Research Shows Pet Feeding Habits Change

10 April 2013
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Category: News
10 April 2013, Comments: 0

In this day and age of canine confectionery and carob cat treats, what we feed our furry four-legged friends has taken on a whole new dimension. And as the latest data from Roy Morgan reveals, pets can be as fussy about what they eat as humans.

In our food-obsessed society, where celebrity chefs reign supreme on prime-time TV and cookbooks are the new gospel, it’s only natural that we’d want to share our culinary passions with our nearest and dearest — including Fido and Fluffy. Indeed, as the latest findings from Roy Morgan Research reveal, Australian pets can be as fussy about what they eat as humans.

So which animal is fussier come mealtime – cats or dogs? To ascertain this, we compared how people who owned cats only (no dogs) and those who owned only dogs (no cats) responded to the statement, “My pet is a fussy eater.”

Animal crackers

While dog-owners outnumber cat-owners (27.2% of Australians aged 14+, as opposed to 12.1%), the cat-owners recorded a much higher incidence of fussy pets: 52.1% of them agreed with the statement, as opposed to 23.4% of dog-owners.

Number of cats owned doesn’t affect this trend: 53.7% of people with one cat reported their pet was a fussy eater, as did 56.1% of those with four or more felines.

Pet favourites

Compared to the average cat owner, owners of fussy felines are 40% likelier to feed their cats ‘pet food rolls’ or sausage packs, and 13% more likely to feed them fresh meat or fish, but less likely to feed them table scraps.

Owners of picky pooches, meanwhile, are 29% more likely than the average dog owner to feed their dogs fresh meat or fish, and 12% likelier to feed them canned food. They are also 35% likelier to feed them ‘other’ foods – which, given the current pet food market, could mean anything from canine confectionery to sweet potato jerky.

Like pet, like owner?

Incidentally, while cats are fussier eaters than dogs, owners of fussy-eating dogs are likelier to be more discerning when it comes to their own eating habits. Compared to the average dog owner, they’re 55% likelier to avoid dairy foods, 55% likelier to be vegetarian and 24% more likely to buy organic food. They’re also 36% likelier to have no time for breakfast in the morning — probably because they’re too busy walking Fido…

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), January 2012-December 2012 (n = 8,199).

Norman Morris, Industry Communications Director, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“The popular image of cats having servants rather than owners has been supported by our recent findings. A much higher proportion of cat owners reported their pet being a fussy eater than dog owners.

“With society’s current fixation on gourmet food that’s good for you, it makes sense that the cat and dog food market has expanded to incorporate products that would have been unimaginable even 10 years ago: organic, free-range, vegetarian, even canine cupcakes!

“Savvy brands realise that owners of these pampered pets are seeking alternatives to the usual products and are willing to spend more if they think the animal will benefit.”

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