We British are certainly pet lovers, and we keep many different kinds of pets. While cats and dogs come top of the list of popular pets, the jury is still out regarding which are the most popular, with different surveys giving different answers. According to the Cats Protection League we keep 7.4 million cats and 6.1 million dogs, but according to government statistics dogs are the most popular and represent 23.4% of our total pet ownership. Whatever pet you have you should consider getting it insured just in case.
Dogs are of course man’s best friend, and there have been many famous pets who have demonstrated this mutual friendship in extraordinary ways. There are many stories, but one that epitomises them is the story of Bobby a Skye Terrier and his master Ray the night watchmen. They were inseparable partners. When Ray died of tuberculosis and was buried in Edinburgh in 1858 Bobby refused to leave his grave whatever the weather conditions. At one pm every day Bobby would visit the coffee shop where he went with his master and the proprietor would give him a meal. He guarded his master’s grave for 14 years until his own death. There is a statue of Greyfriars Bobby in Edinburgh which is a popular tourist attraction.
Cats and dogs make very different pets. While cats don’t share the same kind of loyalty as dogs, they are much more independent and have a natural free spirit. They also appear to have the ability to make people feel good and help people relax; when a cat purrs it has a soothing affect on humans. They are clever too; it has been shown that the noise that a cat makes when it is hungry and wants feeding has exactly the same tonality as the cry of a human baby. Some scientists have suggested that domestic cats have evolved to mimic that cry.
Although fish make very different pets from mammals, they are the third most popular. We keep them because we admire them, but also because they can have a very soothing effect as we watch them swim round their indoor aquarium or in the rear garden pond. It is estimated that in Britain we keep 12 million fish in aquariums and 18 million in ponds.
Rabbits are the fourth most popular pet in Britain and there are around 1.5 million of them. They can certainly be delightful creatures and they can also appear affectionate, but they can be aggressive too. Despite the placid appearance, an angry bunny can inflict serious damage with its sharp claws and strong leg muscles.
We keep more reptiles as pets than dogs, in fact in Britain there are around 8 million pet reptiles. These include snakes, geckos, tortoises, and chameleons.
In collaboration with More Than