Talk and touch, two reasons why cats tend to prefer women

Although this is a very complex area and although we mustn’t generalise and be inadvertently sexist, it is probably fair to say that women tend to be more socially interactive than men which also means that they employ touch more than men and they are more talkative than men. Is that fair? If it is, these qualities tend to lead to the impression or the fact that domestic cats prefer women to men. Note: please see the postscript at the base of the page.

Woman-cat relationship
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Woman-cat relationship. Picture: Pixabay.

Cats like contact

There are other factors one of which is the meow/baby distress call of the cat which triggers the woman-to-baby relationship. I think we can say that scientifically speaking, female humans initiate more touches than male humans when interacting. And it might be a little-known fact that domestic cats like to touch. They like to be in contact with their human and you will frequently see domestic cats stretching out their foreleg to touch the hand or arm of their human companion. They really do like that physical contact. In addition, we all know that cats like to rub their flanks against the legs of the human companion. That is depositing scent but it is also physical contact. There are many other examples.

Cat and dog hold hands

Cat and dog hold hands. Photo by Dorothy

We like our own

In this way, you could argue that the cat is more like a woman while the dog is more like a man. And we know that species prefer to be with their own. They are more comfortable with their own. It’s about fear and comfort. So, if cats are more like women, women are going to like to be around cats because they are similar to themselves albeit a completely different species. There is this connection on a number of levels between felines and the female human.

Woman-to-cat interaction

Woman-to-cat interaction. Pic: Pixabay.

Study on human-cat interactions

There is a study from April 2015 of human-cat interactions in the home setting, in Switzerland. They observed interactions between 162 people and 72 cats. One weakness of the study, in my view, is that the scientists observed the interactions. Of course, the scientists would have been a stranger to the cats which may have interfered with their behaviour. The scientist concluded that the woman-cat relationship was the best and the juvenile-cat relationship was the worst. The men were worse than women in this test.

Man and cat

Man and cat. Not good for a dating app pic. Picture: Pixabay.

Study on touch in communication

And in a separate study published in 2009 (also on the Taylor and Frances Online website) called “Sex differences in touch communication”, they concluded that ‘initiated more touches and were also involved in more total touching than males’. Also, women initiated more opposite-sex touches and “more opposite-sex control touches than males”. This begs the question whether women might prefer male cats to female cats but they don’t in my opinion. Although they might believe that male cats in general have personalities which are more suited to domestication and can therefore be better companions to humans. This may be because male cats tend to be more confident which makes them more relaxed and interactive.

There are many reasons why domestic cats might prefer women, two of which is that women tend to touch and talk more than men. And they are more sociable, I would argue. If a person is more sociable, they are going to go forward and want to interact with another sentient being which in this instance is the domestic cat. And when a human initiates and interaction with a domestic cat in a way which patently warm and friendly, the cat will respond likewise.

Sound, size, demeanour

There may also be a quality of sound issue which affects the human-cat relationship. What I’m saying is that a woman is likely to speak in a gentler voice towards cats than men. And, further, women are smaller than men and I’ve always believed that in our relationship with cats our size is a barrier. Humans can be intimidating due to the size difference. And finally, there is, in general, a softer demeanour and more gentle movements performed by women compared to men. This I think helps initiate the human-cat interaction. It’s less hostile and troublesome to a cat when the person is quieter, more gentle and softer in their movements.

Big P.S. The differences mentioned are often reversed. There is a huge grey area and overlap between men and women. All that I have said is blurred by this overlap in female/male characteristics. We must never pigeon hole men and women. Gender is a continuous spectrum not black-and-white.


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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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