We live in a world defined by stereotypes. Cats, and their owners, are subject to more pigeonholing than most. Cats are considered a female pet. Ergo, single men that live with cats are often viewed with suspicion.
Women consider male cat lovers less masculine, and less appealing as partners. This is a harmful stereotype. Cats are no different from other animal companions. In fact, male cat lovers should be considered to be self-confident, caring, and great communicators.
If a man lives with a cat, he should be applauded. Countless feline shelters are desperate to house homeless cats. Alienating 50% of the population from adopting a cat helps nobody. It is important to understand that men with cats are usually just kind-hearted animal lovers.
Table of Contents:
- 1 Is it Weird for a Single Guy to Have a Cat?
- 2 Why Would a Single Man Have a Cat?
- 3 Cats and Dating
- 4 Characteristics of Guys Who Like Cats
Is it Weird for a Single Guy to Have a Cat?
Single men with cats are often viewed suspiciously. Gender stereotypes dictate that single men like dogs. Cats, meanwhile, are the reserve of single women and families. This leads to unfair – and often unhelpful – labeling of single men with cats as creepy.
A study published in Society and Animals confirms that cats are viewed as a feminine pet. As a result, men who own cats are seen as emasculated compared to those that do not. This is a belief that should be overcome, for the good of humans and felines alike.
Why are Cats Seen as Feminine?
Cats fulfill many stereotypes in society and culture. The, “crazy cat lady” – a spinster with countless felines – is an evergreen insulting trope. Likewise, black cats are often portrayed as a witches’ familiar. It seems that cats are only ‘supposed’ to accompany females.
Let’s address the former accusation first. Toxoplasma gondii, a parasite in cat feces and causes toxoplasmosis, has been linked to schizophrenia. Psychological Medicine debunks this claim.
As for black cats, that’s just superstition dating back to the 14th Century. The ongoing association between cats and witchcraft suggests humans are not as evolved as we like to believe.
So, why are cats considered feminine? There are many possible reasons:
- Pop culture often portrays cats as the pet of choice of single women
- Cats are small, delicate, and graceful – widely considered ‘feminine’ traits
- Cats rarely enjoy rough-and-tumble play
- The cleanliness of cats was likened to the domestic duties of women
- A queen nursing kittens is seen as nurturing motherhood
There is no science behind any of these claims. Like all stereotypes, the idea of cats being feminine is unhelpful and damaging. It remains in place though and is unlikely to change without appropriate education.
Why Would a Single Man Have a Cat?
Why would anybody have a cat? Animal companionship is not limited by species of 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, think about the possible reasons. The man in question may just like cats. That’s fine too. There are a range of logistical reasons for men to share their homes with cats, though.
Change in Circumstances
Not all single men have been single for their entire life. 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. The man could have won, in this instance.
It’s also possible that the man in question has children from a proper relationship. They may enjoy visiting the cat. As a result, it has taken up residence in the home. A single man did not necessarily adopt a cat as a kitten as 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 to this is small breed canines. Some people view men with small, fluffy dogs just as suspiciously as cat owners, though.
Rental agreements may also come into play. Some property owners permit cats but not dogs. Cats are viewed as quieter, less messy and less destructive than dogs. If the man wanted some animal companionship, a cat may have been his only option.
You may think that nothing is better than a cat. That is a personal view. The man in our hypothetical example clearly disagrees. This is surely to his credit. He is showing a desire to care for another living being.
Animals offer great companionship, but pets require plenty of time and attention. Some pets are lower maintenance than others, though. Cats are independent and can be left alone for longer periods.
Some men may choose to get a cat for this reason. If they work long hours, a dog is likelier to grow distressed and restless. Cats can adapt to this routine.
Equally, cats are often cheaper to maintain than dogs. Indoor cats, in particular, are less likely to experience injury than dogs. This means they will generate fewer veterinary bills. Cats also eat less. This can make them a more appealing pet on 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 love with a cat. If he also cares for and nurtures the cat, that’s a bonus.
Allergies to Other Animals
Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology Research claim that 20% of the world’s population is allergic to cats or dogs. This makes it quite possible that the man cannot be around canines.
Cat allergies are typically more common. Despite this, those allergic to dogs are widely considered to suffer more. Dogs often shed more than cats and spend more time in proximity to humans. As it’s fur dander that causes allergic reactions, this is a concern.
Don’t assume that the man is afraid of dogs or avoids them on dubious grounds. Check for allergies. There is every chance that he loves canines, but they do not love him back. A cat is the next best thing.
Stray and feral cats often approach homes looking for food or shelter. Whether by accident or design, they may end up living in this home permanently. The man 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 it can trust this person to provide food. As a result, it will keep returning.
This is not a failing in the character of the man. Royal Society Open Science confirms that anybody that has owned pets, of any species, will respond to distress. Even the most hardened dog person will refuse to let a cat suffer.
Cats and Dating
The presence of cats in a man’s life can definitely impact dating potential. The reputation of male cat owners seemingly 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 for 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 felines are governed by gut instinct, so are humans.
What Do Girls Think About Guys with Cats?
It appears that, 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 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% now said they had no interest in dating him. The percentage of potentially interested parties also dropped to 33%.
Maybe this was an unappealing cat, or the gentleman looked less photogenic second time around? Any good study requires a larger field of study. To this end, the same group of women were 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% also said they would not consider a serious relationship. Both these stats shot up to 45% when pictured with a feline, 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. 708 participants is a broad study. 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 for the pet of choice for lonely or anxious people
In addition, posing with a pet on a dating site could be seen as emotional manipulation. Given the stereotype of cats as a ‘feminine pet’, it could be construed as shameless pandering. The man is attempting to show a caring feminine side to appear more appealing.
This may seem unfair and inaccurate. This is the nature of online dating, though. First impressions mean everything and snap judgments are constantly made. If you’re a single man, consider keeping your cat off your Tinder profile. You’re likelier to enjoy a match.
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 the pros and cons of dating a man with cats. This will shine a light onto the lifestyle you can expect. In doing so, it may evoke particular characteristics.
Advantages of Dating a Cat Lover
There are definite advantages to dating a guy that loves cats. Felines 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 cat, he clearly has a caring, nurturing nature. This bodes well for any aspirations to have a family. In many respects, adopting a cat is 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 clearly not selfish.
The same could also be said of dog owners. Any pet parent must be willing to put the needs of an animal above their own. Cats can have quite unique requirements though, both physically and emotionally. It’s a good sign if a man can meet these.
Cats do not speak. 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 on biting or scratching.
A man that lives with a cat will know all of its quirks. This suggests he will 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 you’re seeking a partner that understands the importance of non-verbal cues, consider a cat lover. These men are less likely to wait for a loud outburst of emotion before responding.
We have discussed the stereotypes linked to single men that own cats. For a man to rise above these, ignoring associated rumor and innuendo, he is clearly confident. That is always a positive trait.
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 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 these animals. 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
For every positive to dating a male cat owner, there is a potential negative. If you’re going to get involved with a cat lover, understand the consequences. You need to accept 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 affections. This can be easier said than done. In the cat’s mind, you are a rival for affection, territory, attention and possessions.
You’ll have to patient here. Nothing can sour a relationship faster than mistreating a treasured pet. Equally, the cat will recall any inappropriate behavior. Cats can have long memories toward perceived threats.
Your best approach is to initially ignore the cat. Feline trust is hard to gain. Do not 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 – though treats can speed up the process.
If you’re sharing a bed with a cat owner, you’ll likely share a bed with a cat. This can lead to disturbed sleep. You may also find the cat resents sharing the bed with you. It may be used to sleeping on a pillow beside its owner’s head, for example.
Cats are not nocturnal, but they are crepuscular. This means that cats are 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. The cat wants to be fed and to start its day.
You can discuss this with your partner. Be aware that cats are creatures of routine. An owner will likely be reluctant to completely banish a cat from the bedroom. You will need to learn to sleep with a cat – whether for good or ill.
Be mindful of dating a cat owner. It’s a myth that felines 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.
Watch 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 feline’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 partner. Dogs came out on top in this study, too. This suggests that men that own dogs are better prospective partners that cat lovers.
Is this a helpful approach or more stereotyping? Again, we need to stress that all people are individuals. There are typically differences between, “cat people” and, “dog people” though. The core differences of needs in these animals leads to differing lifestyles.
This table explains what to expect from dating a cat owner or a 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|
|Are used to communicating silently||Will be used to loud, prominent commands|
|May be shyer and more introverted||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 unmistakable affection|
|Have no problem with a pet with its own mind and wishes||Value obedience, and thus may be more conservative by nature|
|Can be flexible with ad hoc plans – cats can sustain themselves for hours on end||Will be tied down to a home or location – 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 appears more appealing.
There is nothing inherently strange about a man having a cat. Any assumptions that this is the case are born of outdated stereotypes. There are many reasons for single men to adopt cats. It suggests a caring nature and desire for animal companionship – whatever species that may be.