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Cats Now Number One Pet Choice For Urban Singleton [12/08/2004]

New research reveals that one in three women are choosing to share their home with a cat rather than a partner.

With more young women than ever now choosing a single life and working hard at their career, the cat is seen as a lower maintenance choice of pet, providing excellent companionship with comparative ease of care. The 'Bridget Jones' figure may be set to abandon her search for the perfect man and choose to come home to a feline welcome instead.

Julie Owens, Head of Pet Insurance at Churchill, said: "With 3.3 million women now living alone in the UK and four out of five choosing to live in towns and cities, it's easy to see why the cat is an increasingly popular choice of pet. Cats are generally seen as more independent animals, while their canine counterparts need regular walks and are not suitable to be left alone during the daytime. At the same time, cats can be very affectionate, and many women turn to their cat for comfort during difficult times or simply enjoy relaxing with their favourite pet."

These female urban singletons are happy to spend 1.16 billion a year of their hard earned cash on their pet cats, according to Churchill's figures. Julie Owens added: "A cat is by no means a cheap option for would-be pet owners. Proper feeding, accessories such as scratching posts and bedding, vets fees, holiday care and insurance can add up to a lifetime bill of over 13,000. However, in our experience, cat-lovers feel that this is a small price to pay to care for a pet that provides such companionship and affection."

However, while the cat is surging ahead in the South and London, the dog remains top pet in the North. More than one in three Southerners has a cat, compared to only one in five Northerners. Churchill believes that this is consistent with lifestyles in London and the South with people much more likely to live alone in flats or apartments, and spending longer commuting to and from work.

Cost of a Cat (based on average life expectancy 13 years)

Item Cost per year
Food 210.60
Accessories 417
Essential vet costs 92
Cattery (2 weeks) 161
Pet minders (long w/e) 48
Grooming (quarterly) 60
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