Survey shows UK a nation of cat lovers (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
Paws for thought
Dogs may well be known nationwide as man’s best friend but Plymouth has been crowned the feline-loving capital of the UK.
New research reveals the top ten cat loving zones were made up entirely of English cities, many, south of Birmingham, which shows felines may be shedding their title as ‘underdogs’ and clawing back power south of the border.
A further blow for man’s best friend, cats even scored highly in Southampton and Birmingham, cities where dogs play key roles in the identities of the local football clubs, as both ‘Saints’ and Birmingham City have ‘dog’ mascots.
The historic naval city of Plymouth has pipped the genteel south coast seaside town of Brighton by a whisker to claim the title of ‘cat capital’ of Britain, it has emerged.
Researchers who carried out a detailed study found two thirds (66.1 per cent) of people who live in Plymouth are self-confessed cat lovers.
Historical cat lovers
Legend has it Sir Francis Drake, who famously contemplated the threatened Spanish invasion while playing bowls on Plymouth Hoe in 1588, once rescued a cat from the sea and adopted it.
Plymouth just beat Brighton, which is well known for its vibrant LGBTQ community, to make top spot, with Nottingham third and Sheffield fourth.
Southampton, another southern coastal port, completed the top five, according to the study commissioned by natural sustainable cat litter firm, Natusan.
Rachel Andre, CEO for Natusan, said: “It’s sad to hear the nation’s cats have had a raw deal during lockdown, especially as we know there are a strong contingent of responsible cat lovers and pet parents around the country who go the extra mile in putting their felines first.”
Leading British pet behaviourist Professor Peter Neville added: “Our feline friends can often come up against a bit of stick for being aloof and free-spirited, so it’s important to shine a light on their compassionate nature.
“Cats have the perfect design. They are the Porsches of the animal world. Beautiful and fabulously efficient in design – they are capable of unleashing immense speed and power in an instant.”
The trend towards felines emerged from a study of 2000 UK Britons, which also revealed cats have finally won the hearts of the male population, with many men following in the footsteps of celebrities such as Russell Brand and Ed Sheeran, by having a cat.
While that domain used to belong firmly to dogs, cats are clawing their way back with as many men (17 per cent) as women (17 per cent) now considering themselves ‘cat lovers’.
The research was released days after figures published by the Association of Dogs and Cats Homes revealed felines were twice as likely to have been abandoned by their owners during lockdown.
Top cat lovers
The top 15 cities in the UK where the most cat lovers live are revealed as: 1. Plymouth – 66.1 per cent; 2. Brighton – 66 per cent; 3. Nottingham – 63 per cent; 4. Sheffield – 61 per cent; 5. Southampton – 59 per cent; 6. London – 58 per cent; 7. Norwich – 58 per cent; 8. Manchester – 57 per cent; 9. Bristol – 55 per cent; 10. Birmingham – 55 per cent; 11. Liverpool – 53 per cent; 12. Edinburgh – 53 per cent; 13. Glasgow – 51 per cent; 14. Leeds – 49 per cent; 15. Newcastle – 49 per cent.
Overall, one in six (17 per cent), of those who took part said they were cat lovers, compared to one in three (33 per cent) who claimed to be dog lovers.
Another one in three (31 per cent) said they loved both cats and dogs equally, while 17 per cent said they loved neither cat nor canine.
Top cats at a glance
Map showing cat lovers around the UK