We live in a world defined by stereotypes. Cats and their owners are subject to more pigeonholing than most. Cats are considered to be female pets. Ergo, single men that live with cats are often viewed with suspicion.
Women consider male cat lovers less masculine and appealing as partners. This is a harmful stereotype as cats are no different from other animal companions. Male cat lovers are self-confident, caring, and good communicators.
If a man lives with a cat, he should be applauded as countless feline shelters need to house homeless cats. It’s important to understand that men with cats are just kind-hearted animal lovers.
Is it Weird for a Single Guy to Have a Cat?
Single men with cats are viewed suspiciously. Gender stereotypes dictate that single men like dogs. Cats, meanwhile, are the reserve of single women and families. This leads to the unfair labeling of single men with cats as creepy.
A study published in Society and Animals confirms that cats are viewed as feminine pets. As a result, men who own cats are seen as emasculated compared to those who don’t.
Why are Cats Seen as Feminine Pets?
Cats fulfill many stereotypes in society and culture. The crazy cat lady – a spinster with countless felines – is an evergreen trope. Likewise, black cats are portrayed as a witch’s familiar, a superstition dating back to the 14th Century.
It seems that cats are only supposed to accompany females, but that works on the premise that cats can tell the difference between men and women. However, there’s little evidence to prove that this is the case. So, why are cats considered female pets? Here’s why:
- Pop culture portrays cats as the pet of choice for single women
- Cats are small, delicate, and graceful. These are considered to be more feminine traits
- Cats rarely enjoy rough-and-tumble play, unlike dogs
- The cleanliness of cats is likened to the domestic duties of women
- A queen nursing kittens is seen as nurturing motherhood
There is no science behind these claims.
Why Would a Single Man Have a Cat?
Animal companionship shouldn’t be limited by gender. All the same, male cat ownership is often seen as peculiar. Gender, Place & Culture refers to this as heteronormative speciesism.
Before instantly writing off a single man with a cat, consider the reasons why men enjoy having feline company. Of course, the gentleman in question may just like cats. However, there is also a range of logistical reasons for men to share their homes with cats. These include:
Change in Circumstances
Not all single men have always been on their own, so a cat may be a memento from a previous relationship. Cats are akin to family members for many couples. This means that, much like children, they fight over custody.
Perhaps the man in question has children from a relationship that enjoy visiting the cat. As a result, it has taken up residence in the home. A single man didn’t necessarily adopt a cat as a kitten due to a lifestyle choice.
If the man lives in an apartment, a dog may be an unsuitable pet. Many dogs need plenty of space and backyards to run off energy. The exception is small breed canines, but some people view men with small, fluffy dogs as suspiciously as cat owners.
Rental agreements may also permit cats but not dogs. Cats are viewed as quieter, less messy, and not as destructive as dogs. If a man wanted some animal companionship, a cat might have been his only option.
You may think that nothing is better than having a cat, but this is just a personal opinion. The man in this hypothetical example disagrees. This, to his credit, shows a desire to care for another living being.
Animals offer companionship, but pets require time and attention. Some pets are lower maintenance than others. Cats are independent and can be left alone for longer periods. If a man works long hours, a dog is more likely to grow distressed and restless. Cats can adapt to this routine.
Equally, cats are often less expensive to care for than dogs. Indoor cats, in particular, are less likely to experience an injury than dogs. Cats also eat less food. This can make them more appealing pets on the grounds of affordability.
Nobody wants a mouse infestation in their home. Once mice gain a foothold in a property, they can be difficult to remove. Fumigation can also be an expensive and intrusive experience.
One alternative to this is getting a cat. Some breeds of cats are natural mousers and will eat, kill, or deter rodents. This is a logical reason for a man to get a cat. If he also cares for and nurtures the cat, that’s a bonus.
Allergies to Other Animals
Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology Research stated that 20% of people are allergic to cats or dogs. Some men cannot spend time around dogs.
Cat allergies are more common, but dog allergies are believed to be worse. Dogs often shed more than cats and spend more time near humans. As dander causes allergic reactions, this is a concern.
Don’t assume that the man is afraid of dogs or avoids them on dubious grounds. There’s every chance that he loves dogs, but he finds it hard to spend time near cats due to a feline allergy.
Stray and feral cats often approach homes seeking food or shelter. Whether by accident or design, they may end up living in this home permanently. He may have ended up with a cat completely by chance.
Picture the scene. A hungry cat approached the home, looking disheveled and meowing pitifully. A tin of tuna was opened out of sympathy. Suddenly, the cat knows that it can trust this person to provide food. As a result, it keeps returning each day.
This is not a failing in the character of the man. Royal Society Open Science has stated that any man who has owned pets will respond to the distress of any species.
Cats and Dating
The presence of cats in a man’s life can adversely affect his dating potential. The reputation of male cat owners makes it harder to find a partner. Whether this is fair or not depends on perspective.
In many respects, judging a person by their choice of pet is unhelpful. Sure, there are reasons why you may be unable to date a cat owner. If you are allergic to feline fur, for example, the dynamics will not work.
The reluctance of women to date men with cats stretches deeper than this. Studies show that women react viscerally to pictures of men with cats. This suggests that while cats are governed by gut instinct, so are humans.
What Do Girls Think About Guys with Cats?
According to women on dating sites, guys with cats are creepy, unsuitable partners. That was the finding of a study published in Animals. This study reviewed the reactions of 708 women who were shown pictures of men with and without cats.
A photograph of a man without feline companionship was shown to the women in the study. 38% of women said they would consider dating him, and 37% went one step further. They claimed they would consider a serious relationship. Just 9% had no interest.
These women were then shown a photograph of the same man, now holding a cat. The results changed unfavorably for our aspiring Romeo. 14% (rather than 9%) now said they had no interest in dating him. The percentage of potentially interested parties also dropped from 37% to 33%.
Maybe this was an unappealing cat, or the gentleman looked less photogenic the second time around. Any good study requires a larger field of study. To this end, the same group of women was shown a second photo of a different man – again, without and then with a cat.
Clearly, this gentleman was less appealing on a base level. 40% of women were initially unwilling to date him casually. 41% said they would not consider a serious relationship. These stats shot up to 45% when pictured with a cat, though.
Why are Women Reluctant to Date Men with Cats?
Without sitting each of these women down and asking them individually, it’s impossible to say why these women were put off. That’s like asking, “why won’t women date men with brown eyes?” Every correspondent will have a different reason. Some supposed traits were suggested by the women in the study, though. These included:
- The stereotype of cats as feminine, making a man appear less alpha or masculine.
- Cat-owning men were considered more neurotic.
- Cats retain a reputation as the pet of choice of lonely or anxious people.
Also, posing with a pet on a dating site could be seen as emotional manipulation. Given the stereotype of cats as feminine pets, it could be construed as shameless pandering. The man is attempting to show a caring, feminine side to make himself more appealing to women.
This may seem unfair and inaccurate, but this is the nature of online dating. First impressions mean everything, and snap judgments are constantly made. If you’re a single man, consider keeping your cat off your Tinder profile.
Characteristics of Guys Who Like Cats
As discussed, it is reductive that say that all male cat owners have the same characteristics. We previously profiled the many and varied reasons that men may live with cats.
Perhaps a better question would be: what are the pros and cons of dating a man with cats? This will shine a light on the lifestyle that can be expected. In doing so, it may evoke certain characteristics.
Advantages of Dating a Cat Lover
There are benefits to dating a guy that loves cats. Cats are persnickety and fussy with their affections. For a cat to choose a man as its favorite person, he must have some welcome traits.
If a man is willing to look after a cat, he has a caring, nurturing nature. This bodes well for any aspirations to have a family. In many respects, adopting a cat is a trial run for raising a child.
Like children, cats require order and routine. Deviating from this causes distress and unease. Cats also require plenty of patience. If a man is willing to tolerate a cat’s foibles, he is not selfish.
The same could also be said of dog owners. Any pet owner must be willing to put the needs of an animal above their own needs. Cats can have unique requirements, physically and emotionally. It’s a good sign if a man can meet these.
Aside from the occasional meow, cats communicate almost entirely through body language. This means that male cat owners must be good communicators. Missing a cat’s cues often results in biting or scratching.
A man that lives with a cat will know all of its quirks. This suggests that he may not need to be told what you’re thinking or feeling. Cat owners quickly learn to pick up on the most subtle of mannerisms and react accordingly.
If a woman seeks a partner that understands the importance of non-verbal cues, she should consider a cat lover. These men are less likely to wait for a loud outburst of emotions before responding.
We have discussed the stereotypes linked to single men that own cats. For a man to rise above these, ignoring the associated rumors and innuendo, he is very confident.
Picture two men side by side. One has a cat purring contentedly in his lap; the other has an angry Pitbull named Tyson barking loudly. Which man do you think is more comfortable with his own sense of masculinity?
No man will adopt a cat as a status symbol. He does so because he loves the animal. So much, in fact, that he does not care what others think. We should also aspire to demonstrate such self-confidence.
Disadvantages of Dating a Cat Lover
If you’re going to get involved with a cat lover, understand the implications. It would help if you accepted that the cat was there first, which may provide some relationship obstacles.
Sharing Affection and Attention
Cats are not cut out for sharing. If you are serious about dating a cat lover, you will need to win the cat’s affection. This can be easier said than done. You are a rival for affection, territory, attention, and possessions in the cat’s mind.
Nothing can sour a relationship faster than mistreating a treasured pet. Equally, the cat will recall any inappropriate behavior as they have long memories of perceived threats.
Your best approach is to ignore the cat initially and don’t give the cat any reason to fear you. That includes trying too hard, such as excessive petting or handling. Patience is key to winning over a stubborn feline.
If you’re sharing a bed with a man with a cat, you may also share a bed with a cat. This can lead to disturbed sleep. You may also find the cat resents sharing its bed with you as it’s used to sleeping on a pillow beside its owner’s head.
Cats are crepuscular (most active at dawn and dusk.) You may find the cat staring at you in the morning. Equally, it may nip your toes to wake you up if it wants to be fed.
It’s a myth that cats are indifferent to their owners. Current Biology explains how cats form complex, secure bonds of affection with humans. All the same, cats may appeal to certain men due to a supposed lack of neediness.
This, again, is not strictly true. If a cat is not shown sufficient love and affection, it will grow clingy. Some men may adopt cats as they are less overtly expressive than dogs, though. This could suggest that the man in question prefers a stoic, impassive communication style.
See how a man interacts with his cat. Does he primarily act as a facilities manager, providing food and clean litter but little else? If so, it doesn’t mean he loves his cat any less. He may find a cat’s lack of tactility and demonstrative emotion appealing, though.
Cat Guys vs. Dog Guys
Anthrozoös confirms that women often take pets under consideration when considering a new partner. Dogs came out on top in this study, suggesting that men who own dogs are better prospective partners than cat lovers.
There are differences between cat people and dog people, though. The core differences of needs in these animals lead to differing lifestyles. This table outlines what to expect from dating a cat owner or dog owner:
|Cat Owners||Dog Owners|
|May be more sedentary and stay home more.||Need to go outside for walks regularly, if only for bathroom relief.|
|They are used to communicating silently.||Will be used to loud, prominent commands.|
|May be shyer and more introverted.||They are likelier to be extroverts, regularly engaging strangers in conversation.|
|Understand the subtleties of love language and will likely seek less validation.||Are used to being constantly showered with affection.|
|Have no problem with a pet with a strong mind.||Value obedience and may be more conservative by nature.|
|Can be flexible with ad hoc plans as cats can sustain themselves for hours on end.||Will be tied down to a home or location as dogs cannot be left alone for long.|
There are differences between cat owners and dog owners. That’s as far as it goes, though. These dividing lines should be drawn on pet preference, not gender. It’s up to you as to which persona seems more appealing.
There is nothing inherently strange about a man having a cat as there are many reasons for single men to adopt cats. It suggests that he has a caring nature and desire for animal companionship, regardless of its species.