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Survey of NZ cat owners shows interesting findings

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

With more than 1.4 million cats in New Zealand, they are an important part of many New Zealand families. However, a recent national survey reveals the majority of us are perhaps unaware of the truth behind the curious lives of our cats.

To find out just how much we, as cat owners really, know about their pets, Royal Canin, the experts in precision nutrition for cats and dogs, conducted a nationwide survey asking owners to help shed light on the relationship they have with their cats. The survey uncovered some commonly held myths, as well as revealing interesting insights into the eating, sleeping and other daily habits of our feline companions.

Royal Canin Veterinary Technical Consultant Mark Edwards said that while New Zealanders really do care a lot for their cats, with almost half of owners thinking about their cats’ level of happiness on a weekly basis, there were some common misconceptions around cats, especially when it comes to what to feed them.

Some key survey findings included:

- 69% of New Zealand cat owners surveyed consider flavour to be the most important factor when buying food for cats

- 90% of cat owners don’t consider their cat’s lifestyle when selecting food

- 94% of Kiwi cat owners surveyed said breed isn’t an important factor when choosing a diet

Mark Edwards commented that it is not surprising that we go for flavour when thinking about food for our pets, but said that what our cats are really looking for in an ‘appealing’ meal is smell and texture.

"While cat owners’ hearts are in the right place, cats have less than 500 taste buds, as opposed to 10,000 in humans, so while the taste of food is important to humans, it’s just not the case for cats," Edwards said.

The survey results also revealed that 49% of New Zealand’s multiple cat owners fed their cats the same food because it’s easier, however, Edwards warned that this approach could be detrimental to the health of our pets.

"Pet food companies like ours have been producing tailor-made products for pets for decades, as it is a well-researched fact that the lifestyle, breed, age, neutering status and health of cats should determine what they are fed."

- 58% of New Zealand cat owners surveyed don’t measure the portion of food they serve their cat for each meal

- Over half of owners believe a cat tends to be overweight due to not being fed the right type of food

- 23% of cat owners surveyed said they make sure their cat gets exercise on a daily basis

When it comes to thinking about the behaviours of our cats, interestingly 76% of Kiwi cat owners think their cats spend most of their time eating. While some cats can sleep for 15-18 hours a day other cats have a natural tendency to be more social and spend a great deal of their time playing - and if they get the chance, socialising either with their owners or other cats.

Other insights uncovered in the survey around people’s perception of cat behaviour include:

- On a daily basis, 88% of Kiwi cat owners are most likely to pet their cats

- On average, New Zealand cat owners believe their cats are sleeping 14.51 hours in a typical 24-hour period

- Almost all owners think their cats spend the most time sleeping during the day

- On average, New Zealand cat owners believe their cats are snacking/nibbling 4.07 times a day

"Our cats are complex creatures, and are often considered the heart of the family home. We hope the results of this survey, and by looking into what our cats get up to on a daily basis when no one’s home, helps to shed light on the curious life of our cats so people can be sure they get the optional conditions for health, growth, development and contentment," Edwards said.

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