The U.S. debate over the preferred pet, dog or cat, has been settled. America has voted, and cats trumped dogs as the favorite pet.

There are dog people and there are cat people -- very rarely do these types of people interact. This schism has never been successfully bridged, as people are rather steadfast in their choices of pet. You can forget trying to convince a cat person why dogs are the better pet and vice versa. There are arguments for both animals: Cats require less maintenance and only need some training, cat people will argue, while dogs can provide more comfort and tend to reflect more human emotions, dog people say.

Well, Nestle's Purina pet-food brand decided to settle that debate with its “America's Pet Debate” campaign. It featured plenty of television ads and was playfully linked to the U.S. presidential election. Fans could post pictures of dogs or cats, with #votecat or #votedog hashtags, on Facebook or Instagram -- and the best part was the fact that Purina made a contribution to Pet Partners' veteran programs based on each vote.

More than 112,000 votes were cast, according to Adweek, which meant $112,500 raised for the Pet Partners' veteran programs. After the final tally, the victor was clear, with 55 percent of the vote going to the cats and 45 percent of it going to the dogs. Nationally, cats won 49 out of 50 states, with dogs snatching Missouri from the paws of cats.

It shouldn't come as a surprise that cats are America's favorite pet, as previously collected figures validate Purina's numbers. According to the American Pet Products Association, or APPA, 62 percent of U.S. households, roughly 72.9 million, own a pet. Dogs are owned by more households than cats, 39 percent versus 33 percent, respectively, but the total number of cats owned in America far exceed the number of dogs owned as pets. Based on the APPA statistics, there are 86.4 million cats that are owned as pets, compared with 78.2 million dogs owned as pets.

While there may never be an answer to the question about which animal is the better pet, statistics show that America is cat country. Regardless of which pet is the favorite, just owning a pet provides numerous health benefits, so dog people and cat people are the true winners when all is said and done.