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Traditional channels of pet acquisition have nothing on cats – which in a shockingly high number of cases pick their owners rather than being picked out by them. According to a 2022 survey by Statista Consumer Insights, 25 percent of American cat owners said that their feline had wondered in off the street or was taken in as a stray animal that showed up in the neighborhood or even on their new owner’s doorstep. The share of stray intake was much lower for dogs at just 5 percent of owners giving this answer to the question of where their newest pet had come from. Among other animals, the share of owners having taken in a stray or street animal was almost as low at 7 percent.
In the case of dogs, getting one from a friend or acquaintance or getting one from a breeder were the most common ways of acquisition. For other animals, including fish, rabbits, birds and reptiles, the pet shop was still where almost half of owners had turned to. While shelter or stray adoption was in the single digits for other pets, another quarter of cat owners and 19 percent of dog owners said they had gone through a shelter to acquire their pet – a higher share than had been to the pet shop. Only 4 percent of cat owners said they had bought their cat from a breeder.
This instance finally speaks to the different cost of animals in the United States. 35 percent of U.S. dog owners said that they had paid more than $250 for their animal, while that number was in the single digits for cats. In fact, 61 percent of cats in the U.S. had been free, according to their owners, as opposed to 33 percent of dogs.
Also according to the survey, half of U.S. pets receive birthday gifts and a quarter of owners are contemplating of giving them a proper animal funeral once the time comes.
This chart shows channels of pet acquisition in 2022 according to U.S. pet owners (in percent).
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