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Kids Prefer Pet Rats to Dogs and Cats, Survey Suggests

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Study also reveals interesting differences between cat and dog people.

SANTA BARBARA, CA — Children between ages 10 and 17 say they get more satisfaction owning pet rats than cats or dogs, according to a new study.

The research comes from RightPet, an online source of information and expert advice on pet health, wellness and behavioral concerns. The company surveyed nearly 17,000 pet owners across 113 countries, who shared detailed reviews of the specific breeds and species of animals they currently own, previously owned or have worked with.

Key findings:

  • Children and teens enjoy owning rats more than any other pet. Adults who previously owned, and children who own or have owned, animals between the ages of 10 and 17 years old rated satisfaction with pet rats higher than any other type of pet, including dogs and cats.
  • Women vs. men on the “dogs vs. cats” debate. Women like cats more than dogs. In contrast, men like cats and dogs the same.
  • Dog owners are generally happier with large dogs. Women and men are both more satisfied with larger dog breeds than small breeds. This is especially true for men, who are happiest with large and giant dog breeds.
  • The least satisfying pets to own are geese and scorpions. That’s based on 32 types of pet and livestock animals included in the survey.

The survey also included a personality quiz that measured participants’ traits using the Big Five (or Five-Factor) model of personality dimensions.

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“Today’s data-loving pet owners and future pet parents can use RightPet to find what pet best matches their experience, lifestyle, preferences and personality,” said Brett Hodges, founder of RightPet. “More importantly, we use RightPet’s growing data to help pet owners make evidence-based health, behavior and wellness choices for their new best friend each step of the way as they grow together.”

Take the RightPet Match quiz at www.rightpet.com/match-me to determine which pet or animal is the best match for your personality, lifestyle and preferences.

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