We REALLY do love our pets in this country. According to the latest national figures (from 2014) nearly half of all households have one.
That’s 13 million homes, providing a place to live for a staggering 65 million animals.
It’s quite an interesting game trying to work out how that breaks down. We won’t share it with you until lower down the page, if you want to have a guess at what percentage of households have dogs and what percentage have cats. And can you guess what’s the most numerous pet in the UK? You might be surprised.
The list of the top ten most popular pets probably doesn’t contain too many surprises, though lizards making an appearance at number ten might raise an eyebrow or two. There are about 400,000 of them living with their owners, apparently!
Sitting alongside them though are our perennial favourites, including rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, caged birds, fish and even domestic fowl (think chickens in yards and gardens providing daily fresh eggs!).
Not in the top ten, but nevertheless still kept in pretty large numbers, are the kind of creatures that take a bit more dedication to love – such as rats, mice and insects. There are about 100,000 of each according to figures from the Pet Food Manufacturers Association, which compiles the statistics each year.
Toads take a bit more dedication…
It seems that frogs and toads, newts and salamanders appear in similar quantities, but they’re not as popular as pigeons, turtles and tortoises (300,000 of each). Would you believe that snakes come in as popular as horses and ponies (400,000 of them)!
So what about those ever-popular pooches and felines? How many did you guess at?
Well, it seems that a far from inconsiderable nine million dogs have a home with UK families (24 per cent of all households) while eight million cats put in an appearance (17 per cent of homes have one).
But which pet is there the most of in this country? That honour goes to an altogether more cold blooded type of creature, one you can’t even cuddle – the fish!
It seems that the numbers of fish kept in tanks amount to between 20 and 25 million (in nine per cent of homes), with similar numbers of fish living in domestic ponds (five per cent of homes).
That accounts for less of the total households than cats and dogs but, let’s face it, it’s easier to keep ten fish than ten dogs.
Whatever the breakdown of the numbers, it’s very clear that we really are a pet loving nation, for reasons we’ll take a closer look at soon.