More American households have pets than ever — 68.7 million of them in 2006, according to a new survey by the American Veterinary Medical Association, up 12.4 percent from 2001.
Among dog owners, 53.5 percent considered their pets to be members of the family, the survey found. For cats, the number was 49.2 percent.
And the term “family member” should not be used lightly. Ari Henry Barnes, who works in a New York law firm, is so devoted to his cat, Romeo, that he wipes the animal’s behind every time he does “a stinky boom boom.”
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