New YouGov research has shown 64 per cent of pet owning full-time students would rather stay at home with their pets than go out and meet new people.
The new university term is underway but many may not be so eager to live up to students' infamous reputation for hard partying. The research, commissioned by pet technology specialist Aquarium Software, shows a strong majority prefer dining in with the dog or cuddling up with the cat.
"This YouGov data is certainly a surprise to us," said Sales and Marketing Director at Aquarium Software, Mark Colonnese. "Students outperformed the national average by 7% on this question, illustrating that the pet parent is not confined to older demographics, reflecting an emerging trend for younger adults in the UK to own pets, too."
The research was commissioned to investigate the nation's attitudes to pets and pet insurance in general. According to Aquarium's YouGov research, only 38 percent of the estimated 20,000,000 pets in the UK are insured, leading Aquarium to advise even the most cash-strapped student to consider pet insurance.
"Students wondering if they can afford a pet must factor insurance into their thinking," said Colonnese. "Next generation software and technology is helping to lower the cost, and student deals are available from several providers, reflecting this growth in pet ownership among the undergraduate population. Rising vets bills and the cost of operations among other economic factors, is making pet insurance a must-have undergrad option."
The research comes 20 years after a 1996 study suggested animal companions could help reduce loneliness and feelings of isolation – suggesting pets do indeed offer significant benefits to groups of people like students living alone for the first time.
"A raft of further research over the intervening two decades has crystalised the view that animals are good for us. Students clearly agree", concluded Colonnese.