Ireland Is For Dogs

by Mary Haight on October 2, 2009

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Ireland is for dogs,a unique attitude in all of Europe. Cats? Well, let’s say that any national poll, the likes of which is taking place now in the US as to “who’s on first” cats or dogs, would be seen as a little daft. 

According to the University of Dublin (UCD), 36% of homes have a dog, where only one in 10 has a cat. Put those numbers in front of the US 37% for dogs and 32% for cats, and Britain at 22% for dogs, 18%for cats, you can see that the difference is noteworthy. The history of the country tells the story, according to the research.

Farming and rural life was the way life for the Irish, lending plenty of space for galumphing dogs. Dogs are considered pets, while cats are, for the most part, seen as strays. (Poor kitties!)

Tony Forshaw of the Siamese and All Breeds Cat Club of Ireland told the Times that there isn’t a history of owning cats in Ireland, compared with the U.S. or Britain, and that “Irish people tend to laugh at cats.” (Well, that’s just rude! I’m now certain many cats stowed away on ships to anywhere else, refugees from humiliation.)

The rationale voiced by a Mars(pet food company) spokesperson is that cats are usually found in small city apartments which are more common on the Continent. Interesting to look at the effect of habit over time, feeling that cats are not perfectly suited to farm life and dogs could never make a happy life in city apartments. (We’d have tens of millions more homeless dogs and cats “euthanized” if that were true.)

UCD Veterinary Science Center told the Times “Older women are more likely to own cats than anyone else. It’s probably for companionship and it’s a lot easier to manage a cat because you don’t have to walk it every day.” There you have it, with authority, that the cat lady stereotype lives on in Ireland. 

 Read the Kenneth Haynes article at Irish Central.


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  1. […] are in, and left cats stalking off, tails up, tips thrashing, thinking less of humans than ever.  Ireland, the UK and the US all agree: dogs […]

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