Showing posts with label buying pets online. Show all posts
Showing posts with label buying pets online. Show all posts

Saturday 29 April 2023

Gen Z pet owners (ages 18 to 25) are far more likely than other age groups to have a variety of pets

Forbes Advisor has produced some interesting statistics about pet ownership in the United States of America. Perhaps the leading statistic from this research is in the headline. Generation Z as they are called are far more likely than other generations to have a pet with, for example, 86% having a dog and 81% having a cat. 

It doesn't stop there because 46% have a bird and 30% keep a hamster or guinea pig. By contrast, baby boomers, those born after the Second World War, are the least likely to have a pet; 50% have a dog and 42% have a cat. Only 6% have a hamster or guinea pig by comparison.

Image: MikeB - Gen Z pet owners (ages 18 to 25) are far more likely than other age groups to have a variety of pets.

Big increase in pet owners

So, there's been a massive increase in the number of pet owners in America and the same applies to the UK by the way. And this increase is mainly coming from Generation Z, the country's young people. 


They are turning to pets and I wonder whether Covid-19 had a major role to play in this. You know those two years when people were stuck at home getting bored and feeling isolated? Well, that's certainly brought about a surge in adoptions simply for companionship.

And they felt that because they were at home working, they had the time to give to a newly adopted companion animal. Perhaps, though, the problem was that they weren't fully prepared. Sometimes they adopted in a self-indulgent way.

These thoughts are, I notice, supported by the Forbes survey when they state that "78% of pet owners surveyed by Forbes Advisor acquired pets during the pandemic".


Forbes say that you would find a pet in the USA in 1988 in 56% of homes. In 2023 the percentage has climbed to 66%.

More dogs than cats

I have read many articles in which the general tenor is that there is an equal number of cats and dogs in the US but these statistics undermine that statement. As at 2023, dogs are the most popular pets in the US with 65.1 million US households owning a dog followed by cats at 46.5 million and freshwater fish at 11.1 million. 

That means the number of dog owning households is 1.4 times the number of cat owning households in America. That's a big difference. Although by itself it doesn't say that there are more dogs than cats in the US.

Although, I just noticed that in this case it does mean just that. They estimated that there are 65.1 million dogs in the US as at 2023 in comparison to 46.5 million domestic cats. In comparison, there are 2.2 million horses kept I presume as pets or companion animals in the US as at this date. 

Lower than I am used to seeing

Note: these figures seem lower than what I read in the past. I've seen figures as high as 80 million domestic cats in the US but clearly these were estimates. And also, on a separate topic, there are many estimates about the number of feral cats in the US and the numbers vary wildly indicating that the experts simply don't know.


On the issue of costs, typically dog owners spend $339 on food for their dog and $367 on veterinary care, $79 on toys, $99 on grooming and $28 on "other" making a grand total of $912 per year on a dog in the US.

As for cats, a cat owner spends $310 on food annually, $253 on veterinary care, $50 on toys, $18 on grooming, and $22 on other making a grand total of $653 annually on a cat. Note, I have used the singular "cat" or "dog" in those statements. I have made a presumption because Forbes does not tell me whether those are the costs for cats, plural, or dogs, plural. I will presume it must be for one cat or one dog.

Overall, in 2022, Americans spent $136.8 billion on their pets which is up 10.68% from the previous year.

Adoption - buying

Perhaps rather sadly, 42% of dog owners acquired their pet from a store which is considered not the ideal route to acquire a pet because when you buy one from a store sometimes you don't know how good the dog is in terms of health and their pedigree. The same of course applies to any animal bought at a pet shop. 

In contrast, 43% of cat owners got their pets from a store. 40% of cat owners acquired their cat from a shelter while 30% of dog owners did the same thing.

Home owners

As expected, people who own their homes are more likely to have a companion animal compared to those who rent.

Better off

Also, the better-off households are more likely to own a companion animal. 63% of households with an annual income of a hundred thousand dollars lived with a dog while 40% lived with a cat. You can see the bias towards dogs here and I would suspect that households with higher incomes are more likely to adopt or purchase a dog than a cat. 

My argument is that higher income families are more alpha in their behaviour and more alpha males, for example, are more likely to prefer dogs to cats. That may be a crude argument but I think it is plausible.


7% of cat owners bought their cat from a breeder. In comparison, 23% of dog owners bought their dog from a breeder. This probably reflects the fact that there are far more purebred dogs than purebred cats for the simple reason that domestic dogs have been around far longer than domestic cats. There are more dog breeds than there are cat breeds. Far more in fact as I recall. So, it is far more normal to buy a purebred dog than a purebred cat.

One cat or dog

65% of dog owning households owned just one dog in 2020 compared to 60% in 2016 and 56% of cat owning households owned just one cat in 2020 compared to 53% in 2016.

The best cities for pet owners in the USA

In the following order, the best cities for pet owners in the USA, led by Tucson, Arizona with a score of 100 are: Raleigh, North Carolina; Nashville, Tennessee; Wichita, Kansas; Cincinnati, Ohio; Plano, Texas; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Kansas City, Missouri; Louisville, Kentucky; Glendale, Arizona.

Tucson had a dog vet cost score of 90, a cat vet score of 89.89, a vet access score of 92.67, a pet friendly spaces score at 78.02. Glendale had a dog vet cost score of 72.22, a cat vet cost score of 71.91, a vet access score of 96.00, a pet friendly spaces score of 80.70 and an overall score of 88.99. Glendale was in 10th place but still of course in the top 10 best cities for pet owners in the USA.

Saturday 26 November 2022

This Christmas don't buy a smuggled puppy or a cheap online kitten

Christmas is upon us. Some people will be buying a purebred dog or cat. There are many online adverts for what appear to be charming puppies. The same applies to kittens. Sometimes the prices look good; almost too good to be true.

Puppies at Christmas
Puppies at Christmas. Image: MikeB

These "too good to be true" puppy adverts have probably been placed on social media websites such as Facebook because the overheads of the breeder are particularly low. And the likelihood is that they are low because they been bred in Eastern Europe and smuggled into Britain against the law.

The problem is this: often these puppies are the offspring of abused breeding dogs, living in squalor without proper veterinary care. These are puppy mills and there is no place for them and certainly the purchase of a puppy should not be supporting them unwittingly.

Over the Covid pandemic many thousands of people did indeed unwittingly support puppy mill owners. They were supporting illegal activity and animal abuse.

A problem is that 30% of buyers don't care. They don't even care about the health of the puppy that they are buying. They are fixated on the appearance, and they don't really want to dig into the background of the animal. This is a shame.

Cheap online kittens are another problem. Anybody who knows about purchasing purebred cats strenuously advise that you purchase from a breeder registered with a cat association and that you visit her home. The last bit is a challenge, but it will help to select the right kitten and to ensure that the woman is bona fide.

However, even visiting a breeder's home cannot guarantee that the breeder is treating her cats with care and respect. But it will help. And you can then check that they have a pedigree. All purebred cats should have a pedigree if you are purchasing one. This means a family tree with all the parents and grandparents also purebred and registered with a cat association.

If you buy online without seeing this documentation you are likely to purchase a purebred cat mix which is not the real thing.

Dogs Trust has warned of a growing trend to search online adverts for the perfect pooch, but they say that this trend is a "perfect storm" for puppy smugglers.

Health problems of flat-faced dogs

The surge in demand for fancy but inherently unhealthy, flat-faced, puppies has encouraged the growth of puppy smuggling. Without demand there would be none obviously. It's a supply and demand issue.

Dogs Trust has reported a 60% increase in the number of pregnant dogs and puppies seized at UK borders since 2021 according to a news media report.

The veterinary director at the charity, Paula Boyden, wisely said that it is easy to fall into the trap of making decisions "with your heart" when a more business-like approach is required. It is a very big step to adopt a puppy because it really should be for the life of the companion animal but regrettably when adoption is conducted on impulse the outcome isn't always great.

Boyden said: "Unknowingly buying a smuggled puppy could have very real consequences for the owner too. The puppy might be too young to have been legally imported or have health issues that you don't necessarily notice until too late."

6 tips to find a healthy puppy to adopt

The most smuggled breeds seized in the UK by the border force are English bulldogs, Pomeranians, French bulldogs and Dachshunds. The Dachshunds and French bulldogs are the most popular breeds currently in the UK judging by what I see in the parks. And that I think is a good guide.

They look cute too many people but if you go behind the veneer of what you see and dig around and ask about health issues and socialisation issues you might see a different less pleasant story.

Wednesday 16 December 2020

Coronavirus pandemic has facilitated the sale of kittens online

Because of social distancing and an increased fear of contracting the Covid-19 virus, doors have been opened to unscrupulous kitten and cat sellers who exclusively ply their trade online. It is very dangerous to purchase a kitten online without visiting the breeder at their home and watching the interactions between kitten and mother and asking questions of the breeder. There is no shortcut to this and if you simply select online you really do not know what you are buying for sure.

This is a 5 week old kitten but not Lola mentioned below. Photo: Martin.

As the head of advocacy and government relations at Cats Protection, Jacqui Cuff said, "The Covid-19 pandemic has created the ideal conditions for unscrupulous sellers to thrive, as they appear to have a credible reason for not allowing buyers to view the kitten with their mother first".

It is very difficult for buyers of kittens online to be sure of the kitten's background and health. You simply cannot buy a kitten sight unseen and judging their health and welfare from a photograph online which is often of poor quality. I know people are very keen to adopt pets at the moment for companionship but it is easy to be scammed and the UK is full of scammers believe me. There has been a surge in puppy adoptions for instance and a lot of scammers are in the dog marketplace too.

It can lead to real problems both for the adopter and the kitten or cat. A story highlights this. It concerns a kitten sold online whose name is Lola. She was advertised in October for £200 and it was said that she was 10 weeks of age. She was purchased but the new owner who gave her up to Cats Protection. That early abandonment of itself is instructional. It's points to what I would call impulse buying of a sentient being. This is always very unwise because it's a lifelong commitment. We know that.

It was discovered by Cats Protection staff that Lola was five weeks old when she was sold which is far too young and which may result in behavioural problems due to early weaning. She's been rehomed at nine weeks old but it's just another example of an unscrupulous seller lying.

All the people in the know say that if you want to adopt a cat you must visit the person who is transferring the cat to you either free of charge or for sale. And you have to be sure what you're doing. You have to ask yourself whether you are adopting for the lifetime of the cat and if you can't answer that question in the affirmative then you should stop. Cats are quite expensive to keep. You must have some money in the bank and an income otherwise it is not going to work out very well if at all.

Sunday 11 January 2015

UK - Don't Buy a Pet On Gumtree

The story concerns a dog, Kai, and I am sure that a lot of people have read about this.  The dog was left abandoned on a railway station with all the bits and pieces that a person needs to look after the dog in a suitcase.  It was the classic Paddington Bear scenario.  There was uproar as to how somebody could leave a dog on a railway station, so cruelly abandoned and the abandonment was highlighted by all the accoutrements the person needed to look after the dog being left on the railway station as well.

As it turns out, the story isn't a simple case of the abandonment of a domestic animal.  I believe that we can lay the blame for this act of apparent domestic animal cruelty at the feet of a commercial organisation: Gumtree.  Gumtree is a bit like Craigslist in America.  It is the American version of it.  Anybody can sell anything on Gumtree.

In this instance we discovered that a lady, Fin Rayner, had left the dog at Ayr railway station, Scotland.  What happened was she had responded to an advert for the dog on the Gumtree website; the dog had been advertised for £400.  The dog is a cross breed shar pei.
'I went to buy a dog but the dog was not the same as the picture advertised.'
When she met the seller, a man, she realised that the dog was not the same animal that she had seen advertised on Gumtree and, in addition, she noted there was a problem with the dog's eyes (probably a breeding problem). She became suspicious and, in response, the seller asked for a deposit of £150 if she wanted to take the dog for a walk.  She appears to have done that but she hadn't got far before the man disappeared with her money.

Things got worse because the dog was clearly nervous and unsettled as he was peeing everywhere.  The lady felt she had not bought the dog and having tried to call the seller to return to collect his pet without success she decided to get on the next train to Glasgow and before doing so she told a member of staff at the station that the dog belonged to somebody else. She abandoned the dog.
She said: 'He lied about the dog. I can't believe he did this....I've been shaken for days....I don't think people should sell dogs on Gumtree.'
The moral of the story is that you should not buy a dog on the Gumtree website despite the fact that there are many cats and dogs and other pets on that site.  You simply cannot be sure what you are buying.  There is not only a problem in respect of the buyer but also the animal.  Many buyers will also be unscrupulous leaving the animals exposed to abuse having been sold on perhaps for animal research or perhaps dog fight baiting.

Of course, not all sales of domestic animals on Gumtree go wrong but the whole process is simply unethical and liable to go wrong and I'm thinking of the animals more than the people.  It is disrespectful to advertise them online.

The reason why the seller wanted rid of his dog is because he/she had an eye problem requiring surgery, the price of which was £1,000. He could not afford it. A vet did the surgery for free probably organised by the Scottish SPCA.

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