Animals. Absurd to talk to your pet? 91% of French people do it

Talking to your pet, considering it as a member of the family, even as a child, letting it sleep in our bed: the dog box brand Woufbox has published the results of a survey* carried out by a panel of BuzzPress respondents, on the relationship of the French with their animals.

A relationship as strong as with a person

The results suggest that we have as strong or almost as strong a bond with our animals as with people. Thus, 91% of pet owners speak to it like a human.

94% of respondents refer to their pet as a member of the family, and of these, 54% go so far as to say that they refer to it as their child. This answer is much more common among people who live alone (61% of men and 68% of single women) than in families (43% of people who live with families).

Regarding the death of an animal, 48% of respondents say they are as affected as the loss of a human being, and 49% say they are even more affected than the loss of a person.

As far as daily habits are concerned, 59% of French people indicate that their animal eats the same thing as them, compared to 41% who choose “an appropriate diet”, and 36% of French people let their animal sleep in their bed. This proportion is much higher among single women, who are 46% to let their animal spend the night with them.

Desire to communicate

The desire to have a very close relationship with one’s four-legged friend seems indeed very well known: when one inquires about talking to an animal, one finds very (very!) many books on animal communication. While some have the goal of helping to decipher the non-verbal, others simply use terms like “telepathy” or “soul-to-soul experience”.

Corinne Dupeyrat, animal artist, for example published by Rustica editions a book entitled Communicate intuitively with your pet. She talks about how “we constantly emit and receive via brain waves”, that we must “align ourselves with the frequency of the brain of animals in order to be able to listen internally to what emanates from them”. According to her, it is possible by entering “a meditative state” to receive “perceptions that are not ours”. For her, no witchcraft: it is only a question of trusting her intuitions and exploiting non-verbal language.

Think about his body language

So how much belief and truth is there in these promises of communicating with animals? The president of the National Council of the Order of Veterinarians Grand-Est, Jean-François Rubin, recalls that “any claim to therapy made by people who are not veterinarians is illegal”. This type of practice, which is not scientifically proven, is not recognized by the National Order of Veterinarians. Nevertheless, as a behavioral veterinarian, he confirms that body language has meaning for our animals: “It’s postures, a frown, a tilt of the head, a clenching of the jaw… All of this can be spotted by the animal”. He warns against “anthropomorphic interpretations” that can attribute to animals intentions that are not real.

When we talk to a dog or a cat, it is therefore the tone we put in it or the expression that accompanies it that signifies something chosen for him, more than the words themselves. Calling your pet to come and eat, to take it out or back into the house, to teach it to sit or not to climb on the sofa therefore makes sense. But tells him about his day or talks to him like a confident person…probably less.

*Survey conducted online between September 30 and October 4, 2022, among 1,002 people representative of the French population aged 18 and over, and living with at least one pet.

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