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10 major cities that are just 'purrfect' for cats

Ten cities, including Boston, are being touted as the best places in America to own a cat by a feline advocacy group.

The list - which is based on cat ownership per capita, level of veterinary care, microchipping and cat-friendly local ordinances - was compiled by the CATalyst Council. According to American Pet Product Manufacturers Association statistics, nearly half of all dog owners own cats.

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Twenty-five metropolitan areas were reviewed by the organization, a coalition of veterinarians, academics, industry and animal welfare organizations. The other cities named in addition to Boston are Tampa, Phoenix, San Francisco, Portland (Oregon), Denver, Seattle, San Diego, Atlanta and Minneapolis.

Ithaca, N.Y., home of the Cornell Feline Health Center, which educates the public about felines and their health, received an honorable mention.

The top-10 communities have the tools and resources to properly care for cats, according to the CATalyst Council.

"We applaud the efforts of these major metropolitan areas for providing a wealth of resources for cats and their owners along with their earned accolade of being one of America's Top 10 Cat-Friendly Cities," CATalyst Council Chairman Dan Kramer states in a media release.

Dogs are known as man's best friend, but statistics show cat ownership in the United States is actually higher. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association's 2007 U.S. Pet Ownership & Demographics Sourcebook, the number of cats owned is 81.7 million compared with 72 million dogs.

"Cats really are America's number one companion," Mr. Kramer said. "(The council's) goal is to recognize and celebrate why cats are such popular companions."

People sometimes fail to realize that more cats than dogs are surrendered to shelters, according to the CATalyst Council.

"We are eager to showcase these cities that demonstrate outstanding compassion and resources for cats and their owners in order to elevate the status of the cat," CATalyst Council board member Jan McHugh-Smith said.

According to the CATalyst Council, education is key to understanding and improving conditions for felines. Cats often hide symptoms so owners fail to realize any health problems exist, underscoring the importance for owners to make regular veterinary visits.

American Veterinary Medical Association statistics show an increase in the cat population coupled with a decline in veterinary visits for cats by 11 percent from 2001 to 2006.

"I've spoken with animal control officials, welfare organizations and veterinarians across the country and often hear that cats are more likely to be neglected than dogs, more likely to wind up in shelters and less likely to be seen by veterinarians," CATalyst Council board member Steve Dale said. "Obviously there is room for the nation to improve the overall status and care of cats, but these cities are overcoming the current standard."


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*The Hunt of Her Life signed book series sets are only available to U.S. customers.

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