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Pet owners more attached to dogs than cats, study suggests
Danish pet owners were the least likely to get insurance for their cats.
The difference appeared to vary depending on country.

An international study has suggested that people are more emotionally attached to dogs than they are to cats.

However the difference in attachment levels, based on attachment scores and willingness to spend money on each pet, appeared to vary across different countries.

The study, led by Dr Peter Sandøe of the University of Copenhagen and supported by the University of Glasgow, aimed to develop upon previous research which, while concluding that dogs were more cared for than cats, often relied on convenience samples and focused on one country. This new approach would compare how attachment levels varied across three different countries – Denmark, Austria and the UK.

These European countries were chosen because they each urbanised at different times, with the UK urbanising first and Denmark being the last. The scientists predicted that more distant history with rural animals would affect a country’s societal attitude towards pets today.

The scientists surveyed 2,117 people that owned either dogs or cats. This sample consisted of 844 dog owners, 872 cat owners and 401 people who owned both dogs and cats.

The survey included the Lexington Attachment to Pets Scale, which studies emotional attachment to pets, investment in veterinary care and expectations for available care.

The results showed that respondents across all countries did appear to care more about their dogs than their cats. This was based on their attachment scores, how often they insured their dogs, the treatment options they expected and how much they would pay for these treatments.

However they also revealed differing attitudes across the three countries, based on how marked their preference was.

While pet owners in the UK only showed a slight preference for dogs over cats, the difference was more significant in Austria and most noticeable in Denmark. Danish pet owners were much less likely to pay for insurance or treatment for their cats than they were for their dogs.

Dr Sandøe said: “While people care more about their dogs than their cats in all countries, the degree of difference varied dramatically between countries,”

“It doesn’t therefore seem to be a universal phenomenon that people care much less about their cats than their dogs. We suggest instead that the difference is likely to depend on cultural factors, including whether the animals spend a lot of time with their owners in the home.”

Image © Shutterstock

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Reporting service for dead wild birds updated

News Story 1
 The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) has updated its online reporting service for dead wild birds.

The new version allows those reporting a dead bird to drop a pin on a map when reporting the location. It also includes a wider range of wild bird species groups to select from when describing the bird.

The online service, which helps APHA to monitor the spread of diseases such as avian influenza, can be accessed here

Click here for more...
News Shorts
NI chief vet urges bluetongue vigilance

Northern Ireland's chief veterinary officer (CVO) has urged farmers to be vigilant for signs of bluetongue, after the Animal and Plant Health Agency warned there was a very high probability of further cases in Great Britain.

There have been 126 confirmed cases of bluetongue virus serotype 3 in England since November 2023, with no cases reported in Northern Ireland. The movement of live ruminants from Great Britain to Northern Ireland is currently suspended.

According to the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), the virus is most likely to enter Northern Ireland through infected animals or germplasm (semen or ova) being imported.

Brian Dooher, Northern Ireland's CVO, said: "Surveillance for this disease within Northern Ireland has been increased to assist with detection at the earliest opportunity which will facilitate more effective control measures."

Farmers should report any suspicions of the disease to their private veterinary practitioner, the DAERA Helpline on 0300 200 7840 or their local DAERA Direct Veterinary Office.