Our annual tribute to our furry friends


We are all crazy about our pets.

I am reminded of that each year when we get ready for our annual Pet Issue, one of our most popular special editions.

This year, with the switch to monthly publication, we didn’t remind you about the

pet issue as many times as usual. In the April issue, we ran an ad and a little box reminding everyone to send in their photos. Then we tucked another

notice into our new monthly newsletter. Then we waited to see what would happen.

As you can see, beginning on page 16, we received plenty of photos. Some are repeat pets in new photos and some are pets new to our pages. We can’t seem to get beyond cats and dogs, however. Where are the fish, hamsters, bunnies and horses?  I know you are out there! Despite the statistics that show that there are more households with dogs than cats in the U.S., we noticed that there are many more cats this year than in the past. (Because cat owners more often have multiple cats, however, there are more cats than dogs in the U.S. pet population.)

The Jewish Rhode Island staff now seems to favor cats. You’ve read plenty about my cat, who loves to offer her point of view whenever I try to work from home. This year, Charlotte chose a briefcase for her portrait. The briefcase, by the way, is now one of her favorite places to sleep. But don’t try to take her to the office. Despite trying to establish a tradition of “Feline Fridays,” when my husband takes her to his office each week, she seems to prefer to stay at home. She has been ducking him and the carrier of late on Fridays.

Meanwhile, ad rep Chris Westerkamp’s cat prefers a classic cat portrait. Can you find Tia?

Statistic-gathering agencies differ on what percentage of U.S. households owns pets. In 2016, the American Pet Products Association found that 68 percent of all households surveyed owned some sort of pet. The American Veterinary Medical Association found 57 percent of households had a pet at the end of 2016. The Simmons National Consumer Survey found that only 53 percent of households owned pets. And the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Housing Survey came in at 49 percent of households with pets. That’s close to 20 percent lower than the APPA!

Apparently, the difference is in the details and methodology, according to a January 2019 Washington Post article. Some surveys are mailed, some are online, some ask you to “opt-in” to certain questions.

Regardless of the statistics, there’s no doubt that we love our furry (and fishy) friends. We take care of them like all the other members of our family – and we often spoil them. You can even get a subscription toy box for your dog or cat! 

Sales of pet products rose by 5 percent last year, according to the U.S. Pet Market Outlook 2018-19. It’s all a big business. Because we can’t resist spending on our beloved pet friends. And we at Jewish Rhode Island love to see our little piece of all that pet love, your pet photos!