It turns out that some millennials take the phrase “fur babies” literally—very literally.
A new study from business solutions agency Gale found that almost half of millennials view taking care of animals as “practice” for having their own children someday. The study said 44 percent of millennials think this way, with 21 percent citing it as the main reason to even have a pet in the first place.
To get this data, Gale analyzed adults aged 20-36 about their furry companions. The study was released this year.
Related article: Olivia Wilde and Jason Sudeikis adopt adorable 10-pound rescue dog
While this might seem a bit surprising, it’s worth noting that this isn’t totally new information. The research firm Packaged Facts released its own study back in May that came to a similar conclusion—that pet ownership is prevalent in young millennials partially because they think it’ll help them parent someday.
Related article: 15 times celebrity dogs dressed better than you do
Adweek reports that marketers have even taken notice and use this perception of pets in advertisements to make money, so you know this is getting widespread.
Jury’s out on whether or not this is an accurate way to think about pet ownership, but as long as it creates responsible pet owners, we think it’s a win.