Looking for Love? That Photo With Your Cat Might Be Costing You Dates

Apparently, women are less likely to swipe right on men with cats.
June 24, 2020, 10:31am
For illustrative purposes only. Photo: Aziz Acharki on Unsplash

It might seem impossible to stop posting photos of your beloved pets on social media when you're a cat lover, but if you’re a straight man looking for love, maybe leave them out of your dating profile. It turns out that women are less likely to swipe right on men who have cats.

At least that’s according to a recent study conducted by Colorado State University. Scientists Lori Kogan and Shelly Volsche surveyed 708 straight women aged 18 to 24 who were shown photos of two men, both pictured with and without a cat.

After the pictures were shown, they rated the men on attributes including personality, masculinity, dateability, and whether they would consider having a short or long term relationship with them.

The study found that women preferred the pictures of the men without their furry pal. The photos with cats were seen as “less masculine” and “less datable” for long-term and short-term relationships, the report says. The women also scored the men with cats as “more neurotic.” On the positive side, women thought they were agreeable and open.


Those without cats, meanwhile, were seen as “more masculine” and “more dateable” for long-term and short-term relationships.

After seeing one of the photos without a cat, 38 percent of women said they were likely or very likely to casually date the man in the picture, while 37 percent said they would consider dating him seriously. Only 9 percent said they would never date him. However, another photo of the same man, this time with a cat, received lower dateability scores, with only 33 percent saying they would date him casually, and the same number saying they would date him seriously. Those who said they would never date the guy with a cat was at 14 percent.

Kogan and Volsche suggested that the results are most likely a product of the cultural stereotypes regarding “dog” and “cat” owners.

“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,” the report says.

They also referred to a 2015 study called Personalities of Self-Identified “Dog People” and “Cat People,” which found that self-identified “dog people” and “cat people” differ in personality markers.

“The analysis found that self-identified ‘dog people’ were higher on extraversion, agreeableness, and conscientiousness, while ‘cat people’ were higher on neuroticism and openness. Our participants echo this cultural belief.”

The scientists concluded that pets play a role in women’s dating preferences but that there is still much to be discovered about how different species affect their perceptions and, ultimately, decisions.

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