A survey of 2,000 cat and dog owners in relationships discovered a quarter would prefer to cuddle up on the sofa with their furry friend than their significant other.
While nearly a fifth enjoy spending one-on-one time with their four-legged companion more than with their partner – with not being asked ‘silly questions’ one of the top reasons.
Others favour the company of their pet because they help them relax and they are better for their wellbeing.
It also emerged pet owners have an average of more than 40 pictures of their pooch or pussycat on their phone, with nearly half claiming this is more than they have of their partner.
As a result, three in 10 think their loved one is jealous of the attention they give their pet.
Dr James Greenwood, practising and resident vet on ITV’s The Pet Show, has teamed up with healthy and ethical pet food producers Webbox and Webbox Naturals, which commissioned the survey.
He said: “The research shows that, for some couples, the four-legged friend can take the starring role in the relationship.
“But it is wonderful to learn just how much of a strong connection animal lovers have with their cats and dogs; these are bonds which will undoubtedly last a lifetime.
“It is from an early age where these relationships blossom into a lifelong companionship and it all starts with love, care and attention – as well as the occasional treat as a positive reward for good behaviour.
“A nutritious diet plays such an important role when it comes to strengthening these bonds from the outset.”
The study also found 35 per cent of those polled kiss and hug their pet more than their partner, while a third believe they buy their cat or dog more gifts and treats.
When chatting with friends and family, 23 per cent will bring their cat

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