Adding new meaning to the phrase “fat cats,” Americans spent an estimated $52.87 billion on pets in 2012, more than triple the amount expended 18 years ago, according to the American Pet Products Association.
Nearly two out of three U.S. households own a pet. Four in 10 have a dog, and one in three have a cat. Felines exceed canines in sheer numbers, however: 86 million (two per cat owner) to 78 million.
They’re both well behind freshwater fish, of which there are 151 million, or 11 per owner.
The lion’s share of pet expenditures goes to food — $20 billion. That’s the same amount it would take to end homelessness in America, according Mark Johnston, acting assistant housing secretary for community planning and development. It’s also the amount of food wasted each year in the U.K.
What else do Americans spend $53 billion on? Nuclear weapons, according to a 2009 study by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Black Friday shopping (in 2011), per the National Retail Federation.
As reported by CNN, deadbeat parents cost the country $53 billion.