Research by Sainsbury's Bank Pet Insurance suggests that up to 61,000 cats and dogs could suffer from 'Master Separation Syndrome' - mental and emotional trauma induced by their owners' separation or divorce.
The survey highlights the expense of caring for a pet, and exposes considerable support for a change in the law making it compulsory for people to pay maintenance for their pets' upkeep if they split from their current partner.
With it costing around £981 a year to look after a dog and £476 for a cat according to Sainsbury's Bank, it is perhaps not surprising that some 9.1 million people - 20 per cent of the British population - think that separated partners should both have to contribute to their pets' upkeep.
The bank recommends taking out pet insurance to cover every eventuality.
"One of the biggest costs of owning a pet can be vet fees, which are estimated to be rising by ten per cent a year," states David Pickett, pet insurance manager at Sainsbury's Bank.
"One of the best ways to avoid large bills for your cat or dog and also ensure that they receive the necessary veterinary treatment, should they need it, is to take out pet insurance."
The bank claims that around 967,000 people have paid maintenance for their pets when they separated and, earlier this year, an Italian court ordered a man to pay maintenance to his divorced wife for their pet dog.To find out about pet insurance, click here.
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