Brits are regular Dr Dolittles, chatting with our pets
Most of those over 55 value their animal most than their spouse or close friends
Three-quarters of cat and dog owners regularly natter with their four legged friends, a survey found.
For a third of British animal lovers a talk with the pet is a daily event – even when it is a gerbil or a hamster.
Children’s story character Dr Dolittle had the ability to converse with animals and he could understand what they said back.
That may not be true of the pet owners who admitted they chat to their goldfish.
Fourteen per cent said they spoke to their pets more often than they spoke to people
Researchers for Vetsure Pet Insurance asked 3,000 of their customers about their relationship with their animals.
For 63 per cent of pet owners aged over 55, their animal is their real “life companion”, valued more than their spouse or close friends.
Half said they chose their pet for its loving nature.
Almost a quarter said they chose an animal that would encourage them to get out and about. The responsibility involved gave many an increased sense of purpose.
Fourteen per cent said they spoke to their pets more often than they spoke to people. Vetsure’s founder Ashley Gray said: “We have always known pets offer affectionate companionship and unconditional love to their owners.
“These results show that for some people the role of the pet can be even more important.”
The survey was conducted to coincide with the Christmas season as this is the most common time of year for people to buy their first pet.
A Wood Green animals charity spokesman advised: “Think about your lifestyle and support network before making your choice.”