Minnesotans love our pets, but not in nearly the same numbers as folks in most other states.

In a report likely to surprise pet fanciers, the American Veterinary Medical Association found that Minnesota ranks 42nd in pet ownership, with 53 percent of households owning a pet. The national average is 56 percent.

The news is the worst for dog lovers: We rank 43rd in ownership with a rate of 31.9 percent compared with a national average of 36.5. We’re not exactly the cat’s meow when it comes to feline ownership, either. Our 29.7 percent is just a whisker below the 30.4 national average. The dog census has a string of logic to it. The bottom 10 dog-owning states all have snowy winters and major metropolitan areas, both of which can hinder dog walking.

But the cat stats are a paw in the face to a state that got worldwide attention when 10,000 people showed up in August to watch the Walker Art Center’s cat video film festival. Apparently, we prefer Internet “lolcats” over the real thing.

The census was accompanied by a statement from the vet association’s president, bemoaning the fact that people are not doing as good a job of keeping their pets healthy as they did during the last census five years ago.

But that’s where Minnesota pet lovers shine, said Jeff Moravec, director of communications for the Animal Humane Society.

“We go for quality instead of quantity,” Moravec said. “We do a very good job of caring for our pets. And we’re known as a very adoption-friendly state. [Stray] animals from out of state are sent here because they have a better chance of being adopted.” □