(CNN) We have cat-astrophic news for animal lovers: Men who like cats are lesslikely to get a date.
That’s the takeaway from a study by Colorado State University, which foundthat women are less likely to swipe right — or say yes — to men if they’reposing with a cat in a picture.
Scientists showed hundreds of women photos of two men, both men pictured withand without a furry companion.
Their responses showed that the men’s luck got noticeably worse when women sawthe picture with a cat.
The photos used in the study, which revealed women favored pictures of the menwithout cats.
“Men holding cats were viewed as less masculine; more neurotic, agreeable, andopen; and less dateable,” the authors wrote.
When shown the cat-free picture of one of the subjects, 38% of women said theywere likely or very likely to casually date him, while 37% said they’dconsider a serious relationship with him.
But a picture of the same man holding a cat gave the respondents paws forthought — and those numbers dropped to 33% for each category. Meanwhile, theproportion of women saying they’d never consider getting involved with himrose from 9% to 14%.
By comparison, positive ratings for the second subject did not declinesignificantly when he was pictured with a cat — but women were more likely torule him out as a potential partner.
When he was pictured alone, 40% of respondents said they’d be unlikely orcertain not to date him casually. But this rose to 45% when he was joined by acat. Similarly, 41% said they’d be unlikely to consider him for arelationship, but 45% said the same when they saw him with the pet.
A total of 708 women aged between 18 and 24 were surveyed in the onlineexperiment.
The findings are likely the result of long-held cultural stereotypes about catand dog owners, the authors said.
“It is important to note that these findings were influenced by whether thefemale viewer self-identified as a ‘dog’ or ‘cat’ person, suggesting thatAmerican culture has distinguished ‘cat men’ as less masculine, perhapscreating a cultural preference for ‘dog men’ among most heterosexual women inthe studied age group,” they wrote.
“Women prefer men with ‘good genes,’ often defined as more masculine traits,”they added, citing previous research. “Clearly, the presence of a catdiminishes that perception.”
A different study last year found that the “crazy cat lady” stereotype is notsupported by evidence.
“Cat-owners did not differ from others on self-reported symptoms ofdepression, anxiety or their experiences in close relationships,” the studysaid. “Our findings, therefore, do not fit with the notion of cat-owners asmore depressed, anxious or alone.”
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