Church-goers are less likely to own a cat than atheists – partly because some of the latter see cats as a “god substitute”, according to research.

Owning a pet is said to replicate some of the benefits of joining a faith community, and while cats are “pretty low-maintenance, we end up serving them a lot”, an American academic has pointed out.
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A study of more than 2,000 people in the United States found that those who never set foot in a place of worship own two pets on average, while faithful worshippers have 1.4.