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The estimated number of cats being kept as pets outnumbered that of dogs for the second straight year in 2018, the Japan Pet Food Association said Tuesday.

After the number of pet cats exceeded that of dogs for the first time ever in the country last year, cats extended their lead.

The estimated number of pet dogs fell by 17,000 from the previous year to 8,903,000, the association said.

By contrast, the number of pet cats is estimated to have increased by 123,000 to 9,649,000.

“Cats are apparently more fuss-free than dogs,” an association official said, adding that “the declining trend in the number of pet dogs is expected to continue.”

The association, composed of 85 members that include makers of pet food, started compiling the statistics in 1994. The latest survey is based on answers submitted online by 50,000 people aged between 20 and 79 across the country.

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