|Once the preserve of the very wealthy, pets are now part of life in all levels of society in most countries. Australia has the highest incidence of pet ownership in the world. Of all the animals that can be kept as pets, dogs and cats are the most popular: 40 per cent of households own a dog, 26 per cent own a cat.|
Household animals in the past were kept
primarily because they were useful. Dogs were kept to guard or hunt, cats to keep mice away. Over time, cats and dogs became "part of the family" valued for their companionship, not simply for their usefulness.
Although pets can be status symbols, most people simply enjoy a pet