We might have been misunderstanding cat lovers all this time. According to experts, owning or at least loving cats could be the key to a successful relationship.
Your cat might be your first love, but there’s nothing stopping you from harnessing the qualities and skills being a pet owner has given you and using them to become an ideal catch for future partners.
According to a study by Purina Pro Plan LiveClear and the Human-Animal Bond Research Institute, cats can greatly strengthen relationships and help their adoring owner build loving bonds with fellow humans.
Your cat could be an unlikely path to finding true love.
We talked to relationship expert and author of, He’s Just Not Your Type (And That’s a Good Thing), Andrea Syrtash about why she thinks cat lovers, and animal owners in general, have a better chance at finding love.
At the core of any strong relationship is healthy, happy individuals who bring their best selves to the partnership. And what better way to be your best self than with a little animal therapy?
“It’s been documented that pets generally brighten our mood each day,” Syrtash says. “The act of simply petting your cat can lower blood pressure and decrease cortisol, often referred to as the stress hormone.”
This happiness translates positively into what you bring to and look for in relationships. Syrtash also points out that happiness can make someone appear more attractive, so maybe your cat can even help you score some points in the looks department!
“The qualities that pets can bring out in humans: being happier, more relaxed, and more present, are all beneficial to bring into new relationships with humans,” Syrtash tells us.
For those who’ve already found “the one”, having a shared love of your pet can strengthen your bond further.
“When you have a pet, you and your partner have to work together to take care of the animal. After all, he or she is part of the family,” says Syrtash. This can be unifying for couples.
Having a shared pet can push couples to reconcile issues that they might have otherwise let get the better of them. Some stay together for the sake of their kids, others might find their cat to be a vital common ground in times of trouble.
“Any exercise that encourages people to collaborate, from taking care of a cat to tackling a home renovation project together, encourages communication and working together as a team — which can be good relationship builders,” Syrtash tells us.
“Your shared connection and love for your cat can help reinforce your relationship, permitting you’re both invested in caring for the animal and keeping your household intact.”
If you’ve spent literally any amount of time on a dating app you’ll know people love to show off their pets in their profiles. But it looks like they have the right idea.
Syrtash points out that millennials are skipping marriage in record numbers. But they’re also the largest pet-owning demographic which means you can expect to see plenty of furry friends on dating profiles.
Syrtash tells us that having your pet in your profile helps communicate your interests and passions.
“For the people I’ve worked with and interviewed over the years, pets are generally seen as a sign that a person is responsible, caring, and kind,” she says. “After all, you cannot be a pet owner and only think about yourself.”
While this is all good news for pet lovers, cats can also be a major dealbreaker in some situations.
Say you’re allergic to cats. What do you do with all the endless cat lovers you see on dating apps?
Purina’s study found that 13% of households surveyed with cat allergen sensitivities have had to choose between their cat and a relationship, 12% have considered not living with their partner due to cat allergens, and 11% have ended a relationship due to this strain.
This inevitably makes pet lovers offputting for those with allergens. I mean who wants to date somebody who could cause their allergies to flare up?
But Syrtash tells us there is a solution to prevent these people from missing out on great matches. Purina’s ProPlan LiveClear pet food reduces the major allergen in cat hair.
As for the reality that not everyone likes cats, with or without allergens, Syrtash discourages people from trying to force a relationship despite a difference in interests.
“In this case, the person you’ve come across is unlikely to be your match,” she says of potential partners who don’t show love for your pet, “If someone can’t date you because you love a pet, he or she probably doesn’t share your values.”
So if you’ve ever branded a single cat owner a crazy cat lady, you may owe her an apology. She’s best equipped for love than the rest of us.
Single men and women aren’t devoting themselves to their pets because of a lack of choice, in fact, many chose to prioritize their pets and their own desires over pursuing meaningless connections.
“Today’s single woman who owns a cat is not a lonely spinster or a crazy cat lady,” says Syrtash. “Generally speaking, taking care of a cat shows that you value nurturing someone, independence, and cuddles — great qualities to find in a potential partner!”
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Alice Kelly is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York. Catch her covering all things social justice, news, and entertainment.