Cats and humans

Cats are common pets in Europe and North America, and their worldwide population exceeds 500 million.[1] In 1998 there were around 43 million cats in Western Europe, 33 million in Eastern Europe, seven million in Japan and three million in Australia.[2]:4 A 2007 report stated that about 37 million US households owned cats, with an average of 2.2 cats per household giving a total population of around 82 million.[3] In contrast, there are about 72 million pet dogs in that country.[3] Although cat ownership has commonly been associated with women,[4] a 2007 Gallup poll reported that men and women were equally likely to own a cat.[5] The ratio of pedigree/purebred cats to random-bred cats varies from country to country. However, generally speaking, purebreds are less than 10% of the total population.[6] According to the Humane Society of the United States, as well as being kept as pets, cats are also used in the international fur trade.[7] Cat fur is used in coats, gloves, hats, shoes, blankets and stuffed toys. About 24 cats are needed to make a cat fur coat.[8] This use has now been outlawed in several countries, including the United States, Australia and the European Union.[9] However, some cat furs are still made into blankets in Switzerland as folk remedies that are believed to help rheumatism.[10] It has long been common for cats to be eaten in some parts of China and in some other Asian countries and it is estimated that in southern China's Guangdong province people eat 10,000 cats per day.[11] Animal People esti ates that 4 million cats are killed and consumed in Asia every year.[12] Cats are also used as a form of pest control, particularly in the case of rat or mice infestation. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), based in Washington, D.C., is the largest animal advocacy organization in the world. It counts more than 11 million Americans among its members and supporters.[2] In 2009, HSUS reported assets of over US$160 million.[3] Journalist Fred Myers and three others founded HSUS in 1954 to address what they saw as cruelties of national scope, and resolving animal welfare problems by applying strategies beyond the ability of local organizations.[4] HSUS operates animal sanctuaries in five states. It does not run local shelters or oversee local animal care and control agencies, but promotes best practice and provides assistance to shelters and sheltering programs.[5] The group's current major campaigns target five issues: factory farming, animal fighting, the fur trade, puppy mills, and wildlife abuse.[6] HSUS publishes Animal Sheltering, a bi-monthly magazine for animal sheltering professionals.[7] HSUS distributed the magazine to more than 450,000 people in 2009.[3] It also operates the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, which provides free veterinary services for animals in impoverished communities.[8] The Genesis Awards have been awarded annually since 1986 to individuals in the major news and entertainment media for producing outstanding works which raise public awareness of animal issues.[9]