This is quite a well-known statistic and a rather worrying one, actually. In America cat owners take their cats to the veterinarian much less than dog owners take their dogs to the veterinarian which on a crude interpretation means that dog owners care for their dogs more than cat owners care for their cats!
I don't think it is as simple as that however. It may be about the fact that dogs are more in your face and more needy and possibly more immediately connected to their “masters", while cats are more independent and possibly hide discomfort more than dogs.
As at 2001 more domestic cats were kept as pets than domestic dogs but despite that statistic dog owners made over 117,000,000 visits to the veterinarian, while cat owners made 70,000,000 visits to a veterinarian. Quite a disparity.
However, the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association in 2004 reported that cat owners increased the number of visits to the vet from 1.6 in 2000 to 2.3 visits in 2002. This made them more comparable with dog owners who averaged 2.6 visits in 2000 and 2.7 visits in 2002.
The American Veterinary Medical Association Survey (2002) found that both cats and dogs were most frequently brought in for physical examinations (67% and 69% of visits respectively).
Dog visits were more likely to involve drugs and medications (31% of visits versus 18% for cats). Visits involving vaccinations were slightly more frequent at 71% of cats, against 64% of dogs.
Cat visits were much more likely to involve sterilisation at 14% of visits compared to 6% of dogs. A very low percentage of dogs and cats at 0.6% and 0.3% of visits, respectively, involved micro-chipping identification or tattoo identification.
As for expenditure, in the USA cat owners, in 2001, spent over $6.6 billion while dog owners spend over $11.6 billion on veterinary visits.
Source: Welfare of Cats Published by Springer
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