Two cats indoors

Not an animal lover? How to date someone with pets

by Eharmony Editorial Team - April 2, 2015

Our latest study into what interests make you more attractive to the opposite sex found that women find men who have pets irresistible – but the opposite is true for men. We asked our friends at Animal Friends Insurance for some tips on how to date a pet-lover.

It has finally happened. You have met the perfect person and everything is fantastic, apart from one thing. They have a dog or cat or some other animal that you just don’t like because you’re not a pet person, and you never have been. They are responsible for countless arguments between couples and can even cause big rifts in relationships. Is there any way you can get along with your partner’s pet?

It all depends on how co-operative you decide to be. If you have found someone that really makes you happy, is it worth sacrificing your relationship over their pet? You need to think long term, because should the dating turn into anything more serious in the future, you are likely to not only be moving in with your partner, but their pet as well. Some animals can have very long lives, with dogs living between eight and thirteen years, sometimes longer, whilst cats have even been known to age to over twenty years old. This is therefore a massive commitment to make, particularly if you don’t like them. It would be unfair to force your partner into making a choice, and you may not like the outcome.

Communication and compromise are essential in this sort of relationship. If you don’t like the dog or cat sleeping on or in the bed with you and your partner when you stay over, you need to tell them. Your partner will not know the problems you have with their pet unless you share them, and then they can make the necessary amendments. Nevertheless, you have to understand that many people regard their pets as members of the family. If they are willing to make a change to their routine to accommodate you, you have to reach a compromise in return. For instance, your partner may suggest that the animal sleeps on the bedroom floor rather than on the bed. Clearly establish boundaries through an open, but not heated, discussion. Calmly explain to your partner how you feel, and outline the compromises you would be willing to make.

The case may be that one person feels neglected or even jealous of their partner’s relationship with a pet. The time someone wants to spend with their partner may be interrupted when they give the animal attention. In this situation, your partner may be having difficulty adjusting to their new life as a couple because when single, they were able to devote a lot more time to their pet. You need to understand that your partner loves them and wants to spend time with them as well as you. Be patient and try to incorporate the animal into activities that you can both enjoy, such as taking them for a walk. Your partner will appreciate the effort.

Perseverance is important if you want your relationship to work. As you become a bigger part of each other’s lives you will spend more time together, so eventually both you and your partner will work out a routine that suits everyone. You need to accept that your partner’s pet is a central part of their life, and this is a life they want you to be a part of as well. Loving someone means accepting all of them, including their pets.


Animal Friends Insurance was founded by Elaine Fairfax in 1998 and has grown to become not only an award-winning business but one of the largest pet insurance providers in the UK. They look after over 400,000 pets and offer cover for cats, dogs and horses (including rider insurance) with a range of different types of policy available.

To date Animal Friends Insurance has donated in excess of £2 million to animal charities worldwide.