Keep cats out of your dating profile, ridiculous study suggests

Men were deemed less masculine and less attractive when they held up cats in their dating pics, according to researchers


I’m what you’d call a cat person. More specifically: My home is ruled by an eleven-pound lion-bear-thing with a stumpy bobcat tail and the soul of a disgraced Hapsburg princeling.

However, it appears that many women (at least, straight, college-aged women) have not similarly embraced our feline overlords – to the point that it affects whether they find a guy attractive or not.

A new survey from Colorado State University found that women are less likely to swipe right on men if they’re holding cats in their dating profiles.

This struck me as silly for a number of reasons. Firstly: Getting any cat to let you hold them for more than five seconds is already an accomplishment. But secondly, it appears that a number of heterosexual women view cat-fancying as an inherent threat to the concept of masculinity.

The study asked 708 women between the ages of 18 and 24 to assess photos of two men – one shot of them with a cat, and one of them without. The survey results found that women viewed the cat-holding dudes as less masculine, higher in neuroticism, and less dateable – though they also rated more highly on perceived agreeableness and openness.

The study’s authors wrote that since previous research had suggested pet owners were perceived as more attractive and more dateable (particularly where dog ownership was concerned), they hypothesized that the men posing with cats would be deemed more appealing, with the cat’s presence hypothetically making them appear more trustworthy, gentle, and caring.

The findings were the same regardless of whether the person answering the survey self-identified as a “dog person” or “cat person”. According to the authors, this suggests “that American culture has distinguished ‘cat men’ as less masculine, perhaps creating a cultural preference for ‘dog men’ among most heterosexual women in the studied age group.”

Many took umbrage with the study’s conclusion, including actor/writer Mara Wilson: “There’s ONE very flawed, stupidly done small study, that did not take bisexual women into account, and took really bad photos,” she wrote on Twitter. “And honestly, IMO, men are pretty much ONLY attractive if they have a cat.”

When I canvassed my cat-loving friends for comment, they were similarly given paws. “I literally think my partner swiped right on my cat, as much or more than the human holding her,” said my bandmate and semi-professional cat dad Alex.

“I have unmatched dudes for NOT liking cats,” Vanessa volunteered. “Who the fuck did they study? I hate them.”

Finally, from Lauryn: “The straights have this all wrong.”

@nataliamanzocco

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One response to “Keep cats out of your dating profile, ridiculous study suggests”

  1. There are some guys who’ll understandably hesitate at speaking in public about their particular fondness for pet felines; for, to do so, unlike with expressing affection for a good sturdy canine friend, may be generally stereotyped as a man’s non-testosterone pet-animal inclination. And, yes, there are many people out there who’d implicitly or explicitly question the normality altogether of a guy who adores his pet feline(s)—something that’s implied by first-season Seinfeld’s George Costanza, who, in a doubtful tone of voice and slight shake of his head, says to Elaine Benes (without looking at her) in regards to her boyfriend cherishing his two pet felines: “Guys with cats … I don’t know …” George’s line rushed to mind after one particular response I received upon posting a short essay onto a feline-fan site (accompanied by an adorable feline photo, of course); it was from a reader subtly questioning my ‘normality’, which left me feeling both embarrassed and angry. I further recollected how as a teen I knew two of the (if not the most) toughest, testosterone-laden, and (like myself) straight guys around, who also cherished their pet cats—albeit, no average guy would’ve foolishly openly expressed his pet-feline enthusiasm amongst his demographic peers, lest he seriously risk being unjustly deemed a wuss or in some other way having his reputation permanently besmirched.

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