Pet or Mate? A Tough Call for Many

February 1, 2011 ( – Faced with a choice – your mate or your pet – 14% in a recent poll said they would kick their mate to the curb but keep their pet by their side.

An Associated Press story about the survey said one’s current marital status may have something to do with the ones opting for Fido . — 25% among unmarried pet owners versus 8% among the married.

Women are far more apt than men to say the human-pet choice would be a tough one (40% among women compared to 26% among men). In the end, both genders were equally likely to go with their spouse or significant other. There was also no difference between dog and cat owners: 35% of each said the choice would be a hard one and more than eight in 10 would choose their mate.

About six in 10 adults (57%) have had to give up a pet at some point in their lives, with current pet owners (64%) a bit more likely to have done so.

Finally, urban dwellers (47%) are more apt to say they’d have a difficult time choosing than did suburbanites (35%) or rural residents (25%).

One-third (34%) of current pet owners said it would be “extremely” or “very” difficult if they were forced to choose between a pet and a family member who became allergic. Another 20% would find the choice somewhat difficult and 46% said it would be “not too difficult” or “not difficult at all.”

The poll was conducted October 13 to 20, 2010, by GfK Roper Public Affairs and Corporate Communications. It involved landline and cell phone interviews with 1,501 adults nationwide including 1,000 pet owners.