Almost a third of pet owners have said they will spend this Valentine’s Day with their four-legged friend instead of their human other half.
A survey by pet food company IAMS revealed that 28% of women would rather spend Valentine’s Day with their cat than their partner because of the “unconditional love” they provide as well as “better cuddles”. And, for 38% of British cat owners, it’s the lack of arguments that’s the deciding factor while 28% claimed to love their cat more than their partner.
When it comes to pooches, 34% of dog owners said they would pick their canine over their other half with 58% claiming to prefer their pup’s company.
A separate survey by rescue charity Blue Cross found that pets increased the chances of finding love as 32% said a pet had helped to bring more fun into their relationship, 23% said it had brought them closer together as a couple and 21% said the pet had led them to spend more time together.
Pets also proved to be a better companion in some circumstances with 30% of owners claiming their pets made them smile more than their partners, while 32% thought their pet was better at making them feel less stressed. Some 13% even said their pet had stopped rows with a partner.
A further 28% said they thought their pet was better at comforting them than a partner, while 20% said they thought their pet was a better listener.
Cat behaviourist, Naomi Opalinska, explained that with felines, love is not instantaneous. She said: “Humans can fall in love at first sight with their cats, but cats may take time to fall in love with their owner. Cats need to be nurtured so that they feel secure in their environment.
“It’s important to let your cat get to know you in their own time. How they show you love will also very much depend on their unique personality and how well they’ve been socialised from a kitten.”
COAPE behaviour specialist, Mandy Daveridge, added: “When it comes to our canine companions. Dogs are quite forthcoming when it comes to showing their love. They’ll want to spend time with someone they are fond of, will get very excited when they see them and look for ways to initiate play.
“With puppies, they will look for a replacement mother who can feed and care for them and that’s why you’ll notice your new arrival following you around the house a lot. With rescue dogs, they’re likely to be much more nervous as their experiences may show them not all humans are willing to provide for them in the right way, and so it’s important to build up their trust over time.”
Kellie Ceccarelli, IAMS veterinary manager, said: “The bond between pet and owner should be cherished and the unconditional love we receive from our pets should be reciprocated. We can show our animal companions how much we love them with lots of affection, regular walks and through premium nutrition which provides them with the nutrients they need to support the key seven signs of vitality for many happy, healthy years together.”