Having trouble finding a partner who likes kitties as much as you do? An online dating service for cat lovers may be the answer.

Trey was amazed Jenny stuck around when one of their dates turned into a fiasco. Talk about embarrassing moments. It happened the night she stayed over for the first time. It was bad enough she couldn’t find a towel after washing her face, but it got worse thanks to Trey’s two cats. The towel he grabbed and tossed to her was one he’d used to wipe up a missed- the-litter-box accident. After heartfelt apologies, Jenny stayed, only to find the sheets were gritty. Ripley and Johnny had used the bed to wipe litter from their paws.

As a fellow cat aficionado, Jenny understood and forgave. She and Trey are now married and Ripley and Johnny are a big part of their lives along with a new human baby and two dogs. Not everyone is so lucky in love.

If your cat is part of your family, you want to make sure any significant other entering the picture is significant to your feline too. Why meet, greet and date someone who has an aversion to cats, or is allergic to their dander? Of the two, who would you choose: a Prince Charming who just showed up, or a furry Prince who’s been there for you since you adopted him as a kitten?

Going online

One way to find a partner you know will share your affection for felines is by joining an online dating or social networking service for cat lovers. Online dating can be “eww” or “ooh”, depending on your point of view. Going online to find a date can feel desperate, but in 2007, Online Dating Magazine reported that 20 million people visit online dating sites per month.

“I met my husband online,” says Alison Yaunches, Education Manager for Alley Cat Allies. “I included information about my love of cats and other animals in my profile, and Adam had photos of himself with a deer he raised from a fawn.” That photo provided the initial attraction. “It wasn’t necessarily a prerequisite to love cats but I had two at home to consider,” Alison says. “Alley Cat’s slogan is ‘dedicated to protecting and improving the lives of cats’ so it was a heavy consideration. I lucked out. Now they’re his cats too, and he loves them.”

If you do a search for “online dating + cat lovers” you’ll come up with a number of sites. But check them out first before joining. Although advertised as sites for cat lovers, some barely mention cats. And know what you are looking for before you join. Along with someone who likes cats, do you want a casual friendship, long term relationship or marriage?

Why meet, greet and date someone who has an aversion to cats, or is allergic to their dander?

Sites that walk their talk

  • Purrsonals.com is one of the few online dating and social networking sites that’s exclusively for cat lovers. Founded by Sonny Crane, who loves cats himself, it’s free and has thousands of members. It allows single cat guardians to meet and build relationships, and also offers opportunities for video and audio chats, blogs and forums, as well as links to interesting articles, news and fun facts about cats. The site moderates entries, and members who don’t use online etiquette are deleted.
  • GiveandDate.com isn’t just for animal lovers, but it uses a unique approach, says the site’s founder Katherine Bilby. When you see a member you’d like to contact, make a nominal donation to their sponsor, Animal Haven, and then you’re free to email. The charity aspect makes many singles more comfortable with online dating. The site also arranges cat socialization hours (or dog walking) at the Animal Haven shelter in New York City so regional singles can meet and greet. Since the site launched this past May, says Katherine, it has raised over $1,000 for the shelter.
  • Datemypet.com isn’t just for cat lovers, but can be used to find cat folks because it puts the emphasis on the animals in its members’ lives. Pictures of both people and their animals are included. (Studies have shown that profiles with a photo are viewed seven times more often than those without.) A virtual wink or kiss is one way to make initial contact. Email gives you time to think and reread before hitting “send”. After emailing, you can move up to instant messaging or chat.

Online dating isn’t for everyone, but if you’re having trouble finding that special someone, one of these sites may open up new doors for you. Start by scanning a few sites to see what they have to offer, then join by creating your own profile. There’s no pressure to make an immediate commitment, and no hurt feelings if you skip one profile and go to the next. At the very least, it’s a fun way to chat and swap stories and photos with other cat people, and who knows – you may meet a soulmate who’ll love your kitty as much as you do!