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A pet, or companion animal, is an
animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular A multicellular organism is an organism In biology, an organism () is any organic, life, living system that functions as an individual entity. All organisms are composed of cells ...

animal
kept primarily for a person's company or entertainment rather than as a
working animal A working animal is an animal, usually domesticated Domestication is a sustained multi-generational relationship in which one group of organisms assumes a significant degree of influence over the reproduction and care of another group to secu ...
,
livestock Livestock are the domesticated Domestication is a sustained multi-generational relationship in which one group of organisms assumes a significant degree of influence over the reproduction and care of another group to secure a more predictabl ...
or a laboratory animal. Popular pets are often considered to have attractive appearances,
intelligence Intelligence has been defined in many ways: the capacity for abstraction, logic, understanding, self-awareness, learning, emotional knowledge, reasoning, planning, creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving. More generally, it can be des ...
and relatable personalities, but some pets may be taken in on an
altruistic Altruism is the principle A principle is a proposition or value that is a guide for behavior or evaluation. In law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a s ...
basis (such as a stray animal) and accepted by the owner regardless of these characteristics. Two of the most popular pets are
dog The dog or domestic dog (''Canis familiaris'' or ''Canis lupus familiaris'') is a Domestication, domesticated descendant of the wolf which is characterized by an upturning tail. The dog Origin of the domestic dog, derived from an Pleistocene ...

dog
s and
cat The cat (''Felis catus'') is a domestic Domestic may refer to: In the home * Anything relating to the human home A home, or domicile, is a space used as a permanent or semi-permanent residence for an individual, group or family ...

cat
s; the technical term for a cat lover is an ailurophile and a dog lover a cynophile. Other animals commonly kept include:
rabbits Rabbits are small mammal Mammals (from Latin language, Latin , 'breast') are a group of vertebrate animals constituting the class (biology), class Mammalia (), and characterized by the presence of mammary glands which in Female#Mammali ...
;
ferret The ferret (''Mustela furo'') is a small, domesticated Domestication is a sustained multi-generational relationship in which one group of organisms assumes a significant degree of influence over the reproduction and care of another group to s ...

ferret
s;
pig The pig (''Sus domesticus''), often called swine, hog, or domestic pig when distinguishing from other members of the genus '' Sus'', is an omnivorous An omnivore () is an animal that has the ability to eat and survive on both plant and ani ...
s;
rodent Rodents (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republi ...

rodent
s, such as
gerbil The Mongolian gerbil or Mongolian jird (''Meriones unguiculatus'') is a small rodent belonging to the subfamily Gerbillinae. Their body size is typically 110–135mm (4½" to 5¼"), with a 95–120mm (3¾" to 4¾") tail, and body weight 60–1 ...

gerbil
s,
hamster Hamsters are rodent Rodents (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. ...

hamster
s,
chinchilla Chinchillas are either of two species ('' Chinchilla chinchilla'' and ''Chinchilla lanigera'') of crepuscular An adult firefly (''Photuris lucicrescens'') or "lightning bug" – a crepuscular beetle A crepuscular animal is one that is ...

chinchilla
s,
rats Rats are various medium-sized, long-tailed rodent Rodents (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, k ...

rats
,
mice A mouse, plural mice, is a small mammal Mammals (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ...

mice
, and
guinea pig The guinea pig or domestic guinea pig (''Cavia porcellus''), also known as the cavy or domestic cavy (), is a species of rodent Rodents (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the I ...

guinea pig
s;
avian
avian
pets, such as
parrot Parrots, also known as psittacines , are birds of the roughly 398 species in 92 genus (biology), genera comprising the order (biology), order Psittaciformes , found mostly in tropics, tropical and subtropics, subtropical regions. The order is s ...

parrot
s,
passerine A passerine () is any bird Birds are a group of warm-blooded vertebrate Vertebrates () comprise all species of animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular eukaryotic organisms that form the Kingdom (biology), bi ...
s and
fowl Fowl are bird Birds are a group of s constituting the Aves , characterised by s, toothless beaked jaws, the of eggs, a high rate, a four-chambered , and a strong yet lightweight . Birds live worldwide and range in size from the ...

fowl
s;
reptile Reptiles, as most commonly defined, are the animals in the class Class or The Class may refer to: Common uses not otherwise categorized * Class (biology), a taxonomic rank * Class (knowledge representation), a collection of individuals or ...

reptile
pets, such as
turtle Turtles are an order Order, ORDER or Orders may refer to: * Orderliness Orderliness is a quality that is characterized by a person’s interest in keeping their surroundings and themselves well organized, and is associated with other qu ...

turtle
s,
alligator An alligator is a crocodilia Crocodilia (or Crocodylia, both ) is an Order (biology), order of mostly large, predatory, List of semiaquatic tetrapods, semiaquatic reptiles, known as crocodilians. They first appeared 95 million years ago ...

alligator
s,
crocodile Crocodiles (family In , family (from la, familia) is a of people related either by (by recognized birth) or (by marriage or other relationship). The purpose of families is to maintain the well-being of its members and of society. I ...

crocodile
s,
lizard Lizards (suborder Lacertilia) are a widespread group of Squamata, squamate reptiles, with over 6,000 species, ranging across all continents except Antarctica, as well as most oceanic island chains. The group is paraphyletic as it excludes the s ...

lizard
s, and
snake Snakes are elongated, limbless, carnivore, carnivorous reptiles of the suborder Serpentes . Like all other Squamata, squamates, snakes are ectothermic, amniote vertebrates covered in overlapping Scale (zoology), scales. Many species of snakes ...

snake
s;
aquatic pets
aquatic pets
, such as
fish Fish are aquatic Aquatic means relating to water Water (chemical formula H2O) is an inorganic, transparent, tasteless, odorless, and nearly colorless chemical substance, which is the main constituent of Earth's hydrosphere and the ...

fish
,
freshwater Fresh water or freshwater is any naturally occurring liquid or frozen water Water (chemical formula H2O) is an , transparent, tasteless, odorless, and , which is the main constituent of 's and the s of all known living organisms (in ...
and
saltwater Saline water (more commonly known as salt water) is water Water is an Inorganic compound, inorganic, Transparency and translucency, transparent, tasteless, odorless, and Color of water, nearly colorless chemical substance, which is the ...

saltwater
snails,
amphibians Amphibians are ectotherm File:Junonia lemonias DSF by Kadavoor.JPG, ''Junonia lemonias'' is basking under the sun. An ectotherm (from the Ancient Greek, Greek ἐκτός (''ektós'') "outside" and θερμός (''thermós'') "hot") is an o ...

amphibians
like
frog A frog is any member of a diverse and largely carnivorous A carnivore , meaning "meat Meat is animal flesh that is eaten as food. Humans have hunted and killed animals for meat since prehistoric times. The advent of civilization all ...

frog
s and
salamanders Salamanders are a group of amphibian Amphibians are ectothermic, tetrapod Tetrapods (; from Greek 'four' and 'foot') are four-limbed animals constituting the superclass Tetrapoda . It includes extant and extinct amphibians, rept ...
; and
arthropod An arthropod (, (gen. ποδός)) is an invertebrate animal having an exoskeleton, a Segmentation (biology), segmented body, and paired jointed appendages. Arthropods form the phylum Euarthropoda,Reference showing that Euarthropoda is a phylum: ...
pets, such as
tarantula Tarantulas comprise a group of large and often hairy spider Spiders (order Order or ORDER or Orders may refer to: * Orderliness Orderliness is associated with other qualities such as cleanliness Cleanliness is both the abstract stat ...

tarantula
s and
hermit crab Hermit crabs are anomuran decapod crustacean Crustaceans (Crustacea ) form a large, diverse arthropod An arthropod (, (gen. ποδός)) is an invertebrate Invertebrates are animals that neither possess nor develop a vertebral column (c ...

hermit crab
s. Small pets may be grouped together as
pocket pet The most common rodent Rodents (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the ...
s, while the
equine Equinae is a subfamily In biological classification In biology, taxonomy () is the scientific study of naming, defining (Circumscription (taxonomy), circumscribing) and classifying groups of biological organisms based on shared character ...
and
bovine The biological subfamily In biological classification In biology, taxonomy () is the scientific study of naming, defining (Circumscription (taxonomy), circumscribing) and classifying groups of biological organisms based on shared characte ...

bovine
group include the largest companion animals. Pets provide their owners (or "guardians") both physical and emotional benefits. Walking a dog can provide both the human and the dog with exercise, fresh air and
social interaction In social science Social science is the branch A branch ( or , ) or tree branch (sometimes referred to in botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botan ...
. Pets can give companionship to people who are living alone or elderly adults who do not have adequate social interaction with other people. There is a medically approved class of therapy animals, mostly dogs or cats, that are brought to visit confined humans, such as
children in hospitals
children in hospitals
or elders in
nursing homes A nursing home is a facility for the residential careResidential care refers to long-term care given to adults or children who stay in a residential setting rather than in their own home or family home. There are various residential care optio ...
. Pet therapy utilizes trained animals and handlers to achieve specific physical, social, cognitive or emotional goals with patients. People most commonly get pets for companionship, to protect a home or property or because of the perceived beauty or attractiveness of the animals. A 1994 Canadian study found that the most common reasons for not owning a pet were lack of ability to care for the pet when traveling (34.6%), lack of time (28.6%) and lack of suitable housing (28.3%), with dislike of pets being less common (19.6%). Some
scholars A scholar is a person who pursues academic and intellectual activities, particularly academics who apply their intellectualism into expertise in an area of Studying, study. A scholar can also be an academic, who works as a professor, teacher, or r ...
,
ethicistAn ethicist is one whose judgment on ethics and ethical codes has come to be trusted by a specific community, and (importantly) is expressed in some way that makes it possible for others to mimic or approximate that judgment. Following the advice of ...
s and
animal rights organizations This List of animal rights groups consists of groups in the animal rights movement. Such animal rights groups work towards their ideals, which include the viewpoint that animals should have equivalent rights to humans, such as not being "used" i ...
have raised concerns over keeping pets because of the lack of autonomy and the objectification of non-human animals.


Pet popularity


China

In China, spending on domestic animals has grown from an estimated $3.12 billion in 2010 to $25 billion in 2018. The Chinese people own 51 million dogs and 41 million cats, with pet owners often preferring to source pet food internationally. There are a total of 755 million pets, increased from 389 million in 2013.


Italy

According to a survey promoted by Italian family associations in 2009, it is estimated that there are approximately 45 million pets in Italy. This includes 7 million dogs, 7.5 million cats, 16 million fish, 12 million birds, and 10 million snakes.


United Kingdom

A 2007 survey by the
University of Bristol , mottoeng = earning Earning can refer to: *Labour (economics) *Earnings of a company *Merit (disambiguation), Merit {{disambig


References


Further reading

*


External links


Companion Animal Demographics in the United States: A Historical Perspective
fro

* {{Authority control Pets, Animals and humans