Whether you’re team cat or dog, almost a third of pet owners are planning to spend this Valentine’s Day with their four-legged friend instead of their other human half!

In fact, a survey by pet food brand IAMS has revealed that over a quarter of women (28 per cent) would rather spend Valentine’s Day with their cat than their partner because of the unconditional love they provide, together with boasting better cuddles. And, for 38 per cent of British cat owners, it’s the lack of arguments that’s the deciding factor. Probably why one third (28 per cent) would even go as far as saying they love their cat more than their partner!

But our passion for pets doesn’t stop there. When it comes to our canine companions, puppy love has swept the nation as over one third (34 per cent) of dog owners will pick their paw-fect pal over their other half with two thirds (58 per cent) claiming they prefer their pup’s company! That is until the hint of a romantic dinner or promise of a present sways one third (29 per cent) back to their human companion.

Regardless of this, with Brits spend a whopping £7.9 billion each year on their feline friends and almost half (46 per cent) of dog owners loving their pet so much they even want them involved in their wedding, the question is, do our pets fall as quickly for us as we do for them?

Cat behaviourist, Naomi Opalinska, explains that with felines, love is not instantaneous.

“Humans can fall in love at first sight with their cats, but cats may take time to fall in love with their owner,” she says. “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.”

When it comes to our canine companions, COAPE Behaviour Specialist Mandy Daveridge adds, “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.”

This is a guest essay by Kellie Ceccarelli. Want to write for us? Visit www.dogstodaymagazine.co.uk/essay-submission or email editorial@dogstodaymagazine.co.uk

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