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26% of Australian households own a cat

Owning a cat is a responsibility that requires you to give understanding, affection, shelter and food and in return you will receive loving companionship but research has also shown that owning a pet can have measurable health benefits. Overseas research has shown pet owners suffer less minor health problems such as headaches, backaches, colds and flu, insomnia and general tiredness than non pet owners.
In a study at the Baker Research Institute in Melbourne researchers found that pet owners had a lower risk of heart attack, lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure and lower tryglicerides in their blood than non pet owners.
Once we were told that cats were extremely bad for our environment and particularly bad for those suffering from asthma. It appears now as if the domestic moggy may be undergoing a degree of rehabilitation.
Roughly about one-quarter of all Australian households own a cat, whereas about 40 percent have a dog - which gives you some idea of the relative priorities of pet owners. Overall there are probably about two million cats and three million dogs in Australia and probably a great many more if you count those that have gone feral.

Pet Industry

As far as the pet care industry is concerned, cats are a critical component of their industry - one of Australia’s largest enterprises - employing more than 37,000 people and contributing over $3.3 billion annually to the economy. Of this about $1.7 billion is spent on pet food and a little over $1.1 billion on veterinary and other care and health services.

Environmental Impact

Much has been made of the environmental impact and the killing of native wildlife in Australia. The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service estimates on average a domestic cat can kill about 30 native animals a year.
In contrast Animals Australia argues that there is no real evidence that cats threaten the delicate balance of Australia’s ecosystem. A feral cat’s preferred diet consists mainly of rats, mice and rabbits and they rarely prey on native species, particularly birds.

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