Cats are poised to end the long reign of dogs as Japan’s favorite pet this year, as man’s best friend has become somewhat of a burden in the nation’s aging society.
The number of pet dogs stood at 10.35 million in 2014, compared with 9.96 million felines, according to a Japan Pet Food Association survey of 50,000 people.
But the association, which has conducted the nationwide annual surveys since 1994, noted that pet dogs have decreased by 12.8 percent over the past five years, while the number of cats has clawed up by 3.6 percent over the same period.
If the trend continues, pet cats will outnumber dogs in 2015, according to the association.
“It is easy even for single people to keep cats because it is not necessary to take them for a walk,” said Yoshio Koshimura, 67, honorary chairman of the association. “In this year’s survey, the number of cats will be bigger than that of dogs.”
Sixty percent of all dog and cat owners are in their 50s or older, according to the survey for 2014.
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