Sad news, gentlemen: A new study from a team at Colorado State University claims men who love cats are perceived as “less masculine” and are less likely to score dates with single women.
The study surveyed 708 women between the ages of 18 and 24, showing them photos of men photographed alone and with cats. The women were asked whether they’d agree to a date with each man they viewed, and whether they’d consider a long-term relationship with each man.
When those same men were shown with cats, the number of women who said they’d date them dropped by five percent, while the number who said they’d consider a serious relationship dropped by four percent.
The women who took the survey also rated men “on masculinity and personality” according to their appearance in the photos. In addition, the participants answered questions like: “Is he reserved?”, “Is he generally trusting?” and “Is he lazy?”, and asked the women whether they believed the men were outgoing, sociable, kind and considerate.
“Men holding cats were viewed as less masculine; more neurotic, agreeable, and open; and less dateable,” wrote authors Lori Kogan and Shelly Vosche, who titled their paper “Not the Cat’s Meow? The Impact of Posing With Cats on Female Perceptions of Male Dateability.”
The researchers also asked the women if they viewed the men as dominant, gentle, sympathetic, affectionate, warm, decisive and possessed of leadership abilities.
The presence of cats hurt men across the board with the female respondents, who found the cat men “ultimately less datable in the short or long term,” Vosche and Kogan concluded.
That begs the question: Why?
Women want manly men, Vosche and Kogan argue.
“Women prefer men with ‘good genes,’ often defined as more masculine traits,” they wrote. “Clearly, the presence of a cat diminishes that perception.”
The results, they said, indicate “women are more likely to seek masculinity first, then consider other components of the potential mate.”
The findings were “influenced by” whether the women self-identified “as a dog or a cat person,” although it wasn’t clear just how much that impacted their responses.
Vosche and Kogan speculate “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 authors didn’t say why they concentrated on the 18 to 24 range, nor did they speculate on how women in older age cohorts might respond.
We would be remiss, of course, if we didn’t run this by Buddy the Cat. This is his blog, after all.
The outspoken tabby cat dismissed the study as “fake mews” and said it’s well-known that cats are “spectacular wing-men.”
In addition Buddy — who holds doctorates in being a cat and being handsome — argued that, while some cats may indeed make their human male servants seem less masculine, other cats — like Buddy — amplified masculine and desirable traits by several orders of magnitude.
“If a man is pictured with a scowling, flabby Persian, then sure, maybe women are less likely to view that man as masculine,” Buddy said. “But if a man is pictured with a ripped, dashingly handsome cat such as myself, women are 96 percent more likely to want to date him.”
Asked where he arrived at that figure, Buddy replied: “I made it up. But obviously it’s true.”