Your cat might be hurting your dating life — sorry, this isn’t a joke

If you’re a guy with a cat and a dating app profile, listen up (but maybe put your feline pal in the other room first).

Men who own cats might be less likely to get dates, according to a new study on how women perceive potential matches on apps like Tinder, Hinge and Bumble.

The findings, published by researchers at Colorado State University and Boise State University, looks into the question of “whether men were considered more attractive when posing for a photo alone or holding a cat.”

Their conclusion? Cats, aren’t cute — or at least, they don’t make their owners seem cuter. In fact, for 708 women surveyed in the experiment, they actually made men appear less attractive.

The study was relatively simple: Researchers showed the women (whose ages ranged from 18 to 24) photos of two men, each of whom had posed for one photo with a cat, and one without.

Then, based on the photos, the women were asked whether they’d consider dating that guy — with many saying their opinion decreased after seeing him with a feline companion.

For example, 38 percent of women surveyed said they’d date the first man in the study, based solely on his cat-free photo. After they were shown a picture of him with his four-legged friend, that figure dropped to 33 percent.

The percentage of women who said they’d never get involved with the man also rose once they saw him with a cat, from 9 percent to 14 percent.

“Women viewed men as less masculine when holding the cat; higher in neuroticism, agreeableness, and openness; and less dateable,” the researchers wrote of their findings.

The outcome was far from expected. In fact, the study’s authors admitted that, before the survey, they had believed that holding a cat would make a man appear more attractive. This was based on previous research which found that “women view pet owners as more attractive and dateable than non-pet owners,” according to the study.

It seems as though that hypothesis may only extend to dog owners — who, according to the researchers’ citations of previous studies — might be seen as more “masculine” than guys with cats.

“Women prefer men with “good genes”, often defined as more masculine traits,” the study states. “Clearly, the presence of a cat diminishes that perception.”

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