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Dating and Your Pets

By Michele C. Hollow of Pet News and Views

When I was single and living in New York City, my big dating rule was that the person I was going out with had to like my cats. He also had to be kind to all animals. I believe you can tell a lot about people from the way they treat animals.

If you meet my husband he will tell you that the pecking order according to me in our house is “cat, kid, and him.” To be truthful, cat and kid are pretty much equal.

I’m bringing this up because Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching, and have heard from a number of people who are getting ready for their next dating step—that of introducing their dates to their pets. The key to making sure the meeting starts off on the right foot or paw—depending on how you are looking at it—is be preparing ahead of time.

“Prepare, prepare, prepare,” says Allie Phillips, J.D., director of Public Policy for the American Humane Association, and an expert in the human-animal bond. “By asking questions before meeting the pets, you show that you care about the animal and thereby, care for the person.”

5 Tips for Getting To Know Your Partner’s Pets
1. Ask where the pet likes to be scratched. Some pets love getting their ears or bellies pet. Other pets don’t.

2. What is their favorite treat? Bring a small bag of treats with you. Yes, it’s a form of bribery, but it can work. Ask your date if it’s okay to bring a treat for his or her pet.

3. What kind of toys do they prefer? Like humans, every animal is different. Some prefer toys that squeak and some prefer stuffed animals. So, in addition to a bottle of wine for your date, bring a new toy with a bow on it because it is never too early to start earning brownie points.

4. Some animals are wary of strangers and find eye contact too dominant. Try to put the animal at ease by looking down and away from them while speaking softly and offering your hand, palm down. That way, the animal has a choice and is more likely to come up to check you out. With cats, look at them and open and close your eyes a few times—pretty much like they do. It’s a form of friendship. Cats like communicating this way.

5. Some animals won’t go near strangers until they have had time to watch them for some length of time. Give them their space, ignore their presence, and let them come to you. Your date may think that you are a master at animal behavior and like you all the more.

If you have any dating tips on how you introduced your pet to your partner, please share in the comments section of this post! And look for two up coming contests around Valentine’s Day. Thanks for reading!

16 comments to Dating and Your Pets

  • Hi Michelle :-)

    Kool blog! Meee found you thru my Mommy’s LinkedIn. Her name is Amalia Spaulding :-)
    Meee will follow you from now on…

    Smooches,
    Neeko :-)

  • Hi Neeko, I think I met your mom on LI. –Michele

  • Fulvia

    Nice post :-D ! Thank you, Michele!

  • Great tips! I’m not on the dating scene but admit to using soft blinking with my cats :-)

  • P Elizabeth

    Super and very timely suggestions, Michele. I think people with pets need to be as careful selecting a date or partner as they would if they have a pre-verbal child. Neither can tell you if something is wrong and if they are mistreated in your absence. Great suggestions. It’s very sad when people get a new honey and get rid of their companion animals. This relationship is supposed to be for life, too. Happy Valentine’s Day all you “pet” lovers out there.

  • Faye

    We are going to a pet bakery in town where they sell pupcakes to give to our dog, Lola. These pupcakes are made of liver and chicken, and look a lot like baked good for people.

  • Scott

    Great tips and timely for me. I am going to meet my girlfriend’s cats for the first time. She adores her cats & I adore her!

  • Jordan

    Thanks Michele! Love these tips. Happy Valentine’s Day.

  • Marcie

    Yes, Happy Valentine’s Day. I’m celebrating with my two pugs–both are rescues.

  • Linda

    I have a cat and my new boyfriend has a puppy. We had them meet at my house. My cat stayed away, and the puppy was puzzled. I think time and patience will bring them together–which works for all relationships.

  • Bette

    Great idea about bringing treats. I do that when I visit friends. In addition to bringing a bottle of wine or a dessert to share, I bring something special for the pets I visit too. I’m always happy to see them as well.

  • Liz

    I agree with P. Elizabeth. You do have to be careful.
    All of the men I dated and the one I’m with now, understand how important my cats are to me. I also like seeing how they react to the men I date. My two cats like my current boyfriend, which is great. I wouldn’t date anyone who doesn’t like pets.

  • George

    If my dog doesn’t like the lady I’m with, then I think there is something wrong with the lady. My dog really knows people.

  • Joshua

    Thanks Michele. Great tips, and I’m bringing roses to my girlfriend, and cat toys with catnip for her cats to her house on Valentine’s Day.

  • Stephanie

    I have two young cats–both are two years old. They are meeting my boyfriend’s cat. So we are both a bit nervous.

  • Leslie

    My partner and my dog get along so well. It is a relief. I know she is the one for me.