Insight of the Week: The Truth About Cats and Dogs
Dogs are by some distance the most popular pet in the Republic of Ireland, according to latest data from Kantar Media’s TGI study of consumer behaviour. 40% of adults (around 1.5 million people) have at least one dog at home. Cats are very much second in popularity, with 19% of adults owning a cat and 8% keeping fish. Of course, there is also a lot of cross-over in pet ownership. 28% of dog owners have a cat (or cats), whilst 59% of cat owners have a dog (or dogs).
The proportion of adults who own at least one dog is far higher than in Great Britain (25%) and higher than in Northern Ireland (35%).
There are some significant demographic biases in the Republic of Ireland amongst the owners of different pets. Cat owners are 21% more likely to be in the ‘Secondary School Parents’ TGI Lifestage group (live with son/daughter and youngest child aged 10-15). Whilst dog owners are 39% more likely to be ‘Fledglings’ (aged 15-34, not married/living as a couple, do not live with son or daughter, live with parents) and fish owners are 157% more likely to be Primary School Parents (live with son/daughter and youngest child aged 5-9).
It is instructive to note that those with younger children tend towards pets that require less maintenance, whilst the more grown up are most likely to have a dog.
When it comes to lifestyle, much of the most discriminatory views of these pet owners relate to their love of animals. For example, cat owners are particularly likely to be vegetarian. They are 50% more likely than the average adult to avoid meat, whilst dog owners are less likely than the average adult to be vegetarian. Cat owners are also particularly likely to be advocates of natural options more broadly. For example, they are 23% more likely to believe it is worth paying extra for organic food, 22% more likely to say they buy fair trade products when available and also 22% more likely to trust homeopathic medicine.
Dog owners are a big enough group that they show few differences to the average adult in their attitudes. However, by refining the target to those who have two or more dogs, we find they are almost a third more likely to assert that they would never buy toiletries and cosmetics that have been tested on animals. Like their cat owning counterparts, they are also significantly more likely than the average adult to trust homeopathy. A new canine-relevant brand might well engage these dog owners, as they are 20% more likely to say that when they see a new brand they often buy it to see what it’s like.
Both cat and dog owners are particularly likely to engage with certain specific forms of media. TGI data reveals that those with two or more dogs are 24% more likely to say they prefer local radio because of its local news, whilst cat owners are a third more likely to say they tend to buy products from companies that sponsor exhibitions or music events.