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Pet Food News
on June 17, 2014

Royal Canin conducts New Zealand survey of cat owners

Survey finds common misconceptions, high level of care for pets

Royal Canin conducted a New Zealand-wide survey asking cat owners to help shed light on the relationship they have with their pets. The survey uncovered some commonly held myths, as well as revealing insights into the eating, sleeping and other daily habits of pet cats, according to the company.

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 flavor 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 cat owners surveyed said breed isn’t an important factor when choosing a diet

"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," said Edwards. 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 said that this approach could be detrimental to the health of 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," he said.

  • 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 behaviors of pet cats, 76% of New Zealand's 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, socializing either with their owners or other cats. Other insights uncovered in the survey around people’s perception of cat behavior include:

  • On a daily basis, 88% of 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," said Edwards. "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."

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