New Study Finds Women Are Less Likely to Date Men Who Pose With Cats in Their Dating Profiles
"Men holding cats were viewed as less masculine; more neurotic, agreeable, and open; and less dateable," the authors of the study wrote
A new study conducted by researchers at Colorado State University has found that women are less likely to swipe right on men if they're posing with a cat in their dating profiles.
The researchers showed a total of 708 women — aged between 18 and 24 — photos of two men, both posed in two separate photos. One showed them with a cat and the other had them posed without one.
The women were then asked to rate the men on several attributes, including perceived personality, perceived masculinity or femininity, and perceived dateability, with scientists "asking directly if each participant would consider dating the man in the photo for a short or long term" period.
"Men holding cats were viewed as less masculine; more neurotic, agreeable, and open; and less dateable," the authors of the study found. "These results varied slightly depending on whether the women self-identified as a 'dog person' or a 'cat person.' "
When the women were shown the cat-free picture, 38% of women said they were likely or very likely to casually date the man in the photo, while 37% said they'd consider a serious relationship with him. Meanwhile, 9% of women said they would never consider getting involved with him
However, when shown a picture of the same man holding a cat, both categories dropped to only 33% of women, and the percentage of women who said they would not get involved rose to 14%.
Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories
Researchers say that their findings are likely the result of cultural stereotypes about cat and dog owners.
"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," the study states.
"Women prefer men with 'good genes,' often defined as more masculine traits," they added. "Clearly, the presence of a cat diminishes that perception."
The findings were contradictory to the researchers' initial hypothesis, which stated that "men posing with cats would be considered more attractive and desirable for short-term causal dating than when posing alone."
Earlier this year, a survey conducted by OnePoll and the pet food brand "I and love and you" also showed a positive correlation between dog ownership and dating.
The study examined the relationship between pets and dating apps like Hinge, Bumble, and Tinder. They found that nearly 40 percent of people swiped right on a profile that featured someone’s dog because they wanted to meet the pup "more than they wanted to meet the person."
According to their findings, 56% of the dog owners in relationships surveyed by Rover for the report said that having a pooch means they spend more quality time with their partner. Out of that same group, 71% said that they are more attracted to their partner after seeing them care for their dog.