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!