A new study from Bristol University has finally shed light on one of the world’s much debated subjects by suggesting that cat owners are smarter than dog owners. The study also revealed that domestic cat and dog populations in the UK are larger than previously thought.
A new study from Bristol university has finally shed light on one of the world’s much debated subjects by suggesting that cat owners are smarter than dog owners. The study also revealed that domestic cat and dog populations in the UK are larger than previously thought.
Researchers from the Department of Clinical Veterinary Science at Bristol University aimed to estimate the number of UK domestic cats and dogs and identify the characteristics of their owners. Results revealed that people with cats were more likely to have university degrees than those with dogs.
Jane Murray, Cats Protection lecturer in feline epidemiology, said: “The study has shown many common factors relating to cat and dog ownership, such as a garden and rural location, but it has also identified some notable differences. In particular, the difference in the level of education achieved by a household owning cats and dogs.
“The reason for this association is unclear. It is unlikely to be related to household income as this variable was not shown to be significant but it could be related to household members with longer working hours having less time available to care for a dog.”
The study, entitled Number and ownership profiles of cats and dogs in the UK, also revealed that the UK domestic cat and dog populations are larger than previously thought. Cats and dogs are the most popular pets in the UK, but it has been over 20 years since official population estimates in the UK have been published in scientific peer-reviewed journals.
The 2007 telephone survey of households in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland revealed that cats and dogs were owned by 26 per cent and 31 per cent of households, respectively – giving an estimated figure of approximately 10.3 million cats and 10.5 million dogs in 2006.
Dr Murray said: “Past reports have suggested that the number of pet cats exceeds the number of pet dogs in the UK. However, results from our study suggest that there are similar numbers of pet cats and dogs.”
It is suggested that the figures offered by this study could be of particular use to the animal health and welfare professions, including rescue charities, which can use these and future estimates to assess population changes. However, the researchers recommend the study is repeated in 2011, (the year of the next scheduled UK census), as any increase or decrease in population numbers will enable pet ownership trends to be monitored.