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A cat and dog , the two most popular pets A pet (or companion animal ) is a household animal kept for a person's enjoyment, as opposed to livestock , laboratory animals , working animals and sport animals which are kept for economic reasons. The most popular pets are noted for their attractive appearances and their loyal or playful personalities. Their pedigree may also be a factor. In some cases pets may also provide their owners with benefits, such as providing companionship to elderly adults who do not have adequate social interaction with other people. [ 1 ] [ 2 ] While some people believe in the physical and emotional benefits of owning a pet, scientists are currently working to verify these ideas with medical studies . [ 1 ] There is now a medically approved class of " therapy animals ", mostly dogs, that are brought to visit confined humans.