Need a low Maintenance Companion?
Dogs are still much more popular than cats in Ireland, accounting for around 70% of the pet population, whereas cats only make up around 30%. This contrasts with the UK, where cats and dogs vie neck on neck for number one position. But Ireland is following the UK in the trend towards cats and away from dogs. There are a number of reasons why cats are becoming more popular.
A Dog Needs Environmental Stimulation
Dogs can be fairly demanding individuals. They like to have the constant companionship of humans, and it is not good enough just to be there beside them – dogs need to be walked. I heard a behavioural specialist recently explaining that one of the most common reasons for bad behaviour in dogs was lack of exercise.
She believes that dogs should be walked for a minimum of 25 minutes, three times a day. How many people can genuinely say that they do this for their canine friends? It is no surprise that under-exercised dogs start to dig holes in the garden, bark incessantly, or even become aggressive. It is not good enough just to say that the dog has a big garden to roam around – a dog needs the environmental stimulation of being taken to new areas with the owner.
An increasing number of potential dog owners are realising that owning a dog is a major commitment, requiring a very significant time input.
The Irish Attitude Towards Cats
On reflection, many are deciding that a dog is not for them, after all.
So what about cats? The cat has a lowly place in traditional Irish society. The typical Irish farm used to have a scattering of cats in the yard, but they were viewed as pest controllers rather than pets.
The yard cats were not allowed into the house, and although they may have been petted, they were not seen as part of the family in the same way as the beloved dog. I still know many people who feel that it is wrong for a cat to be in the house – they find it somehow offensive as if the cat is “dirty”.
But this attitude is changing rapidly. The new generation of urban-dwelling Irish people can see the advantages of the cat as a pet. Cats do not need much space, and can comfortably adapt to apartment-life. They do not need to be walked, and owner-pet interaction can be accomplished with low-energy input on a sofa in front of the television.
Cats often have larger-than-life personalities, and they can become close friends in the same way as dogs.
SABCCI Cat Breeders
Most pet cats are just moggies – cross-bred animals technically known as “domestic short-haired” cats. But pedigree cats are increasingly popular, and it is here that the trend towards cats is most obvious. Many people may only be aware of the long-standing breeds of cats, such as Siamese and Persian. But there are now around forty different breeds, each with their own specific individual characteristics.
If you want to have a cat whose final temperament and appearance are more predictable than a moggie, then it can make sense to choose a pedigree kitten. I recently attended the annual cat show of the Siamese and All Breeds Cat Club of Ireland in Dublin. If you search for “SABCCI” on the internet you will find the website of this well-organised group of pedigree cat enthusiasts.
The SABCCI cat breeders are dedicated and passionate about cat breeding. Their kittens are likely to have a high quality that is not always available in the wider market. Are you ready to join the trend towards cats and away from dogs?
- Cats can be easier pets that fit in better with our busy lifestyles
- Cats are independent creatures who still make good companionship
- Pedigree kittens offer a more predictable adult cat than moggie kittens