Relationships

Snaps of men with cats give women paws for thought when online dating

25 June 2020 - 00:00 By Sanet Oberholzer
A new study has found that women are less likely to 'swipe right' on an online dating profile if the man pictured is posing with a cat.
A new study has found that women are less likely to 'swipe right' on an online dating profile if the man pictured is posing with a cat.
Image: 123RF/vphotostock

Gents, if you’re looking to find love online, it might be best to leave your cat out of the picture — literally.

As much as you might adore your furry friend, featuring them in your profile pic could limit your chances of landing a date.

Researchers from Colorado State University and Boise State University in the US broke the catastrophic news earlier in June when they published the results of their study titled "Not the Cat’s Meow? The Impact of Posing with Cats on Female Perceptions of Male Dateability" in the journal Animals.

Previous research showed that women were more attracted to pet owners than non-pet owners, and viewed them to be more datable. Drawing on this, the researchers’ hypothesised that men who cuddled up with cats in photos would be more attractive to women than those who didn’t.

To find out, they showed snaps of two men, both posing with and without a cat, to 708 women between the ages of 18 and 24. The women were asked to rate the men on their masculinity and personality - and to indicate whether or not they would date them.

“Women viewed men as less masculine when holding the cat, higher in neuroticism, agreeableness and openness, and less datable,” said the authors.

Women viewed men as less masculine when holding the cat, higher in neuroticism, agreeableness and openness, and less datable.

When shown a picture of the first man — minus a cat — 38% of the women said they were likely or very likely to date him casually and 37% said they would consider a serious relationship with him.

When a cat was introduced to the picture, the percentages in both categories dropped to 33%, while the percentage of women who said they would never get involved with the man rose from 9% to 14%.

This trend continued when shown pictures of the second man, with the percentage of women who indicated they would be unlikely to or would never date him increasing from 40% to 45% when he was pictured with a cat.

That said, the study is not all bad news for pet lovers. The authors are of the opinion that women might be more attracted to men who love dogs.

“It is important to note that these findings were influenced by whether the female viewer self-identified as a ‘dog’ or ‘cat’ person - suggesting 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.”