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Why are dogs and cats the most popular pets?
06-15-2012, 11:25 PM, (This post was last modified: 06-15-2012, 11:28 PM by Ram.)
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Ram Offline
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Question  Why are dogs and cats the most popular pets?
According to pet statistics, In the United States, both dogs and cats have a population of around 80 million, which is over 25% of the human population. Although the total number of pet fish exceed dogs and cats, way more families have dogs and cats. They are the most popular pets.

The question is, why are dogs and cats the most popular?
Talking about the cuteness, rabbits are also cute.
Talking about smart, there is always monkey. Big Grin
Talking about beautiful, there are plenty of other good looking pet species.

What makes them the most popular?
Is it a coincidence that dogs and cats are both carnivore?

My mother used to notice why on Animal Planet they always "cheer" for the predators whenever there is a chase.

Do humans prefer predators over prey because we ourselves are on the top of the food chain?
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06-16-2012, 05:40 AM,
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andrew320 Offline
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RE: Why are dogs and cats the most popular pets?
It's most likely that those two animals are the most in need and of course they've been the world's two pets for generations. I mean, I love monkeys but I don't think I could have a monkey in our city apartment.

I can see your argument with a rabbit, but if you use a monkey as an example then why not a tiger, a leopard, a cheetah, a rhinocerous or a koala bear?

These two animals have the worst luck and should be taken by loving families that have the room to take care of them.
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06-16-2012, 05:44 AM, (This post was last modified: 06-16-2012, 05:46 AM by Ram.)
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RE: Why are dogs and cats the most popular pets?
(06-16-2012, 05:40 AM)andrew320 Wrote: It's most likely that those two animals are the most in need and of course they've been the world's two pets for generations. I mean, I love monkeys but I don't think I could have a monkey in our city apartment.

I can see your argument with a rabbit, but if you use a monkey as an example then why not a tiger, a leopard, a cheetah, a rhinocerous or a koala bear?

These two animals have the worst luck and should be taken by loving families that have the room to take care of them.

There is no comparison with what you said.
Small monkeys are comparable in size with cats, and some dogs. Some of them are also very domesticated and well trained, and they are certainly not dangerous. There is nothing in common with the list of wild dangerous large animals you mentioned.

Dogs and cats have the worst luck? Again, I disagree. They are being pets for many generations. While horses, cattle, chickens, pigs, are being worked as slaves and being butchered. Many other animals were shot on sight and were driven to the edge of extinction.Dogs and cats have the BEST luck if it's my opinion. Smile
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06-16-2012, 10:24 AM, (This post was last modified: 06-16-2012, 10:24 AM by tajnz.)
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RE: Why are dogs and cats the most popular pets?
A lot of people think owning animals like monkeys is cruel and it's illegal to adopt them in many countries. Part of the reason it seems to be frowned upon is that baby monkeys are often taken from their mothers in order to satisfy the demand for pet monkeys. Don't get me wrong who wouldn't want a pet monkey? I'm just not sure it's ethical.

Whereas cats and dogs have been domesticated for thousands of years and have a long history with humans in all parts of the world.
As for smaller animals such as rabbits I think they aren't as popular as they don't spend as much time with their owners as cats or dogs. It's more common for people to walk their dog, hug their cat and sit with them while watching television. Some people have trained their rabbit to sit with them but many rabbits don't like to be held.

Dogs are probably the most popular animal as they will interact with humans to a higher degree than other animals and this is what a lot of people want.
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06-16-2012, 12:30 PM,
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jenb128 Offline
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RE: Why are dogs and cats the most popular pets?
I'm with tajnz. I think it has to do with how long dogs and cats have been with us. People have used dogs for hunting and protection forever, and cats have been helping people control mice. We also can't forget cats and ancient Egypt!

A lot of people don't realize how much other animals can interact and bond with their humans. I often run into people who are shocked that I actually take my bird to the vet. They just don't think of birds as "real pets." :/
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06-16-2012, 12:52 PM,
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TreeClimber Offline
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RE: Why are dogs and cats the most popular pets?
Monkeys can be unpredictable pets. They can be somewhat aggressive as pets. My state bans the ownership of monkeys.

I think dogs and cats are the most popular pets because they are easy to live with, they are adaptable to living in homes with humans, and they are easy to bond with. You get a lot out of your relationship with a dog or cat. We seem to be able to communicate with them without knowing each other's language. They become family members quite quickly. It isn't all that easy to bond with a fish.
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06-16-2012, 05:06 PM,
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Victor Leigh Offline
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RE: Why are dogs and cats the most popular pets?
I think we should consider dogs and cats separately.

Dogs and men have been together for thousands of years. It's a kind of symbiotic co-existence. Dogs help men to hunt and dogs get to eat what the men cannot finish. After living together with men for so long, I wouldn't be surprised if dogs consider men to be just a superior canine breed. Definitely a lot of men consider dogs to be better than human companions.

Why are dogs so popular as pets? I think one of the main reasons is that a dog is very sincere in its love for its owner. It does not cheat and lie to gain the affection of its owner. It accepts its owner as-is where-is, with no pre-conditions. Not many human beings can beat a dog at that.

Cats are quite a different issue. In many situations, cats come and go as they wish. It's not so much a question of people adopting cats as cats adopting people. Many cat lovers would happily admit to being owned by their pets.

As for the other animals, there is one that I am particularly interested in. I do think that monkeys can be domesticated. Where I used to live, monkeys, specifically the Pig-tailed Macaques, are trained to pluck coconuts. However they are all taken from the jungle, as babies, torn from the clasping, dying arms of their mothers who were shot dead to get the babies. It's a very tragic thing.

What I envisage is a monkey-rearing program where monkeys can be bred and domesticated. I believe it would take only three generations of domesticated breeding to get monkeys which are tame enough to train to do work. For starters, just imagine having a trained monkey to pick up things around the house. Imagine a team of these little fellows helping to bring in the harvest:
[Image: SuperStock_4201-75607.jpg]
[Image: monkey3AP061106_468x286.jpg]

I hope I can make this dream come true before my game is over on this planet.Rolleyes
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06-20-2012, 01:30 AM,
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The CatDog Offline
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RE: Why are dogs and cats the most popular pets?
I have to agree with what the majority of posters have said here. Cats and Dogs have been the popular domesticated animals that have been with humans for thousands of years. Dogs have served mostly as hunter and protector for humans while cats have been regarded as house protector from rodents and even as something to revel in ancient Egypt.

A possible reason is because of the cute factor and with the vast number of different breeds for both cats and dogs. We've pretty much designed certain breeds to help out in one thing or another or to have something that comes across as pristine and beautiful over the other breeds.
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06-20-2012, 03:39 PM,
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dziomek Offline
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RE: Why are dogs and cats the most popular pets?
(06-16-2012, 12:30 PM)jenb128 Wrote: I'm with tajnz. I think it has to do with how long dogs and cats have been with us. People have used dogs for hunting and protection forever, and cats have been helping people control mice. We also can't forget cats and ancient Egypt!

A lot of people don't realize how much other animals can interact and bond with their humans. I often run into people who are shocked that I actually take my bird to the vet. They just don't think of birds as "real pets." :/

Cats and dogs seem to bond with people a lot more than many other animals. Plus, they are a convenient size and can be kept indoors. Cats may be left alone for a day or two as long as they have a litter box and plenty of food and water. It is also nice for some people who live alone to have a pet, as they have someone to come home to. (This is not the case for all single people, however.)
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06-20-2012, 05:20 PM,
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RE: Why are dogs and cats the most popular pets?
(06-16-2012, 12:30 PM)jenb128 Wrote: I'm with tajnz. I think it has to do with how long dogs and cats have been with us. People have used dogs for hunting and protection forever, and cats have been helping people control mice. We also can't forget cats and ancient Egypt!

A lot of people don't realize how much other animals can interact and bond with their humans. I often run into people who are shocked that I actually take my bird to the vet. They just don't think of birds as "real pets." :/

Yes, I'm amazed at stories of other animals bonding with their owners. Some of my friends growing up owned rats who would sit on their shoulders while they read a book or watched television. Others had rabbits that wanted to be pet and cuddled. Birds are amazing animals too. A family member had two pet birds that would sing when their owner was nearby. Smile
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09-22-2012, 03:13 PM,
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JustJenne Offline
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RE: Why are dogs and cats the most popular pets?
I would think because they are cuddly, trainable/manageable, and not too expensive. You can't hug a fish. Many cute animal species are wild, illegal to own, or might rip your face off. I think many animals aren't popular because of the space they take up/need, a special food diet that could be expensive, or people do not have enough time to devote to them. Many other animals have special needs that the average American can not meet. Having a cat that uses a litter box, gives itself a bath, is independent, and eats food that can be bought at the grocery store makes them very desirable.
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09-24-2012, 06:52 PM,
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RE: Why are dogs and cats the most popular pets?
I think there are several factors here, apart from long established custom. Dogs in particular are very intelligent and sociable, and they make for a rewarding companion. Also, they are easy to feed and look after, and seem to adapt well to family life. Other pets, such as fish, hamsters and rabbits are more to be looked at than really to really interact with.

I think one of the most important points is life span. A well cared for dog or cat can live to a ripe old age, barring accidents, so you have a long time together to build up memories and get to know each other.
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10-03-2012, 02:32 AM,
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RE: Why are dogs and cats the most popular pets?
I think it comes down to what some have already said here, Dog and Cats can be the most domesticated animals. They can be trained to adapt to living in a home among people. They can even become parts of the family. Yes, these can also be said of birds and fish, which are also well known pets in homes. But these don't give the affection to people that dogs and cats do. If your alone and feeling like you have no one to turn to a pet such as a dog or cat will help fill that void in your life.

Also, the life span of the two is good as oppose to some other types of pet. At one time in my home we had hamsters, these are sweet adorable animals, but the problem is they don't have long life span. The average hamster will live only a few years, so we got to the point where we just decided that having such a pet wasn't a good idea.
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10-03-2012, 07:06 AM,
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RE: Why are dogs and cats the most popular pets?
I agree about the companionship and the life span. I have had many animals over my life. You can't really hug a fish and it's kind of boring watching them swim back and forth (at least to me). Hamsters are adorable, but they have such a short life span.

You can bond with a dog or cat in a way that you can't with other animals. You can still love the other animals as much. It's just that the reciprocity isn't quite there. You get a lot back from a dog or cat.

Of course, we know that many people have bonded with different kinds of animals. So, there may be other factors. With dogs, it could be that we take them everywhere we go. We take them for walks, we like to bring them to family get togethers, and so forth. They become another family member. Cats aren't with us quite as much, but they do have free reign of the house. They are following us around while we go about our routine or sitting with us when we watch TV. Maybe that is part of it. Dogs and cats are not caged pets, so they are with us far more than the other pets that we may have. Their involvement in our daily lives is at a different level.
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10-10-2012, 01:23 PM,
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RE: Why are dogs and cats the most popular pets?
I think it begins with the fact that dogs were solely domesticated by humans which is the reason why people tend to own one rather than rabbits and monkeys.

Rabbits aren't keen on interacting with humans. Cats are loving but full of personalities. Monkeys are rather independent that sometimes humans don't entirely understand where they are coming from with their energy. A goldfish would be nice but you can't pet him and it's a lot more difficult to train them (but this is possible).
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11-09-2012, 12:44 AM,
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megsy23 Offline
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RE: Why are dogs and cats the most popular pets?
I think they are generally easier to take care of. They definitely are very humanistic as well. You feel like they understand you (which I'm sure some do). Life span is definitely a factor. Our dog is 16 years old! It would be very depressing getting a pet to only have it die after a year or two. Some pets are not easy to interact with. Such as fish! I agree that you can easily bond with a cat or dog.
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11-09-2012, 01:30 AM,
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Victor Leigh Offline
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RE: Why are dogs and cats the most popular pets?
I think our domestication of cats and dogs have gone to some extremes. Just look at some of the breeds which are bred purely for fashionable trends. Personally I consider this to be a kind of animal abuse. Cats and dogs make wonderful pets and companions. We should not be distorting their natural shapes and sizes just to satisfy a fashionable trend.
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11-09-2012, 01:56 AM,
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RE: Why are dogs and cats the most popular pets?
I'm not into this sort of fashionable breeding thing either. For me that is missing the purpose of having a dog or a cat for that matter, which is love and companionship. Give me a dog from a shelter or from a litter of puppies that a friend has any day over this sort of thing.
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11-09-2012, 10:29 AM,
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Victor Leigh Offline
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RE: Why are dogs and cats the most popular pets?
There is also another aspect to this fashionable breeding thing. Cats and dogs are real living animals. However, the trend of breeding them according to the latest fashion is turning them into toys.

Cats and dogs are being treated like disposable things. They are bought when someone fancies them. Then they are thrown away when the fancy passes. I think all true cat and dog lovers must unite to create a campaign to educate the general public about cats and dogs, to stress the fact that cats and dogs are real living animals, to point out in no uncertain terms that cats and dogs are not stuffed toys.
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12-07-2012, 01:24 AM,
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Molly Offline
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RE: Why are dogs and cats the most popular pets?
Dogs and cats are the most tame and domesticated animals. Also, most people grew up with both or either dogs or cats. They are the most familiar to people. Dogs and cats are easy to take care of. And people enjoy their dogs and cats.
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12-07-2012, 01:29 AM,
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RE: Why are dogs and cats the most popular pets?
I personally think that dogs and cats have more personality than other domesticated animals. They seem to have the ability to understand if we are sick or hurting. Especially dogs. They get excited when we are gone and come home. They are cuddly. Some dogs make wonderful exercise partners. I know I would never leave the house for a walk in the WI winters if I didn't have my dog begging me to take him. There's nothing like a warm dog or cat curled up on my lap in the winter when I'm cold.
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12-29-2012, 07:57 PM, (This post was last modified: 12-29-2012, 08:02 PM by jenb128.)
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RE: Why are dogs and cats the most popular pets?
Parrots (including small ones likes budgies and cockatiels) are often more intelligent than cats and dogs, and many species live much, much longer. Macaws, for example, can live into their 80s (but 50 seems to be about the average). Parrots also form strong bonds with their humans and have plenty of personality. They are animals that NEED interaction, love, and attention. In fact, my cockatiel wants more cuddle time from me than my cat does. He likes to sit on my shoulder or snuggle under my chin for a few hours every evening while I watch TV or goof off on the computer, and he demands that I hang out in his room with him for much of the day if I'm home.

That being said, I think birds aren't as popular as dogs and cats because they have a reputation for being noisy, and quite a few people who like birds don't like the idea of keeping one in a cage (though people who properly care for their parrots give them lots of time out of the cage). They can also make a mess, but after working with dogs at an animal shelter over the summer, I have to say that birds aren't nearly as messy as many dogs.
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12-30-2012, 02:34 AM,
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RE: Why are dogs and cats the most popular pets?
In my mind cats and dogs form the best bonds with humans. I would agree that parrots also have a strong bond as Jen pointed out, but I can not pet or hug a parrot, and it simply doesn't feel the same.

Rabbits, fish, whichever animal you can think of, while cute or great to look at offers nowhere near the emotional satisfaction as a cat or dog can.

Having said that, there was a pig I loved when I was a young boy. My grandfather owned it, but he was "mine". I remember he loved me too, as I was afraid of most other pigs, but not this specific one. I could climb on his back, pet him, etc. Things that I didn't dare do with other pigs, as they always seemed to be close to hurting me.
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12-30-2012, 04:32 AM,
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RE: Why are dogs and cats the most popular pets?
Perhaps it depends on the personalities of the specific animal and specific person, but my bond with my cockatiel is the strongest human-animal bond I've ever experienced, and I've lived with plenty of furry friends throughout my life. While I do often find myself wishing he was bigger so I could hug him, I pet him all the time. He loves it when I scratch his head. He may not run up to the door when I come from a long day like a cat or dog might, but he does start singing and chattering, which I find much more pleasant. Wink

If you'd asked me before I adopted my cockatiel which animals bonded best with humans, I'd have agreed that the answer was cats and dogs, without a doubt. However, living with this little guy the past couple of years has taught me that parrots also belong on that list.
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12-30-2012, 07:54 AM,
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RE: Why are dogs and cats the most popular pets?
I don't know if someone already said this, but I would have to say dogs and cats may be the most popular pets because they are the most cuddly and you can interact with them more then other animals.. other small furry creatures are in cages the majority of the time and don't really jump on your lap or sleep with you at night.. dogs and cats greet you at the door when you get home and always seem happy to see you.
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