Aside from love and companionship, pets are giving people an excuse to reschedule their social lives, a new study has found.
In fact, 72% of dog owners and 32% of cat owners said they have canceled plans so they can spend more time with their pets, according to the 2020 Pet Census, which was released earlier this month.
The census was conducted by pet genetics company Wisdom Health Genetics, which surveyed more than 13,000 pet owners — who altogether have about 25,000 dogs and 6,000 cats — according to a press release.
The survey found that pets are a highly important part of people’s lives, and not only for getting out of social engagements.
Pets are also a common focus of owners’ social media posts. According to the survey, more than 50% of respondents said they post about their pets “at least a few times a month.”
Some respondents — 17%, in fact — have created social media accounts specifically for their pets.
The survey also found that 64% of respondents said they consider their pet to be a member of the family. Many pet owners even admitted to letting their dog or cat sleep in bed with them, according to the report.
Pets even help their owners’ mental health, the Pet Census found. Ninety-nine percent of dog owners and 96% of cat owners said they think their pets have had a positive impact on their mental health.
People are also more likely to adopt their pets, with dog adoptions reportedly increasing by more than 16% since 2010, per the press release. In this year’s survey, 63% of dog owners and 51% of cat owners said they adopted their pets.