Lonely cat hoarders are more likely to be unmarried women

It's a character often stereotyped in literature, but a new study shows that 'cat ladies' are very much real.

Researchers looked at the psychological characteristics of people who collect animals, and found that they were most likely to be unmarried women.

The team hopes their findings will help to categorise a new type of mental illness, known as 'Animal Hoarding Disorder.'

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Researchers looked at the psychological characteristics of people who collect animals, and found that they were most likely to be unmarried women (stock image)

Researchers looked at the psychological characteristics of people who collect animals, and found that they were most likely to be unmarried women (stock image)

KEY FINDINGS 

Of the 33 people involved in the study, who between them owned 915 dogs, 382 cats and 50 ducks:

- 73 per cent were female

- 60 per cent were elderly

- The average age was 61.39

- The average period that people lived with animals was 23.09 years

- Most didn't have a partner and lived alone

Researchers from Pontificia Universidade Catolica do Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil analysed the psychological characteristics of so-called 'animal-hoarders.'

Their study involved 33 people identified through animal welfare officials, who

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