It’s raining cats and dogs no more according to new research.
Australia’s passion for pet ownership is slipping, according to new research that shows the population of four-legged friends is in steep decline.
In the 12 months to December 2014, cat numbers nationwide fell by 200,000 and dog numbers by 100,000, research commissioned by a pet care company and released on Monday shows.
Despite the published benefits of pet ownership, including fitness for dog owners and greater self-esteem, it seems social issues are standing in the way of Australians adopting a canine or feline family member.
“This new data is an early warning that pet populations will decline further unless we address some of the factors affecting the pet ownership decision – for example, with more people renting we should look at encouraging more pet-friendly properties,” researcher Tim McCallum said.
“There is still time to turn this situation around, but we can’t take pet ownership in Australia for granted or lose sight of the enormous value pets bring to our lives.”
Tasmania was the aberration among the findings, where both cat and dog ownership showed a small increase during 2014.
South Australia and Western Australia both showed an increase in dog ownership.
New South Wales boasts the highest populations of cats and dogs, with 642,000 and 1,304,000 respectively.
Like Australia’s human population, Mr McCallum said the nation’s pet population is ageing.
CHANGES IN AUSTRALIAN CAT AND DOG POPULATIONS (2014)
STATE DOG CAT
NSW -1.2% -7.9%
VIC -11.1% -14.2%
QLD -4.3% -11.6%
SA 9.6% -5.1%
WA 6.4% -15.8%
TAS 4.0% 3.0%
TOTAL -2.9% -11.0%
SOURCE: Mars Petcare Australia