MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Online dating sites have gone to the dogs.
Believe it or not, pet themed dating websites are gaining in popularity.
Emily Garcia has lived with animals all her life. Her two cats, Gus and Lola, are more than just pets, they’re family.
“It’s so nice to come home after a long day of work to two little furry faces,” she said.
When it comes to dating, Emily says her partner better like cats.
“I mean, it’s kind of a deal breaker because I’m not gonna get rid of my cats for anybody,” Emily said.
That’s why she gave a dating website, devoted to pet lovers, a try.
“I thought, ‘OKay, I could meet someone potentially that we automatically have a love for animals in common, and that would be a great thing’,” she said.
From sites like petpeoplemeet.com and datemypet.com hyper-focused dating websites are now available to singles.
Dr. Karen Prager, who has studied relationships for years, says niche websites are a great way to start dating.
Prager is a counseling psychologist at the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences at the University of Texas at Dallas. She says she sees the value in the sites, since many people consider pets a companion.
“Instead of having this huge mass of people to look at, where you don’t know where to begin,” she said. “The niche websites allow you to narrow down your search to people who share a very important value.”
Nationally acclaimed matchmaker, Julie Spira, has been helping singles find love online for nearly 20 years. She has seen first hand how online dating has changed and is a big proponent of pet themed sites.
“When we’re looking at blending a family, guess what, you’re blending your pets as well,” Spira said.
Spira says a “pet themed” date is a great way to break the ice.
“I love having dates at dog parks. I think it’s just a very relaxing way to get to know someone without any pressure, it’s like the coffee date, only you’re bringing your pet,” she said.
Dating experts caution, it’s important to stay realistic and just because someone is a pet lover, doesn’t mean they’re your perfect match.