It's goodbye Fido - thanks to popular baby names

Article date: 17 February 2004

Britain’s 20 and 30-somethings are increasingly puttingoff having children and turning their beloved pets into surrogatekids.

New statistics from Norwich Union reveal that our prized poochesand moggies are becoming substitute children – with manybeing given the latest trendy baby names.

Gone are the days of Rover or Fido – and instead 13 of the20 most popular dog’s names also feature in the top 20 of thelatest baby names list*, including Jack, Sam, Charlie and Meg.

As for cats, 15 of the top 20 most popular feline names are alsoin the nation’s top 20 favourite baby names – withChloe, Oliver, Alfie and Thomas topping the list.

The findings also show that we are naming ourselves. We are‘mummy’ and ‘daddy’ to our furry‘babies’. Furthermore, we proudly tell friends aboutour pet’s latest achievements and make sure we leave thelights and television on to keep them company when we’reout.

Isabel Baumber, niche development manager for Norwich Union,said: "While the UK’s birth rate has been falling over thepast decade, nearly half the population now owns a pet – andthe cat population has significantly risen since 1994 overtakingdogs as the number one choice of companion. This is partly down tochanging lifestyles - more one-person households and a greaterfocus on career."

Households across the UK are spending around £3.5 billion a yearcosseting their cats and dogs** - showering them withbrightly-coloured gifts and holding birthday parties in theirhonour. Norwich Union’s research reveals that one in ten petsget Christmas and birthday presents - gifts include doggie perfume,embroidered cushions, designer collars and christening gowns.

Even the treatments we expect from our vets are changing.Instead of worming tablets and flea collars, we want alternativetherapies such as homeopathy and osteopathy available to ourpets.

Norwich Union have tailored their ‘Cats and Dogs’product to cover not only vet’s fees and advertising/rewardsshould a pet goes missing, but also alternative treatmentsincluding aromatherapy, acupuncture and behaviouralcounselling.***

Isabel Baumber added; "Pets offer an alternative nurturingexperience. When you consider the combination of changing attitudestowards work and the joy that pets can bring, it doesn’t seemunusual that we want to give our pets our favourite names, allowthem to cuddle up to us in bed and place their pictures proudly onour mantelpiece."

For a free quote or to take out a policy call Norwich UnionDirect on 0800 056 2173 or visit the website at:

Norwich Union’s top 20 petnames

Top 20 Dog Names Top 20 Cat Names
Meg (Megan)10Simba
Lucy12Billy (William)

Media contacts:
Charlotte Ruddlesdin orCharlotte Speedy at QBO Bell Pottinger on 020 7861 2424 LucyHaughey at Norwich Union Press Office on 01603 684 916

* Top 20 Baby Names 2003 supplied by ONS

** Figures from Mintel Pet Insurance Report 2001-2002

*** Alternative therapies only available when recommended andprovided by a vet practice or under their instruction by a memberof an approved association

Notes to editors:

  • Norwich Union is the UK's largest insurer with a market shareof around 14 per cent.
  • With a focus on insurance for individuals and smallbusinesses, Norwich Union insures:
    • one in five households
    • one in seven motor vehicles
    • more than 800,000 businesses
  • Norwich Union products are available through a variety ofdistribution channels including brokers, corporate partners suchas banks and building societies and Norwich Union Direct.
  • Norwich Union's news releases and a selection of images areavailable on the Aviva internet press centre
  • An ISDN facility is available for studio qualitybroadcast.
  • Call the press office on 08703 66 68 68
  • For all life & pensions media enquiries call 08703 66 6873
  • For all other media enquiries call 08703 66 68 68

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