Unlike most other nations, Russians own more cats than dogs, 33.7 million against 18.9 million, a reflection, at least in part, Koshkina says, of the country’s growing urbanization and the fact that it is far easier to keep a cat in a city apartment than it is to maintain a dog there. Cats don’t have to be walked, and 37 percent of Russian cats never leave their apartments.
Urbanization also explains another trend: Russians are selecting smaller dogs than they used to have. But the biggest change the MarsPetcare study found is that “Russians are changing their attitudes toward pets,” viewing them less in rational terms than in emotional ones and considering them members of the family.
Russians are spending more on pet food than they used to as well, with 45 percent of cats, but only 15 percent of dogs, living primarily on store-bought food. And the study says ever more Russians are willing to adopt cats and dogs they find in the streets, although Koshkina reports that pounds dispute that.
Yet another trend the journalist notes is that Russians are far more willing to take in cats without regard to their breed; but when it comes to dogs, ever fewer of them wants mongrels, preferring instead purebreds. That makes placing mixed breed dogs, who form a large share of those in pounds, often very difficult.