Couples in Britain are making plans to start a family by taking a new cat or dog into their homes, not a baby, according to a new survey. The preference for a pet instead of a child indicates a desire to save money during a tough economic climate, said the company behind the survey.
Petplan, a U.K.-based pet insurance provider, conducted the survey, which found that nearly 60 percent of people said they would put off starting a family during the current economic downturn. However, 25 percent would invest in a pet instead.
The decision to put family life on hold in favor of looking after a four-legged friend was equally divided between men and women.
The 10 most popular child “substitutes,” according to the survey are:
- Guinea Pig
A total of 3,000 pet owners responded to the survey. “It seems that pets of all shapes and sizes are now being considered a perfectly sensible alternative to starting a family for cash-strapped couples,” a Petplan spokesperson said in a statement. “We know that many owners develop very strong emotional ties to their pets that are often treated as part of the family. But we do urge all would-be pet owners to understand that pet ownership does come with responsibilities, just like parenthood.”