Gen Z adults buy cats and dogs in place of traditional milestones

Marriage and kids? No, Gen Z want ‘fur babies’ (that’s pets, by the way)… Adults in their twenties buy cats and dogs as traditional milestones become increasingly unaffordable

  • Adults born from 1997 to 2012 are getting pets earlier than previous generations

These days, adults in their twenties don’t seem half as keen as previous generations to get married, become parents and settle down.

But it seems the one thing they are willing to commit to is ‘fur babies’ – that’s cats and dogs to the rest of us.

The boss of a leading pet care company says adults in the Gen Z group, comprising those born from 1997 to 2012, are also buying pets in place of homes.

This could be because animals are relatively cheap compared with the increasingly unaffordable traditional milestones. 

Lyssa McGowan, chief executive of Pets At Home, said: ‘Gen Z are getting pets earlier than previous generations, maybe as they are delaying child rearing, marriage or getting their own flat.

Adults in their twenties are more willing to commit to ‘fur babies’ – that’s cats and dogs to the rest of us – than buying a house

Lyssa McGowan, chief executive of Pets At Home, said Gen Z are getting pets earlier than previous generations 

‘They are taking all that time and energy and attention and putting it into fur babies, especially in urban areas.’

She even suggested that owning a dog ‘gives you more pleasure’ than getting hitched or having a baby anyway.

Lockdown and increased working-from-home caused a ‘huge boom’ in pet ownership, according to Pets At Home. It says the pet population has increased by 10 per cent since Covid hit.

‘But it is not just a Covid boom,’ Ms McGowan added. ‘It hasn’t gone away. We’re still seeing high numbers of puppies and kittens and [lots of] owners have taken on second pets.’

She said: ‘The reasons for that are largely related to working from home, you can reliably be at home to let the dog out at lunchtime.’

One in five 16 to 24-year-olds have acquired a pet since the start of the pandemic, according to trade body UK Pet Food.

The figure is nearly the same for 25 to 34-year-olds. But marriage rates have slipped in recent decades, with the 2021 census showing the biggest drop came from those aged 25 and 35.

Britons are also investing more in outfits for their pets.

Ms McGowan said she was considering buying her own dog a ‘Doggy Parton’ denim jacket from Dolly Parton’s pet clothing range.

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