Of two thousand pet owners asked[i], 15% admitted to staying in a relationship with a partner they were planning to break up with, just to keep their pet dog or cat content.
Thirty-six percent of those asked admitted that they reluctantly stayed with their partner as they could not agree on who would have custody of the animal, while a quarter said the reason was because they didn’t want to take their pet to a rescue shelter.
And it isn’t just the practical considerations that have pet owners remaining in relationships; guilt about the emotional effect of a breakup on a pet prevented 14% of people from making a clean break. Although it might sound silly, our survey shows that those who did make the leap to end their relationship saw an ensuing change in their pets’ behaviour. More than a third (36%) revealed the breakup left their pet confused, while, 27% reported that their cat or dog seemed sad. One in ten claimed their pet even showed signs of distress.
A further 21% admitted that they were so concerned about their pet’s welfare post-breakup that they took them to see their vet to be cared for, with 14% revealing that their pet was actually prescribed medication to cope with the situation.
And if you think it’s easier to end a relationship if you don’t have children together, don’t be so sure. Having a pet can cause its own custody battles, with 11% of people admitting they would be more likely to fight for custody of their beloved pet than for things such as money (7%) or shared possessions (4%).
Of couples whose relationship came to an amicable end, 8% revealed that they now share custody of their pet, with both parties seeing the animal on a regular basis. But where the split was more acrimonious, 12% said they were denied access to their pet by their former partner.
John Ellenger, head of pet insurance at MORE TH>N said: “It is true that our beloved pets have never played a more important role in our day-to-day lives. As our study reveals, a number of pet owners will remain in a relationship with a partner in order to prevent their shared pet from experiencing any negative effects from a breakup. It is testament to the lengths we’ll go to protect our pets’ emotional wellbeing – even if it means making sacrifices of our own.
“That said, if couples do decide to split and they share an animal, it remains important to keep the pet’s best interests at heart when arranging its future living arrangements, as a means of minimising the stress of lifestyle changes as much as possible.”
For peace of mind, find out more about our pet insurance; breakup or no breakup.
[i] Research conducted by OnePoll on behalf of MORE TH>N Pet Insurance. 2,000 pet owners were surveyed.