But you do you, my man.

By Austin Cannon
September 16, 2020
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Living in our socially distant, potentially lonely existence, single people across the globe want to stand out on their preferred dating app. And what better way to do that than by posing with your pet?

Well, that might not be the best idea for everyone. A study published this summer indicates that men who pose with cats in their dating app profile photos might have a harder time finding female companionship. 

Profs. Lori Kogan (Colorado State University) and Shelly Volsche (Boise State University) recruited more than 1,300 heterosexual women between the ages of 18 and 24 to take a simple online survey. In the survey, they were shown two photos of a white man in his early 20s. He holds a cat in one photo and is alone in the other. (The researchers used two models, but the women were only shown two photos of one man.) 

Look away, single cat dads. The results aren’t pretty. For the first man pictured with a cat, more than one third of the women polled said they would either never consider or likely wouldn’t date him casually or long-term. The second guy’s photo with a cat fared worse: More than 40 percent of the women said they wouldn’t or likely wouldn’t date him. 

On average, women were more open to the photos without the cats. For the most part, the men saw higher numbers in the “perhaps,” “yes, likely,” and “absolutely yes” dating categories. Though, it should be noted that guy No. 2 had a higher “absolutely” casually date number for his cat photo. (Shouts out to the cat ladies.) 

Researchers found that the women also viewed the men in the cat photos as less masculine, less extroverted, and more neurotic. They also thought the cat photos indicated the men were more open and agreeable, so that’s good? Also, the study indicated that at least some of the women who ID as “cat people” found the cat photos more appealing. 

Kogan and Volshe write that women “often” seek more masculine men to date, so the presence of cats—which they say are considered feminine pets—might be enough to steer ladies elsewhere. They also wonder if thinking of the male cat owners as more introverted and neurotic might send them into women’s friend zones—which, we should say, is great! Everyone needs friends.

Limitations of the Study

Don’t lose hope, Cat Dudes. The authors did acknowledge some limitations in the study. Only young women responded, for example, and most of them were white. The men pictured are white or look white, too, so the authors “cannot be certain that our findings generalize to other racial or ethnic categories.”

Also, more than 40 percent of both groups of women who judged the photos said they were dog people and predictably were less likely to find the cat photos appealing. (An informal poll of female Daily Paws staff and friends confirms this.) And no offense to the two men pictured—I’m sure you’re both great—but it’s safe to assume that any other two men are going to get different responses. 

Perhaps most importantly, pets are hardly the most important thing when you’re looking for a mate, whether for a committed relationship or what the authors hilariously call “a casual, short-term encounter.”

A Note to the Cat Dads

After reading this, some cat guys might be looking to alter their dating app strategy. Well, here’s what you should change: NOT A DARN THING.

Fellas, you and your cats are a package deal. If she won’t accept your furry best friend, she can hit the dang bricks. If she sees your cat and swipes left, you didn’t want her anyway! 

The study proves that there are cat women out there, a Duchess to your Thomas O’Malley, so look for them. Heck, there’s even a new dating app, Tabby, just for cat people. 

Log on to that bad boy, be your usual, funny, smart, and handsome self, and soon you’ll be drowning in dates.