Tell me what your pet is and I’ll tell you who you are

Did we not all want a pet as a kid? Probably – just try to remember, were you not harassing your parents with the acquisition of a cat or dog a few years back? Well, maybe you were not, depending on where you come from. Different countries have different habits with animals. Here are a few stats and facts.

Animal lovers and animal likers
There are huge gaps from one country to another. In the US, 63% of households own a pet while only 25% in Greece. In between come the Netherlands (58%), France (52%), the UK and Italy (50%), Germany (35%) and Spain (28%). How is this happening?

Tradition is one factor: the Dutch are allegedly cat lovers, dogs are important members of the traditional American family and Paris would not be Paris without dog-do on the pavements!

Economy plays an important part as well. It is cheaper to have a dog in the US than it is in most European countries. There, the annual cost of a cat and a dog are respectively €650 and €700, including food, vet fees, insurance, etc. In comparison, it costs 30% more in France. A cat costs €900 and a dog €1,000 a year. Quite an investment. This could explain why pets are so unpopular in countries like Spain or Greece where the economic climate is not currently at its best.
Some put forward the isolation factor: share rentals are less common in the US or in France and people often live alone. Having a pet is then some company, but it also is easier to make such a decision when living alone. However this is not the case in Germany: only 26% of pets live with a single person.

Are pets losing their furs?
In many countries, cats and dogs are still far ahead any other animals as a choice of predilection for a pet.

Germany holds 8.2 million cats and 5.5 million dogs – not bad given they are owned by 35% of the population. In France, cats almost hit the 10 million while dogs are 8.8. Yet statistics show that people – in Germany and in France alike – are fonder of dogs. Those are favorites for 34% of the French, cats are second with 29%, far ahead of birds (14%) and fish (11%).

However, these trends are shaken by the UK: since 2008 a new challenger has taken over the dog’s position. While cats are still number one with slightly over 8 million fur balls, reptiles are the newest craze with almost 8 million as well – dogs are on the decrease with a mere 6.5 million. The scale is tilting.

To read about a staunch dog lover’s adventures sharing a flat with two cats (one of them quite evil) please go to It’s a Dog’s Life and Grinning Like a Cheshire Cat.

[Français]

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