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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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VMG president joins House of Lords

News Story 1
 Miles Russell, president of the Veterinary Management Group (VMG), has been elected to the House of Lords as a crossbench hereditary peer.

He will join Lord Trees as a representative of the veterinary sector in the second chamber of the UK parliament.

Lord Russell said: "Those of us working in the animal health and veterinary sectors are only too aware of the importance of the work we do and the challenges we face.

"I will use my platform in the House of Lords to increase understanding of our sectors and to promote positive change." 

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News Shorts
Sixth case of bluetongue confirmed

A sixth case of bluetongue virus serotype 3 has been confirmed in the UK.

The case was detected in an animal on a premises linked to one of the farms within the Temporary Control Zone (TCZ) currently in place near Canterbury, Kent.

In response, the Animal and Plant Health Agency has extended the TCZ. Investigations into the spread of the disease are ongoing.

The cases in Kent come at a time when a new strain of the virus has spread rapidly across farms in the Netherlands. Both the Government and the British Veterinary Association have urged livestock keepers to remain vigilant.

Bluetongue is a notifiable disease and suspected cases must be reported immediately on 03000 200 301 in England or 03003 038 268 in Wales. In Scotland, possible cases should be reported to the local field services office.