OK it’s survey time again.
This time the question was ‘How many cats and dogs are there in the UK?’
Shouldn’t be too difficult to figure out, I hear you say.
1. Ask the vets. But plenty of pets never get to see a vet, so they don’t know.
2. Ask the pet food manufacturers. They know how much pet food gets bought so they should know, but it turns out they aren’t sure how much of it is actually eaten by pets (and presumably, therefore, how much gets eaten by….?). And anyway they’re not sure what proportion of pets eat commercial pet food, so they can’t figure it out either, although recent figures they published (2008) suggested 7.2 million cats and 7.3 million dogs.
Option #3: get sponsorship and ring some people up to ask them. All you have to do is randomly select numbers from the Electoral Roll, 13,795 of them to be precise, then do something to the stats so that you can get it published in a reputable journal (the Veterinary Record, no less). I can then ask stuff like:
“But what is the power of this study?”
And the lunatic who has just finished calling up 13,795 people and crunched the numbers will be able to reply:
“Well, son, the study had 80 per cent power to detect odds ratios (ORs) of 1.5 or greater, based on a 0.05 probability of a type 1 error (95 per cent confidence) and assuming that 10 per cent of controls were exposed to risk factors (Epi-Info 6; CDC).”
I kid you not. And someone, somewhere will one day be grateful that I have the patience or lack of any meaningful life whatsoever to read it for you.
Anyway, the answer to the question is:
10,332,955 cats and 10,522,186 dogs.
Approximately, that is. Curiously, they also found that people with university degrees are more likely to own a cat than a dog.
No explanation there, but you always read it first at Vetscriptions….