Pet Facts
Pet Facts

45 Playful Pets & Their Owners Facts

Madeline Thatcher
By Madeline Thatcher, Associate Writer
Published January 23, 2019
  • Pets have been kept by humans since prehistoric times, and almost every single culture around the world has a history of pets.[9]
  • The relationship between pets and humans offers an insightful look into how our societies have evolved, and researchers are studying that link to learn more about humans as a species.[4]
  • The word “pet” comes from the Middle English word “petty,” meaning “small.”[3]
  • The word "pet" was first given to humans, often in regards to a spoiled, whiny child. Only later did it transition to animals.[7]
  • Pets became common when animals were domesticated.[9]
  • Pet ownership was historically a sign of wealth and free time.[4]
  • Relationships between pets and humans are symbiotic, since they benefit both the human owner and the animal pet.[9]
  • Dogs were the first domesticated animal and therefore, most likely, our human ancestors' first pet. Historians believe the first domesticated dogs became pets in the Paleolithic Era.[9]
  • Dogs were domesticated separately in both Europe and Asia—but about 2,000 years apart.[4]
  • Archeologists discovered a grave dug in 10,000 BC, where its inhabitant was buried along with a puppy. It is the earliest evidence of the relationship between humans and dogs.[3]
  • Egyptians were especially fond of dogs as pets, and greyhound-type dogs frequently appear in Egyptian art.[9]
  • Pet Fact Cat
    Egypt loved their Pharaohs and their cats
  • Cats were first domesticated in Egypt around the 16th century BC.[9]
  • Ancient Egyptian paintings first featured cats catching mice in 3000 BC, right around the time that Egyptians began storing grain indoors.[3]
  • Ancient Egyptians kept hyenas, lions, and monkeys as pets, but none were as widely worshiped as the cat.[9]
  • Horses were widely domesticated by 2000 BC and were used to pull chariots and other types of vehicles throughout the Middle East.[9]
  • Pets have historically protected and hunted with humans.[9]
  • During the 18th and 19th centuries, many British and American newspapers featured elegies for dead pets. Among them, one scholar found six for monkeys, twelve for canaries, seventeen for cats, and 53 for dogs.[12]
  • The first dog shows in America took place in the 1860s. One of the earliest shows was hosted by P. T. Barnum, the famous circus owner and Connecticut congressman.[7]
  • In 1850, Phillip Henry Gosse created the first aquarium for the London Zoo, inspiring more people to keep fish as pets. He also coined the word “aquarium.”[3]
  • Fish are the most popular pet in America, with over 142 million of them swimming around in American households.[11]
  • Pet Facts Fish
    Fish may not be as cuddly as dogs, but they are more popular

  • Cats and dogs are the second and third most popular pets in America, with 88.3 million and 74.8 million, respectively.[11]
  • Pet ownership is higher than it has ever been, with almost 60% of American households having at least one.[11]
  • Pet insurance began in Sweden; half of that nation’s pets are now insured.[5]
  • The first pet insurance in America was purchased in 1982 to protect the dog that played the title role in Lassie.[5]
  • Other popular pets in the United States include birds (7.9 million), small mammals like hamsters and bunnies (6.7 million), reptiles (4.7 million), and horses (2.6 million).[5]
  • Millennials own more pets than Generation X and the Baby Boomers.[5]
  • Nearly 85% of Americans had a pet growing up.[5]
  • About 6.5 million pets enter American animal shelters every year.[10]
  • About 2.3 million pets are adopted from American animal shelters every year.[10]
  • Cats are euthanized more frequently than dogs.[10]
  • About 40% of dog and cat owners found their pet through word of mouth.[10]
  • Animals are such agreeable friends - they ask no questions; they pass no criticisms.

    - George Elliot

  • Alexander the Great had a favorite horse called Bucephalus.[9]
  • Beyoncé used to have a pet python named Fendi.[8]
  • Emma Watson, who played Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter movies, had a pet hamster that died during filming. The prop crew made it a tiny coffin for its funeral.[8]
  • Pope Leo X had a white elephant as a pet.[1]
  • Christopher Columbus brought back two parrots as pets for Queen Isabella when he returned from his journey to the Americas.[3]
  • The Marquis de Lafayette, a Frenchman who aided America during the Revolutionary War, kept an alligator as a pet. It got to bathe in the White House when it and its owner visited President John Quincy Adams.[1]
  • Virgil, the famous poet, author, and role model (and featured in Dante’s Divine Comedy), had a "pet" house fly. The fly was not really his pet, but merely used as a protest against the Roman government when it began seizing land unlawfully.[1]
  • Interacting with pets can lower blood pressure, slow heart rate, regulate breathing, and relax tensed muscles.[2]
  • Famous French philosopher Jaques Derrida claimed humans could not understand themselves if they did not understand animals, especially the ways humans and animals rely on and interact with one another.[6]
  • Pet Fact Kid
    Pets and kids go well together, especially when preventing depression and anxiety
  • Playing with pets increases serotonin and dopamine, hormones in the brain that make us happy and relaxed.[2]
  • Even people who do not particularly care for animals experienced decreased levels of stress when they played with a pet.[2]
  • Children who have a pet dog are less likely to have anxiety.[2]
  • Pets help humans feel needed and included, thereby increasing mental health levels.[2]
  • Pet owners usually have better self-esteem, are more in shape, and are less lonely than those who do not own pets.[2]
  • Fetching Facts about Pets INFOGRAPHIC
    Pet Benefits Infographic Facts

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