For many of us, cats and dogs are part of the family. New research shows that children get more satisfaction from relationships with their pets than with their brothers or sisters.
It's just more evidence that household pets have a major influence on child development, and could have a positive impact on children's social skills and emotional well-being.
Pets are completely non-judgmental and they can't talk back, unlike siblings.
Among kinds of pets, dogs were found to be the most satisfying to children. And while boys and girls were equally satisfied with their pets, girls reported more disclosure, companionship and conflict with their pet than boys did, indicating girls may interact with their pets in more nuanced ways.
Earlier research found that children turn to their pets when they need support - more than their siblings.
The Humane Society estimates there are more than 66 million U.S. households with a pet.