least once at least once a day. Human health experts often refer to multiple studies showing that pets lower blood pressure, alleviate depression, and boost mental and physical resiliency.
• Increase in human stress:In 1994, roughly 15 percent of Americans reported increased anxiety in their lives. By 2009 that number had risen 49 percent, and it’s predicted to be even higher now.When we cuddle, play with, and even just look at our pets oxytocin, the body’s naturally occurring feel-good, stress-relieving, emotional-bonding hormone, is released.

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