That’s the takeaway from a study by Colorado State University, which found that women are less likely to swipe right — or say yes — to men if they’re posing with a cat in a picture.
Scientists showed hundreds of women photos of two men, both men pictured with and without a furry companion.
Their responses showed that the men’s luck got noticeably worse when women saw the picture with a cat.
“Men holding cats were viewed as less masculine; more neurotic, agreeable, and open; and less dateable,” the authors wrote.
This study found that college-age women viewing a photo of a man alone versus a photo of the same man holding a cat rated the man holding the cat as less masculine; higher on neuroticism, agreeableness, and openness; and ultimately, less datable in the short or long term. Yet, 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.
Prior research [1,2] suggests that women desire different traits in a partner for short-term mating strategies (i.e., hook-ups) compared to long-term mating strategies (i.e., committed relationship). For short-term relationships, women are more likely to seek a man high in physical masculinity (i.e., large chins, certain facial features) and behavioral masculinity (i.e., dominance display). Part of females’ short-term mating strategies also includes evaluating the potential mate for suitability as a long-term partner. In the case of our study, women viewed the photo of the man alone as more masculine and more datable for both short-term and long-term pairing. This supports the hypotheses that women are more likely to seek masculinity first, then consider other components of the potential mate (i.e., perceived personality, suitability for long-term relationship).