Keeping pets is a popular pursuit all over the world and although different nations have different attitudes about pets, in the end, we all favor one kind of pet over all others. Here are the four most popular pets worldwide.
Dogs and Cats
The most popular pets worldwide are dogs and cats, however there is some confusion about which are the most popular. While it used to be thought that there were many more cats than dogs, in fact pet dogs outnumber pet cats by a factor of two. A report published by the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) estimates that there are 432 million pet dogs and 272 million pet cats.
People keep pets for a variety of reasons, and this varies from country to country, but overall 49% of pets are kept for companionship; 43% for guard; 5% for hunting; 2% for religious reasons, and 1% for herding. It is also interesting to look at how this varies across various continents. In Europe the order of importance for keeping pets is companionship, guarding, hunting, and working (mainly herding) while in Africa it is guarding, hunting, herding, companionship. People love their pets so much that they even find companies that offer cat and dog insurance.
Birds are the third most popular pets and again there are a number of reasons why we keep them. One of these is that compared to cats and dogs they make inexpensive pets. All they need is a little food and water.
Although we think of dogs as intelligent, so too are birds; they have much more intelligence than they are usually credited with. They are even clever enough to use tools, which is more than dogs can do. They don’t need walking, house training or even a litter box; cleaning out a bird cage is very simple. We keep them because of their beauty and companionship, and interestingly enough, birds are also sometimes used for guard duty, which can include warning of intruders and chasing them away.
In terms of the numbers that are kept as pets fish far outnumber all other kids of pets, but the reason is that people who keep fish tend to keep large numbers of them.
Keeping fish has been popular for hundreds if not thousands of years. Originally kept for food, in Japan it was traditional to keep brightly coloured koi and goldfish as pets as far back as 2,000 years ago. In Ancient Samaria fish were kept in ponds for aesthetic reasons, and in Ancient Egypt they were kept in temples. In Europe carp were kept both for aesthetic reasons and for food.
There is something particularly calming about watching fish swim in an aquarium tank or in an outdoor pool, and keeping fish can be inexpensive, but fish can also make expensive pets. For instance some koi can cost many thousands of pounds for a single specimen.
No matter what species of pet you prefer, keep it safe, healthy and loved.