A study of 2,000 besotted cat and dog owners shows more than half often prefer spending time with their pet – because they don’t nag, never talk back and are always in a good mood.
Three in 10 adults say their pet is a better listener than their partner, while 45 per cent like the fact they are never judged or questioned by their cat or dog.
Surprisingly, 29 per cent even say their four-legged friend is better at snuggling – and as such 44 per cent actually prefer to cuddle up with them rather than the other half.
More than four in 10 pet owners admit to giving their beloved dog or cat far more attention on a daily basis than their other half.
And whereas the partner is relegated to the other side of the bed most nights, the dog or cat isn’t pushed away if they turn up for a snuggle.
Hannah Edwards, Senior Marketing Manager for Freshpet, which carried out the research via OnePoll.com said:
“Whilst some of the findings of this research are on the surface rather surprising, what they actually demonstrate is just how much us Brits love our pets and why they’re such an important part of our families.
“Whether that means using our four-legged friends as a sounding board for our problems, cuddling up with them on the sofa in a quiet, reflective moment, or simply spending quality time with our cats and dogs and enjoying their unconditional love.
“It’s clear our beloved pets mean the world to us…it seems even more than our other half at times!”
Shockingly, when faced with the decision to choose a pet or a partner, 14 per cent would rather spend the rest of their life with their PET.
And although adults spend more quality time with their partners during the average day – around 20 minutes longer than with their pet – a third admit to missing their cat or dog so much more than their other half when they’re away from them.
The nation’s love for its pets is evident, not least because 42 per cent will kiss and cuddle them more than anyone else and a third have been known to post more pictures of themselves with their canine or cat companion on social media than ‘couple shots’.
But despite having a clear affection for their cat or dog, and loving them as much if not more than the other half, just six per cent will be treating their furry companion to a gift this Valentine’s Day.
Of those pooches and moggies lucky enough to receive a present, they’ll be in receipt of a treat worth around £30.
One in 10 owners also plan to go for a special walk with their pet on 14 February, while one in 20 will watch a movie together or set aside some quality time for each other.
Hannah Edwards of Freshpet, which provides pets with all their nutritional needs, continues:
“Whilst it’s lovely that some people want to shower their pets with extra special affection on Valentine’s Day, it’s good to see the majority of pet owners understand cats and dogs don’t need this.
“Pet love isn’t about buying expensive presents or serving up fancy dinners. In fact, it’s worth remembering that some flowers can be poisonous to cats and chocolates are poisonous to dogs too.
“As pet owners we should spend quality time with our pets across the whole year, not just for one day. And of course make sure their nutritional needs are met by choosing properly prepared natural pet foods which are designed to provide a completely balanced meal, high in protein and vegetables with no artificial ingredients, rather than offering human-style treats and meals not designed for animals.”