#onlinedating | Women are less likely to swipe for a man pictured with a cat | #bumble | #tinder | #pof

Dating cat-astrophe! Women are less likely to ‘swipe right’ for men whose profile picture shows them cuddling a moggy – saying it makes them appear ‘less masculine’ and ‘less dateable’

  • Women on dating apps perceive men with cats as ‘less masculine’ and ‘dateable’
  • Straight women, aged between 18 and 24, living in the US, were asked opinion
  • Study carried out by scientists at the College of Veterinary Medicine, Colorado  

Women looking for romance on dating apps perceive are less likely to swipe right if their potential suitor is holding a cat, according to new research. 

The study, carried out by scientists at the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, at Colorado State University, found that profile photos of men holding cats were seen as ‘less dateable’ and ‘less masculine’ by many women.  

Men who held a confident pose and appeared alone in their profile pic were more likely to attract women, the survey found.   

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In the study by Colorado State University, women were asked to choose which photo, of a 20-year-old man, they preferred. The majority said they found a snap of the man pictured alone (left) more attractive than when he appeared holding a tabby cat (right) 

The scientists said it was possible that the women defaulted to the notion that the man alone was a ‘dog person’ or more likely to date a ‘dog person’

Straight women, aged between 18 and 24, living in the US, were asked to rate the same man posing with and without a cat on his lap. 

Photos of two men, both in their early twenties, were shown to the group. Both prospective dates had dark hair, wore a blue buttoned down shirt and were photographed against a white background while posing with and without the same tabby cat.  

After the pictures were displayed, they rated the men on attributes including perceived personality, masculinity, dateability and whether they would consider going out with the person for a short or long-term relationship. 

The study found that women perceived the man holding the cat as ‘less masculine’ and ultimately ‘less datable’ in both the short and long term.  

The women also scored the cat-lover higher on neuroticism –  which forms part of the Big Five personality traits. 

Pet hates for daters: Another shot, of a 21-year-old man with a similar blue buttoned-down shirt without a cat (left) prompted the same reaction. Right, the same man holding the tabby cat (right) 

Those who rate highly on neuroticism are more likely to experience anxiety and fear as well as frustration, envy and low-mood. 

Yet researchers found the addition of the cat made the man appear more open and agreeable while he was perceived as more socially-confident and outgoing when pictured alone. 

The women were also asked if they considered themselves a ‘dog person’ or ‘cat person’, ‘neither’, or ‘both’, which appeared to influence their choice.

Participants who identified as a ‘dog lover’, ‘neither’ and ‘both’, favoured the picture of the man alone, yet those who were a ‘cat person’ opted for the additional feline friend.      


The ‘Big Five’ personality traits are openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness and neuroticism.

The Big Five personality framework theory uses these descriptors to outline the broad dimensions of people’s personality and psyche.

Beneath each broad category is a number of correlated and specific factors.

Here are the five main points: 

Openness – this is about having an appreciation for emotion, adventure and unusual ideas.

People who are generally open have a higher degree of intellectual curiosity and creativity.

They are also more unpredictable and likely to be involved in risky behaviour such as drug taking.

Conscientiousness – people who are conscientiousness are more likely to be organised and dependable.

These people are self-disciplined and act dutifully, preferring planned as opposed to spontaneous behaviour.

They can sometimes be stubborn and obsessive.

Extroversion – these people tend to seek stimulation in the company of others and are energetic, positive and assertive.

They can sometimes be attention-seeking and domineering.

Individuals with lower extroversion are reserved, and can be seen as aloof or self-absorbed.

Agreeableness – these individuals have a tendency to be compassionate and cooperative as opposed to antagonistic towards other people.

Sometimes people who are highly agreeable are seen as naive or submissive.

People who have lower levels of agreeableness are competitive or challenging.

Neuroticisim – People with high levels of neuroticism are prone to psychological stress and get angry, anxious and depressed easily.

More stable people are calmer but can sometimes be seen as uninspiring and unconcerned.

Individuals with higher neuroticism tend to have worse psychological well-being.

The scientists said it was possible that the women defaulted to the notion that the man alone was a ‘dog person’ or more likely to date a ‘dog person’.

However, both cat and dog lovers perceived the man as more agreeable while holding the feline companion showing that women are more interested in dating pet owners – regardless of the type. 

Studies have shown that cats are perceived as more solitary while dogs are typically recognised as more social which lends itself to their owners having a greater capacity to ‘connect and care’ for another. 

During the study, the women were asked if they were in a relationship and how likely they would be to ‘swipe right’ for a casual date.  

And while women perceived the man without the cat as suitable for a long and short-term relationship, it revealed that females look for masculinity first before identifying a prospective life-long partner.   

Research suggests that women seek a man with strong physical masculinity, including strong chins, as well as dominant behaviour for a casual relationship.  

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