Can posing with a pet help men succeed in dating? Not if the animal is a cat, say scientists.
Researchers have recently discovered that posing with a cat makes men less desirable for women than when posing without their feline friends.
Overall, women rated the catless photos of the same man higher on desirable qualities, with more women saying they would be likely to consider the man for long-term and short-term relationships, according to a new study.
Previously, other studies had shown that women considered men who owned animals to be “more attractive and dating” than men who did not, but this effect was generally associated with having a dog.
This has led scientists to wonder: would men with cats be more desirable than single men?
To answer this question, the researchers conducted two surveys: one with 708 participants and the other with 680 participants. The study subjects were all American residents aged 18 to 24, who identified as women and heterosexuals.
According to the group, the women looked at the photos of one of the two white men – “Man 1” or “Man 2” – who were in their early twenties and wearing blue button-down shirts. Participants looked at two versions of each man’s photo: with or without a cat
When the first group saw “Male 1” alone, they saw it as “more outgoing than when photographed with the cat,” the scientists reported. And when “Male 1” was photographed with a cat, study participants saw it as “nicer, neurotic and open “, only when he was posing solo, according to the study.
“Male 2” also got higher marks of extraversion and awareness when alone, and higher pleasantness and openness when represented with a cat.
And how has having a cat affected the attractiveness of men as partners? In the first group, around 30% of those polled said they would be more likely to get in touch with the catless man, compared to 19% who said they would be more likely to date a cat. Preferences in the second group were more equitably shared, with only about 23% favoring the catless man and 19% preferring the cat hug.
In both groups, about 50% of the participants found the men equally datable, whether or not they had a cat.
But were some of the study subjects predisposed to judge cats – and men who love them – too harshly? While about 19% of the subjects in the two groups said they were “cats”, 48% called themselves “dogs” (24% said they were both, while about 10% said they were neither).
Other studies have shown that men considered to be dog lovers are perceived to be more independent and masculine, scientists have reported. Identification as a “canine person” can therefore also include a cat-centered bias that is omnipresent in american culture; according to the study, describe men who love cats as “less masculine” and perhaps “create a cultural preference for” dog men “among most heterosexual women in the age group studied”.
Could the interpretations on datability then apply to photos of men posing with dogs? Follow-up research could incorporate photos into the survey that show men with dogs, to test subjects’ responses to different species, the scientists said.
“Would women find the single man more or less masculine than a man with a dog? Furthermore, what role would play the size / breed of the dog in these perceptions?” These and other questions “remain an area of future research,” concluded the researchers.
The results were published online June 9 in the journal Animals.
Originally posted on Live Science.