Single men who are hoping to land a girlfriend may want to keep images of their cats out of their dating profile, or so suggests a new study. Colorado State University researchers showed photos of two men—posed with and without a cat—to hundreds of women and found that when the man's feline companion was in the picture, they were viewed "as less masculine; more neurotic, agreeable, and open; and less dateable," CNN reports. Some 38% of women shown a cat-free photo of one subject said they were likely to date him and 37% said they would consider a serious relationship—but this dropped to 33% for both casual and serious dating when they were shown a picture of the same man holding a cat. The percentage saying they would never consider going out with him rose from 9% to 14% when the cat was in the photo.
With the second subject, the percentage of women saying they wouldn't go out with him rose from 40% to 45% after they saw him with the cat. "It is important to note that these findings were influenced by whether the female viewer self-identified as a 'dog' or 'cat' person"—women who self-identified as a "dog person" were less likely to prefer the picture with the cat—"suggesting that American culture has distinguished 'cat men' as less masculine," wrote the researchers, who had started out expecting the men with cats to be viewed as more attractive. Kayla Kibbe at InsideHook describes the findings as evidence of "toxic gendered" BS. "Please, straight men, if you want a cat, just get a cat," she writes. "The last thing dating apps need is more 'proud dog dads.'" (Read more dating stories.)