JiffPom tops list of cutest social media stars

Whizz: JiffPom first became a star when he set a record for the fastest run on hind legs. © @jiffpom

This cuddly creature is the most popular animal on Instagram in Britain. We human love our furry friends to bits. But some people say we should give more attention to humans in need.

What’s happening

According to figures just released, JiffPom the Pomeranian dog has 9.8 million followers on Instagram.

And there are plenty of other animals who have become social media stars, from Nala the cat (3.5 million followers) to Jill the squirrel (700,000).

Find out more

It is a modern way of measuring a very old obsession: people’s love of animals.

The earliest trace of keeping a pet dates from around 10,000 BC, at a grave found in what is now Israel, containing the remains of a puppy cradled in a human’s hand.

The Ancient Egyptians considered cats to be sacred and did paintings of them.

In England in 1666, Samuel Pepys wrote of a meeting with Charles II: “All I observed there was the silliness of the king, playing with his dog all the while and not minding the business.”

It is hard to say how many pets there are in the world today, but the USA is thought to have the most – around 86 million cats and 78 million dogs. Britain has perhaps 10 million cats and seven million dogs.

Some say…

Life would be miserable without pets. Everyone knows the joy to be had from stroking a cat or playing with a dog, and schemes to bring them into hospitals to cheer up patients have been very successful. Also looking after a pet is a valuable lesson in taking responsibility for others.

Others think…

Others say that animals are meant to live in the wild, with their own kind: keeping them indoors or in cages is cruel. If the love and care we give them – and the money we spend on them – were instead directed towards people, the world would be a better place.

You Decide

  1. If you could have any animal as a pet, what would you choose?

Activities

  1. Imagine that your school has been given a pet elephant. Write a one-page announcement for the noticeboard explaining how it will live at the school, its daily schedule, and the role different classes will have in caring for it.

Some People Say...

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

Mahatma Gandhi (1869–1948), Indian lawyer and political activist

What do you think?

Word Watch

Pomeranian
A breed of dog named after the Pomerania region on the borders of Poland and Germany.
Obsession
A craze.
Ancient Egyptians
An amazing civilisation from North Africa, that is now about 5,000 years old. The pyramids were built by Ancient Egyptians.
Samuel Pepys
A brilliant writer whose famous work is a diary that he kept during the Fire of London.

Subjects

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