Cats vs dogs - How people are choosing cute kitties instead of puppies post lockdown
As we’ve talked about before on this blog, during lockdown, puppy sales were booming as many of us in the UK sought a distraction or company during these uncertain times. Unfortunately animal shelters are now seeing an influx of unwanted pups as impulsive owners head back to work, realising that a dog is too much of a commitment – and new figures revealed by pet sale website, Pets4Homes suggest that people now prefer cats!
Cat and dog pic by Daniel Tuttle on Unsplash
Are the dog days really over?
It appears that pet owners in the UK have realised that cats are less needy than dogs and require less attention and exercise (although they still require a lot of attention!) And the new figures reflect this as sales and adoptions of cats appear to be rising significantly.
Talking to Metro about the trend, managing director of Pets4Homes, Les Gibson suggested this shift also reflects a new trend that they have seen for responsible pet buying. People have learned more about the responsibility involved in owning a pet and are researching their options more thoroughly before getting one, he said:
“Encouragingly, fewer pets are also bought on impulse with only 6.6% stating that they spent less than a week researching which pet breed they wanted..
“However, there is still a knowledge gap and we urge all buyers to be responsible and do their research before committing to rehoming a pet.
“We will continue to put efforts into educating our users, contributing to a safer space for pets and pet parents.”
Kitten pic by The Lucky Neko on Unsplash
Keeping up with the Swift
Unfortunately though, pet buying still seems to be influenced by fashion trends and celebrity choices. According to Les, the cat breed that people are most interested in right now is the munchkin cat. This relatively modern breed of short-legged dwarf cat has been made popular by celebrities such as Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift and due to this increased demand, they now cost around £2,500 each
However what goes up must come down and the extremely high puppy prices that some of us paid during lockdown are beginning to tumble. Last year the average price of a puppy shot up to £1,900 with Cavapoos (a cross between a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and a Miniature Poodle) and French Bulldogs experiencing the most popularity on Pets4Homes. Now though, munchkin cats are outselling them on the site – although Cavapoos are still very much in demand.
Cavapoo pic by Mia Anderson on Unsplash
Rise of the Munchkins
During June there were 307 bids for every Munchkin cat advertised on the site and earlier in the year, this figure was 491.
But where do munchkin cats come from? The breed is very new and has only been around since 1991. Named after the munchkin characters in The Wizard of Oz. Legend has it that the breed started by accident when a school teacher in Louisiana found two pregnant, short-legged cats hiding underneath her car during the early 80s. Apparently all munchkin cats can trace their roots back to these two cats.
There are three types of Munchkin cat and they don’t always have short legs, it depends on their genes. These are standard, super-short and rug hugger, which is – as you can imagine – the shortest variety.
Despite being bred from dwarf cats, the breed are relatively healthy and rumours about them suffering from health problems are unfounded. However, because they have short legs, some Munchkins are able to sit up on their hind legs like a prairie dog and this certainly sets them apart from other breeds!
Munchkin cat pic by Tran Mau Tri Tam on Unsplash
Choosing a cat responsibly
If you’re considering getting a cat there are plenty of cats and kittens available for adoption in shelters throughout the UK and they are all equally as cute, no matter how long their legs are or whether your favourite celebrity has one. You also need to remember that although they are less work than most dogs, cats still need lots of love and care. It goes without saying that you should never buy a pet on a whim or just because you are bored. Take your time to research different breeds and choose the pet that is right for you – not the one that will get the most likes on your Instagram profile.
Of course, these figures are just from one website. Are cats really becoming more popular than dogs? What’s your favourite? Maybe - like us - you have both and can’t decide! Let us know in the comments section below!
Main photo: Munchkin cat by Max Ogden on Unsplash