The CATalyst Council, a coalition of the veterinary community, academia, nonprofits, and animal welfare organizations, formally announced today something that cats have always known: cats are America’s number one companion animal. Cats outnumber dogs in the US by nearly 10 million — 81.7 million cats to 72 million dogs — so even though dogs are called man’s best friend, cats are the most frequent human companions.
That’s the good news (for cats, not so much for dogs.) But the downside is that cats are more often neglected and less likely to be seen by veterinarians. More cats end up in animal shelters than dogs, too. So while more cats are taken into homes, they are less likely to be given the care and loyalty that dogs get. Most likely, that comes from the fact that cats are more self-reliant than dogs, so people feel they can abandon them with less guilt than they feel if they throw out a dog.
A few cities have taken steps to try to protect cats. The CATalyst Council named America’s top ten Cat-Friendly Cities as Tampa, Phoenix, San Francisco, Portland Ore, Denver, Boston, Seattle, San Diego, Atlanta, and Minneapolis. Those cities got top marks for level of veterinary care, microchipping, and cat-friendly local ordinances. If you live in one of those cities, thank you! If you live in a city not so kind to cats, maybe you could organize a drive to improve the lives of abandoned or rejected cats.
Today especially, when so many people are losing their homes and being uprooted all over the country, cats are especially vulnerable to abandonment. If you don’t have a cat of your own, this would be a good time to adopt a new family member who will always love you and give you lots of purring affection.