It’s a battle for the ages and now there’s real, hard evidence. Which pets are the most popular in Aotearoa? The answers might surprise you as we approach National Pet Day, this April 11th.
Or maybe not, laughs Michelle Le Long, COO of pet insurance provider PD Insurance. In February 2023, the company conducted a “Love Your Pet Day” search, inviting Kiwi pet parents to share their views, tastes, and loves regarding our furry (and sometimes not-so-furry) friends. ).
Attracting over 1800 responses, the survey settles the question – it’s the dogs.
“Our research found that more people consider their dog to be part of the family, at 78 percent, than those who consider their cat close enough to be a parent,” says Le Long. “Of course, there’s not much to it: 74% of cat parents believe Kitty makes a difference.”
This is speculation, but Le Long believes the slight difference could be due to the indifference often displayed by cats. “Dogs have owners, cats have staff, as they say,” she jokes.
Despite their tendency to be less playful and more aloof, cats are the most owned pets in the country. Companion Animals NZ’s latest report, dated 2020, shows that around 41% of households include a cat. The proportion for dogs is lower, with 34% of Kiwis having a dog in the family. More recent data from the National Registry in 2022 shows some 605,000 “member” dogs.
Returning to PD’s research, she discovered that dog and cat owners weren’t so interested in keeping critters and crawlers around the house. 5.7% had pet fish (we assume there was no snapper or gurnard), 3.2% have a bird in hand, guinea pigs tip the scales at 1.3% and rabbits jump with 1.2%.
Le Long says she’s not sure what to make of the 0.4% fringe with reptiles around the spot. The survey also reveals that pets are an important part of the family and even “real children” for many.
“It’s proven by being willing to take them on vacations and pay more for pet-friendly stays, get them pet insurance, and spend a lot on toys and grooming like you would other members. of your family,” says Le Long, pointing out that 61.3% of respondents take dogs and cats with them on family getaways and 37.6% are willing to pay extra for the privilege.
Many people bring their pet to work or want to, with 17% doing so regularly, 19.7% wanting to, and 18.6% working from home alongside their fur babies. Some are even so enamored with the dog or cat that they have set up a “pet marriage contract” in case of a change in relationship status.
“There’s a bit of silence in the latest statistic,” Le Long says, “And that’s because about 22 percent of respondents in relationships even love their pets more than their partners.”
About that prenup, then.
Le Long says National Pet Day is a great time for reflection and maybe an extra treat or two for the furry friends who add so much to our lives. “Now is also a good time to consider pet insurance, so your furry children are assured of the best care when they need it,” she concludes.
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