Do Cat Dads Really Get Less Love?

Written by: Kelli Brinegar
For more than five years, Kelli Brinegar has been using her ability to write and her passion for research to tell the tale of what cats are thinking and why. She has provided care to more than 30 cats in her lifetime.Read more
| Published on June 27, 2020

According to a recent online study, cat-loving men seem to get fewer dates. But as a bunch of cat lovers, we just don’t agree. A man with a cat is downright date-worthy in our fur-covered opinions.  The University of Colorado sadly reveals not everyone thinks like a cat lover though…

In the dating world, the profile picture means everything. It determines the direction of the all-important swipe. And the researchers behind an online study set out to discover whether women were more attracted to photos of a man holding a cat or not holding a cat. Their findings discovered women are less likely to have interest if a man appears with a cat in his profile pic.

Based on prior research revealing women viewed dog dads as more attractive, Lori Kogan and Shelly Volsche “hypothesized that men posing with cats would be more attractive than those posing alone.”

Kogan and Volsche had 708 women aged 18-24 respond to an online survey where they “rated photos of men alone and men holding cats on measures of masculinity and personality.”

Kogan and Volsche/

Participant response proved their theory, and ours, otherwise.

“Men holding cats were viewed as less masculine; more neurotic, agreeable, and open; and less dateable.”

Subject One

Seeing the photo of the first man, most women responded with interest. 38% of those attracted to him said they would likely consider casual dating. 37% were up for a serious relationship.

Showed a photo of the same man holding a cat, the percentages changed.

Percentages for both casual dating and serious relationship dropped to 33%.

Subject Two

And the results with the second subject? Not too far off from the reactions to the first guy.

Pictured with a cat, 41% of women wouldn’t even consider dating him versus the 15% that said they would definitely date him. Some women were on the fence, responding with ‘maybe’.

Without the cat, only 35% said they wouldn’t consider a date with the second subject.

The Conclusion

The overall takeaway from the study?

Kogan and Volsche concluded, “Our respondents perceived a man holding a cat as less masculine and less datable for both short-term encounters and long-term relationships.”

The authors noted, “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.”

And this feminine or weaker perception of cat lovers isn’t quite fair. After all, anyone who loves a cat, male or female, knows it takes the toughest of the tough to love these wild little beasts!