The study, carried out by Dr Jane Murray and her colleagues at the Department of Clinical Veterinary Science at Bristol University, is published in this month’s Veterinary Record journal and aimed to identify the likely characteristics of cat and dog owners. There are estimated to be approximately 10.3 million cats and 10.5 million dogs in the United Kingdom.
The study found that cat owners were more likely to be female, be a college graduate and aged under 65 years old than dog owners, and that cats were more likely to be owned by households that had a garden. Not unsurprisingly, a household was less likely to own a cat if one or more dogs were present. As the number of family members increased, and the age of children increased, a household was more likely to own a dog than a cat.
"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," said the paper’s author, Dr Jane Murray.