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These forty facts have sourced from the new publication called Companion Animals In New Zealand - July 2011'.

August 2011nzcac-canz2011.jpg
 Click the image above or click here to download the publication. (PDF - 1.61mb)

A survey published by the New Zealand Companion Animal Council Inc.

  • There are approximately five million companion animals in New Zealand, outnumbering humans
  • 68% of New Zealand households own a companion animal, a higher percentage than in any comparable country. 
  • 43% of New Zealanders think animal welfare and protection should  receive more attention
  • New Zealanders are the world’s greatest cat owners, with a total feline population of 1.419 million  
  • 28% of New Zealand households own one cat and a further 20% of households own two or more cats
  • New Zealand’s high level of cat ownership compares with 33% of households in the United States, 23% in Australia and just 19% in the United Kingdom 
  • New Zealand has a total canine population of approximately 700,000
  • 29% of New Zealand households own a dog.  This compares with 39% in the United States, 36% in Australia and 23% in the United Kingdom
  • Around 10% of New Zealand households own 1.678 million fish, making them New Zealand’s most populous companion animal species
  • Around 6% of New Zealand households own approximately five birds each
  • Apart from horses and ponies, the overwhelming majority of companion animals of all species belong to homes in urban areas
  • 53% of New Zealand European households own a cat, compared to 45% of Maori households and 30% of other households 
  • 33% of Maori households own a dog, compared to 29% of New Zealand European households and  25% of other households
  • Typically,  the female head of a household takes responsibility for pet food buying and feeding
  • 51% of cat owners, 53% of dog owners and 25% of bird owners cite companionship as their main reason  for acquiring an animal
  • 15% of cat owners, 12% of dog owners and 28% of rabbit owners cite ‘fun for the children’ as their main reason acquiring an animal   
  • Only 8% of dog owners cite security as a main reason for ownership, and only 4% cite encouragement to exercise  
  • 31% of cats are acquired from friends or neighbours and 27% from the SPCA or an animal shelter, whilst 19% are found as strays
  •  43% of dogs are acquired from breeders, 24% from friends or neighbours and 13% from the SPCA or other shelters
  • When asked what role companion animals play in their households, 83% of cat owners,  77% of dog owners and 53% of rabbit owners say they’re considered as members of the family 
  • New Zealanders spend $1,583.8 million a year on  their companion animals
  • $766 million is spent annually on food for pets, nearly 50% of all companion animal expenditure  
  • 45% of food eaten by cats and 29% eaten by dogs is ‘prepared’ (i.e. processed and  packaged specifically for animals)
  • Veterinary services account for $358 million or 23% of expenditure on companion animals.  Healthcare products account for $166 million or 10% of expenditure
  • Cats are cheaper to keep than dogs. 48% of all companion animal expenditure goes on dogs and only 43% on cats, even though the feline population is approximately twice the size of the canine
  • The average cat owning household spends $838 per year looking after its cats, with the average cost per cat being $466
  • Food makes up 59% of the cost of keeping a cat whilst veterinary services account for 23%
  • The average dog owning household spends $1,571 per year caring for its dogs , with the average cost per dog being $1,047
  • Food makes up 44% of the cost of keeping a dog whilst veterinary services account for 25%
  • The most expensive companion animals to keep are horses and ponies.  The average horse or pony owning household spends $2,865 each year on animal care 
  • Despite difficult economic times, $235.7 million was spent on prepared cat food during 2010, a 0.6% in crease on 2009. ‘Wet’ prepared cat food accounted for 63% of the 2010 figure
  • Recession and its aftermath have slowed but not stemmed rising demand for premium cat food.  This  accounts for  40% of cat food expenditure or 6% more than in 2005
  • In the same period, ‘premium’ cat foods achieved 14% of the market in terms of volume, a 3% increase on the 2005 figure
  • $166.1 million dollars was spent on dog food during 2010, a 3.7 % increase on the previous year
  • Dry dog food sales have increased by 46% since 2005, whilst wet dog food sales have only increased by 6%
  • 86% of New Zealand’s cats have been desexed compared to only 63% of dogs. Desexing rates for both species  are higher in urban areas 
  • A single unspayed female cat and her unspayed female kittens are considered capable of producing 3,200 additional kittens in one year
  • 48% of New Zealand’s dogs and 12% of cats have been microchipped
  • 39% of dog owners spent $34 million on animal grooming over the last 12 months, compared to just 13% of cat owners, who spent $8.1 million
  • 5% of cat owners, 8% of dog owners and 13% of horse or pony owners have insurance cover for their companion animals.


The New Zealand Companion Animal Council Inc.
C/- SPCA Auckland Inc., PO Box 43221, Mangere, Manukau 2153, New Zealand
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NZ Companion Animal Council proudly sponsored by:
  Pet-N-Sur   Auckland SPCA 
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