It turns out that your beloved kitty does not make the purr-fect dating profile picture.
There have been countless studies on what makes people more attractive in their online dating profiles, but new research from Colorado State University suggests that men should leave their pet cats out of their photos if they want to increase their “date-ability.”
The study was fairly simple: two men were photographed both with and without a cat in their arms, and 708 women between ages 18 and 24 were asked a series of questions regarding the subjects’ attractiveness.
For the first man, 38% of the women surveyed said they were likely or very likely to casually date him and an additional 37% said they’d consider a serious relationship with him. Some women — 9% — reported they would never consider a serious relationship with him. However, when they saw the same guy with a cat in his arms, the numbers dropped to 33% in each category despite him wearing the same clothes and posing against the same background. And the number of women who said they’d never consider seriously dating him rose to 14%.
The study found similar results for the second man, with the feline decreasing his chances of getting a match. When pictured solo, 40% of respondents said they’d be unlikely or certain not to date him casually … and that number rose to 45% with the cat.
“Women prefer men with ‘good genes,’ often defined as more masculine traits,” the researchers wrote. “Clearly, the presence of a cat diminishes that perception.”
However, a feline friend in profile pictures didn’t result in all negative perceptions. Holding a cat made the man seem more open, agreeable, confident, and outgoing than when they were pictures alone, according to the respondents.
Dog people, on the other hand, are in luck. Webbox, a UK-based pet food company, found in a social experiment they called “Pet Wingman” that including a dog in your Tinder or Bumble profile increased your chances of finding a match. On average, women saw an increase of 69% more matches when they included a dog in their photos, while men saw an increase of 38% more matches. (Of course, you must be aware of “dogfishers” out there — someone who shares a photo with a pup that isn’t their own!)
Does this study mean all the proud male cat owners should leave their pets out of their profiles? If you ask me, your profile should be an honest reflection of yourself. If you are a homebody who posts only travel photos, it will be more difficult to find someone you can have a serious relationship with, right? The same logic applies to pets.
If you and your kitten are inseparable, then there’s no reason to leave Garfield out of your profile and likely attract fellow cat lovers. A few more left swipes on your account are better than forming a bond with someone who dislikes cats — or maybe is seriously allergic — then having to choose between your new relationship and your faithful furry companion.
Erika Ettin is the founder of A Little Nudge, where she helps others navigate the often intimidating world of online dating.
©2020 Erika Ettin
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