As someone who openly acknowledges my animals are child substitutes, it’s interesting to find out that I’m not alone!
Here in Italy, recent research carried out by AstraRicherche for leading Italian petfood company AgrasDelic has shown that a growing number of Italians consider their cat or dog not just a pet but more like a member of the family.
Sixty eight percent of Italians say they know someone who thinks their four-legged friend is as important as their child or even more so.
President of the petfood company Enrico Finzi says: ‘companion animals have a far greater level of interaction and emotional involvement in people’s daily lives than in the past… The animal gives the human affection and psychological support. It’s a relationship that many people these days grow to rely on and would find it hard to do without.’
There is also growing interest in the health and well-being of Italian cats and dogs, according to the research.
Forty eight percent of owners demand the same high standards of their pet’s food as they do of their own. ‘It’s a basic sign of affection. People want their cat or dog to experience the same happiness and satisfaction as they do from eating good food,’ explains Finzi. ‘At the same time the product must not harm the animal’s health but instead help maintain its psychological and physiological wellbeing.’
Clearly there’s a long way to go until all dogs and cats in Italy are treated with the love and respect they deserve. There are still too many in council pounds or treated badly and abandoned, as I know from all the people who contact me every year via this site having found a starving maltreated animal that no-one seems to be bothered about.
This research demonstrates an increasing level of affection, sensitivity and care towards pet animals in Italy and is a hugely positive sign. The more people who lead by example the better.