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By Renee Cook

The Cat Is out of the Bag

Though 2/3 of North Americans may tell you they like dogs better than cats you will be surprised to know that cats take are in the lead as the most popular household pet. There are around 500 million domestic cats in the world, with approximately 40 recognized breeds. In North America, there are some 70+ million cats, compared to 60+ million dogs in pet-lover homes. Over 30 percent of households in the United States own a cat. Though research has shown that there are more homes that have at least one dog, cats do not require the attention or take up the same space that a dog may, which makes it easier to have more than one cat in a home.

What makes a cat easier to maintain than a dog? Cats need no house training. Normally, if getting a kitten, you only need to show it the litter box a couple of times then not have to worry about it anymore (except when it is time to clean out the litter box). Cats groom themselves, which means no messy baths or spending money on shampoos and conditioners. You may have the occasional hair ball to clean up, but that usually takes a while to build up in our furry felines stomach. They are very low maintenance and only require feeding. They can be affectionate – mainly when they choose to be – but are very self-reliant.

The first cats were introduced into the United States/North Americas by Spanish settlers of Hispaniola around 1498. Cats were the answer to rodent control on the boats and in settlements. Wildcats from Africa were being domesticated by the Egyptians as early as 3500 B.C. Cats have been domesticated continually since then, and it is easy now to find a domesticated cat. Since cats multiply so quickly – birthing a litter of between one and nine kittens at a time – the feline population has gotten out of hand; in some towns and cities, kill shelters have been put up. In a lot of areas, if you take your cat or a stray to a shelter and they have not been neutered or spayed, they are put to sleep.

Most outside cats who go to the vet to get neutered or spayed end up leaving with one of their ears clipped, which lets people know they have been fixed and are quite possibly someone's furry bundle of joy. The most popular pedigreed cat of the feline pet family is the Persian cat, also known as the Grumpy cat. The number two spot is occupied by the Maine Coon cat, which is also the largest and can weigh up to 25 lbs. If you want a pet that is low maintenance and a companion yet does its own thing and doesn't require a whole lot of attention, a cat is the way to go.

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