In the new world of virtual dating, the right cat strolling through your video date can make all the difference. Use our handy “cat key” below.
Orange tomcat: This cat impresses the outdoorsy man who wishes you had a golden retriever. In addition to being golden retriever colored, orange tomcats tend to also be big, fluffy, and easy-going. Many of the men you meet online will be so dumb you can just tell them this cat IS a golden retriever.
Kindle of kittens: A kitten kindle highlights your maternal skills and appeals to everyone from the fresh-faced Christian guy who’s looking for his future children’s mommy to the 55-year-old never-married who “wants kids someday.”
Old and feeble cat: This cat reassures the elderly man who is looking not for a partner but for a future nurse. He will think, “She likes to take care of that mangy, incontinent cat, and I am also mangy and incontinent.”
Chonky, floofy cat: This cat makes you look sleek and fit by comparison. Plus, who doesn’t love a chonky cat. You don’t even want that guy.
Adventure cat: Having an “adventure cat” is a whole thing right now. If you don’t have one, just put a reflective vest and a leash on your regular cat. An adventure cat appeals to the guy who is “living life to the fullest” and wants you to get up at 6 a.m. on Saturday mornings to train for Tough Mudder with him.
Alley cat: Alley cats attract skateboarders, graffiti artists, and guys in bands. Make up some story about how you saw the potential in the alley cat even when everyone else thought he was a scraggly loser.
Boundary violator cat: This cat appeals to the guy who also plans to violate your boundaries. The guy will be impressed that you’re letting the cat stick its butthole in your face during the video chat and that you’re unbothered by the cat continually swiping at your face to get your attention away from the laptop.
Rescue cat: A rescue cat reassures the guy who is looking to be rescued himself.
Six-toed cat. This cat attracts the Hemingway fan who majored in English and is very sensitive yet still a man’s man who can protect you in a war zone but also needs to cheat on you a lot.
Munchkin cat: A munchkin cat soothes the guy with short man syndrome, but don’t refer to the cat as “munchkin.” Say the cat is “stocky” or “has an athletic build.”
“Down for anything” Cat: This cat must be floppy, compliant, and willing to put up with anything. This is the “wild card” cat whom you will use to discourage the guys you don’t like. If the guy says he values independence, hold the cat tightly and against its will, and tell the guy about its microchip tracking device that’s linked to your i-phone. If the guy says he needs physical affection, push the cat away every time it approaches you. If he’s a recent empty nester who’s anxious to get a taste of child-free living, cradle the cat like a baby and sway back and forth while you’re talking. At some point, excuse yourself to re-diaper the cat. If you can’t afford or don’t have room for the other cats, just invest in the DFA Cat, and you’re good. If you can’t afford the DFA Cat or your landlord doesn’t allow cats, get yourself a Hasbro Lifelike Cat — the dudes will never even be able to tell across the video connection. If you can’t afford the Hasbro Lifelike cat, you can use any dead cat. Just don’t stand too close to your camera.