Pets, especially cats, have a special place in many households, and their owners oftentimes spoil them as if they were their own children. But can this relationship negatively impact the intimacy and closeness with their partner? Excitedcats.com conducted a survey involving over 1,000 participants to see how (and if) their pets affected the intimacy of their long-term relationships.
The survey found that many pet owners certainly dote over their feline companions. Many pet parents spend massive amounts of money on their pets, not only on essentials like food, bowls, and bedding, but also on some pretty outrageous gadgets. From automatic food dispensers that allow you to talk to and feed your cat while you’re at work to apps that decode your cat’s meows, veritable cat mansions disguised as scratching posts, to automated litter trays, it seems there’s always a new gadget to purchase for our felines.
When you bring home the latest and greatest toy for your cat, does your partner look at you with a bit of envy? Do you cuddle your cat more than your significant other? Does your cat get more real estate on your bed than your spouse? Well, it turns out you may not be alone. While some don’t mind this doting over their feline companions, others certainly do.
Over 1,000 pet parents between the ages of 18 and 65 responded to the survey conducted by Excited Cats, 32% of which owned one or more cats. Of those who responded, we compiled that 55% of the pets were female, 45% male, and 34% of those pets were rescues. Surprisingly, only 11% of the pets were obtained from a breeder, and the rest were received as gifts, adopted as strays, or born into the family.
All respondents were currently married or living with a partner, and 68% of respondents stated they were the primary parent. The majority reported spending at least 4–6 hours a day with their pets, meaning they spent a lot of time with them.
Surprisingly (especially for those who own cats!), only 6% of respondents said their pets frequently hinder them and their partner’s intimate or alone time. This ranged from dogs jumping up at partners during cuddles, cats meowing at closed doors, and pets squeezing between couples during intimate moments. Almost half (44%) reported their pets never hinder or interfere with their time alone. This was not due to pets sleeping elsewhere in the house, either—most of the surveyed pet parents allowed their cats to sleep in the bedroom with them and often on the bed. This left 50% of respondents stating that their pets occasionally affect their intimate time.
About 33% of respondents felt that their pets occasionally garnered more attention than they did in their relationships, although many stated they didn’t mind. Only about 5% of respondents felt that they were in competition with their pet for their partner’s love, time, attention, affection, care, and appreciation. On the other hand, 24% of respondents felt that they were not in competition with their pet for their partner’s attention at all, 25% said they rarely felt their pet commanded more attention than them, while the rest occasionally felt a twinge of jealousy.
In one of the final questions, pet parents were asked about a hypothetical scenario: If your human partner issued an ultimatum, would you break up with them or give up your pet for adoption? If given an ultimatum, a whopping 66% of respondents would rather break up with their partner than give their pet up for adoption. Although significant others were the priority if respondents ever were planning a trip to space. In another more humorous hypothetical scenario, where respondents had the opportunity to go to Mars with either their partner or their pet, only 44% chose their pet over their partner.
Although these results are not necessarily representative of the entire population, it does show how deeply pet owners can feel about their pets. Pets are often considered part of the family and are treated as such. However, it is important to keep a healthy balance and make sure that the relationship with your significant other is not affected. It may be worth having an open and honest discussion with your partner about expectations and boundaries regarding the pets to avoid potential conflicts.
In conclusion, it is clear that the bond between pet parents and their pets is a strong one, but it does not necessarily mean it has to affect the relationship with their partner negatively. Communication and compromise are key to maintaining a healthy relationship with both your pets and your significant other. Pets can bring immense joy and love into our lives, but it is important to remember that our human relationships should always come first.