Labor Day: Cats don’t work, but they contribute billions to America’s social and economic well-being

LaborDayDo cats contribute to the American social and economic achievements, or to any country’s prosperity for that matter?

Paws ponders this whimsical question as we approach Labor Day, celebrated the first Monday of September.

The holiday celebrates the end of summer, something the cats aren’t too fond of. It marks the return to school, and the abandonment of the care free lazy days of summer and prepare for the long cold winter that looms ahead. And as long as the cats are warm, they don’t really care all that much that it is winter. They let their human go out and carry in the wood to stoke the wood stove. They let their human shovel out the driveway and rake the snow off the roof. And they let their human warm the car up in the event they have to make an emergency trip to the vet, or even more importantly, stock up on some yummy cat food.

Kitties Little Yellow and Lenny say it's too hot to wrestle this morning.
Kitties Little Yellow and Lenny may not work per say, but they contribute to the America;s social and economic well-being.

When Labor Day was founded in the late 1800’s, it was designed to be a tribute to American workers and their contribution to the country’s social and economic achievements. But lest we say more, cats don’t like to work. As a matter of fact, they don’t work at all. They expect their humans to work for them.

Don’t be confused between hunting, stalking and working. Cats, big and small, are amazing hunters. If they are inside, they find plenty of things to hunt – catnip mice, paper bags, and even each other. They love to chase, and my 5 felines spend hours – that is when they are not sleeping or eating – chasing each other up and down the stairs and beyond. They particularly like to do this when their human is trying to get a few extra zzzz’s.

So now the work thing is totally dismissed from a cat’s standpoint, what about their contributions to the American economic and social achievements.

Economically, cats are huge. According to the American Pet Product’ Association,  it is estimated Americans will spend some $51.51 billion on pets in 2014 with $22.62 billion being on food alone. They don’t break down the spending by cats and dogs, but even so the numbers are pretty astounding.

According to the 2013-2014 APPA National Pet Owners Survey, basic annual expenses for dog and cat owners in dollars include: 

Dogs     Cats
Surgical Vet Visits                          $621       $382
Routine Vet                                     $231      $193
Food                                              $239      $203
Food Treats                                     $65       $36
Kennel Boarding                              $327      $337
Vitamins                                         $64        $77
Groomer/Grooming Aids                   $61        $20
Toys                                               $41        $23

As for the social stature of pets, that’s impressive, and we cats know we are socially significant, at least when we want to be.

According to the 2013-2014 APPA National Pet Owners Survey, 68% of American households own a pet, which translates to 82.5 millions homes, When the survey first started in 1988, 56% of American households own a pet. While writing another article, Paws found a startling statistic from the American Veterinary Medical Association stating the percentage of American families with pets is double the number of families with children.

Pet ownership in the United States according to the 2013-2014 APPA National Pet Owners Survey

Number of American Households that Own a Pet (millions)

Bird                              6.9
Cat                               45.3
Dog                              56.7
Horse                            2.8
Freshwater Fish            14.3
Saltwater Fish               1.8
Reptile                          5.6
Small Animal                 6.9

Total Number of Pets Owned in the United States (millions)
Bird                              20.6
Cat                               95.6
Dog                              83.3
Horse                           8.3
Freshwater Fish            145.0
Saltwater Fish               13.6
Reptile                          11.5
Small Animal                 18.1

The answer to the question, ‘Do cats contribute to the American social and economic achievements, or to any country’s prosperity for that matter?’ is a resounding yes. There’s no doubt that our feline friends, and yes, doggies too, have a tremendous impact on not just the American social structure, but that of many European, Asian, and other countries as well. Who would have guessed?

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