The old "cat lady" cliche is really the worst. Single dudes chilling solo with a pet are "cute," and yet a single woman enjoying the company of her cat above all others is "sad"? The real truth is this: that cat lady getting all the grief for sharing a can of Fancy Feast every night with her Pickles knows that sometimes, cats are better than boyfriends, girlfriends, f*ck buddies, and any kind of significant other. I mean, have you even hung out with a cat lately?
The reason we so often hear about women and their cat(s) is apparently because they share a special inter-species bond. A study in the journal Behavioural Processes found that cats are more likely to approach women and sit on their laps (meow!) and that women are more likely to interact more frequently with their cat than men are. Cats and women just can't get enough of each other, it seems. So if the cat lady stereotype must persist, let it be reframed as a mutual admiration society instead of a depressing narrative of spinsterhood.
In honor of National Pet Day, here are seven reasons why cats are better than significant others — but you probably already know why:
1. They Can Read Emotional Cues
It's a generalization to be sure, but guys aren't exactly known for picking up on women's emotional idiosyncrasies — and there's plenty of science to prove it. Cats, on the other hand, are aces at figuring out when you're sad, content, happy, hangry, and when you really need them to purr loudly in your face so you forget about life for a few.
2. They're Low Maintenance
No need to spend every waking moment worrying about pleasing your cat, because they can take care of themselves, thank you very much. Just a little food, water, the occasional petting and a piping hot sunbeam is enough to keep your furry partner entertained and satisfied.
3. They're Not Bed Hogs
Hate sleeping in bed with someone who hogs all the covers or kicks you in your sleep or snores or takes up too much damn space? Get a cat! It's the best of both worlds: a bed partner to cozy up with, but one that's soft, small, compact, and snore-free (OK, my cat snores but it's actually adorable and doesn't keep me up I swear).
4. They Don't Require A Lifetime Commitment
If you're not interested in making some lifetime, 'til-death-do-us-part commitment, cats are an ideal partner to choose, as they rarely live past 20. I know that sounds sort of morbid, but seriously, it's a pretty purrfect deal.
5. They Improve Your Health
A good relationship with a human partner can add years to your life, but a not-so-good one definitely detracts from your well-being. On top of lowering cortisol and boosting your immune system, one study found that cat owners are 30-40 percent less likely to die of a heart attack than their non-cat owning counterparts. And, it's important to note that bad marriages correlate with increased heart disease in women, so, there's that, too...
6. They Make Great Social Media Co-Stars
Since so much of life is online, you want a partner who's willing to go the distance without grumbling about it. Wanna post a new pic on IG but need a sexy co-star? Just think of all the selfies you can take without hearing a single word of protest! Unlike most partners, your feline cohort will wait for you to try out a bevy of different looks and lighting until you get the perfect shot. Pro tip: it helps if your cat is sleeping or very full and sluggish post-meal if you want him/him at their most agreeable.
7. They Provide Unconditional Love
You don't have to do or say the right thing to keep your feline relationship in tact. In fact, you can ignore your cat (and they can ignore you) and things will still turn out fantastically. It's fool-proof really. Cats are the ultimate, drama-free companions that can make an S.O. seem like a chore in comparison. One Swiss study even suggested that owning a cat is actually the e-meow-tional equivalent of having a romantic partner. So there you have it. Cats > significant others.
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