The population of New Zealand is now outnumbered by that of pets. With an estimated 4.6 million pets now in the country the 4.5 million people are now sightly outnumbered. The report comes at a time when the overall number of households with a pet is in a slight decline. Read on to find out more.
64% of New Zealand homes now have at least one pet making it the second most pet-friendly country in the world, 1% behind the United States. Cats appear to be the most popular pet with 44% of homes having at least one cat while dogs are in second place but far behind on only 28%. The study also included fish as a pet and found that while only 10% of households have a fish, they usually have many. The average home with a fish has 9 on average. So while there are 1.1 million pet cats in New Zealand there are 1.5 million pet fish. There are also around 700,000 dogs and 500,000 birds.
The study found that these pets are increasingly important members of a household. Often not seen as pets at all but as members of the family. Despite this, the number of households with a pet has dropped. In 2011 the number of households with a pet was 68% and has now fallen by 4%. While this could be taken as an indicator that kiwis no longer love pets as much, the underlying data suggests something else.
Pets are becoming increasingly expensive to look after and harder to get permission to have. It is estimated that almost $2 billion is spent on pets each year. Making it an expensive new family friend. In addition, at present in New Zealand house prices are growing at a faster rate than wages. Many young professionals can’t afford to buy a house and must rent. The rules on renting are increasingly strict and most rentals do not allow a property to have pets. In fact, 50% of those without pets in urban areas would love to have them, but can’t.