The Scoop: Cat owners may find a love connection on the dating app Tabby. The free app unites cat people who are hoping to leave cat compatibility questions behind on their next date. Cat lovers no longer need to wonder if their potential suitor will love their cat because Tabby’s profiles are all feline-friendly. Users with premium subscriptions can enjoy using all Tabby’s features, including swipe reversals. Tabby gives cat lovers the outlet to connect and meet their purrfect match. You can download Tabby for free on Google Play and the App Store.
In many ways, dating apps are a tool of perception. Based on only a couple of photos and a short bio, users make a quick judgment on someone’s personality and decide to swipe left or right. But is a picture always worth a thousand words?
A study by Colorado State University and Boise State University shows the impact a photo can have on perceptions of dateability. A group of researchers asked heterosexual women between the ages of 18 and 24 to choose between two photo options: men holding cats and men holding dogs. The women rated the men with cats as less dateable than the men with dogs.
Thankfully, niche dating apps cater to daters with specific interests to overcome some of these hurdles. Certain types of dating apps allow users to narrow their choices and ensure they can find a date who shares a similar interest.
The dating app Tabby helps cat people meet like-minded individuals who have an affinity for their furry friends. Singles on the app can join a community of cat-friendly people who live similar lifestyles. That means no more worrying that your date is allergic to or hates cats. Tabby provides cat people the opportunity to meet others and escape the negative stereotypes that can sometimes follow them on other apps and sites.
Cameron Versluis, CTO of Tabby, said it is important for people to realize that cat people have distinct personalities, traits, and hobbies.
“Oftentimes those facets of their existence and personality don’t really get a chance to shine if they get stereotyped from the get-go. That’s part of the stigma that we’re trying to work on,” said Cameron.
Two Brothers, Two Sisters, Two Apps
Tabby’s backstory is as unique as the app itself. The two co-founders, sisters Leigh and Casey Isaacson, first created a dating app for dog lovers called Dig in 2018.
After their success with Dig, the sisters wanted to use the pet-themed concept to help cat lovers find love. Cameron said one of the motivators behind Tabby’s creation was addressing the stigma around cat owners.
“We want to change the image around cat owners, if that makes sense. We want to present them in a positive light and give them an avenue to connect,” said Cameron.
Thus, Tabby was born. The app launched on August 8, 2021, also known as International Cat Day. Tabby is a startup, but strategic advisor Alison Hall explained that the company likes to keep the culture fun, focused, and action-oriented even when priorities pile up.
Casey Isaacson, the co-founder of Tabby, added that Tabby and Dig are two-family businesses. She and her sister Leigh focus on the images and branding while Cameron and his brother Collin Versluis, the other CTO of Tabby, lead the technical side.
“There’s lots of momentum now for the cat industry to catch up and be as strong and as supportive as the dog industry is,” said Alison.
In the fall of 2021, Tabby’s laser-focused team pitched its app to investors on “Shark Tank” and landed a deal for $300,000 with renowned cat person Kevin O’Leary.
What started with a dog dating app has become the cat’s meow for a previously overlooked demographic.
Although Dig and Tabby share a similar concept, the design setup and language differ to match the personalities, needs, and lifestyles of the app’s users.
“While the capabilities of the apps are similar, it is pointed to two different sets of demographics. So we can fine-tune it to meet the customer base as it evolves into these two different platforms that support those specific characteristics,” said Alison.
Tabby Offers a Cat-Friendly Dating Experience
You may have heard of the phrase “the lonely cat lady” or seen the portrayal of a woman living with a legion of cats on TV. This stereotype has made its way through the internet and pop culture, leaving some people to believe that cat owners have the same loner personality. But that can’t be further from the truth.
Tabby highlights the individuality of cat owners and their myriad of personalities. The Tabby team wanted to create a community that embraces cat owners of all stripes and types. Users can enter the app and upload photos of their cats for their profiles with the assurance that their love for cats won’t be a dealbreaker.
“I think the demographic is really defined by the lifestyle that cat people like to live,” said Cameron. “Individuality is fairly strong in cat people. In my experience, cat lovers are really cool. They often have cool hobbies that their friends don’t have.”
Cameron said the Tabby app is most popular in large cities, including London, New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. Daters can use geolocation to meet their match and connect in locations near them.
The Tabby team curates a list of cat-friendly locations and events on its Cat Tree for users to visit with their pets. The Cat Tree will soon list other geolocated services, such as displaying whether an adoptable cat is near you. Tabby will launch this updated feature in December 2021.
The startup also partners with pet-related companies to offer cat owners deals on pet products.
As for Tabby’s subscription perks, users can upgrade to get unlimited access to the app experience, which includes the ability to undo an accidental swipe so a person’s profile can re-enter their database. Cameron said Tabby will also offer these premium features through a 24-hour pass that will cost approximately the price of a cup of coffee.
“You’ll be able to get a 24-hour unlimited pass, which helps some people who don’t want to pay the full price. It’s a fairly small price for much higher quality dating opportunities than you might have on other apps,” said Cameron.
What’s Next: Tabby Looks to Boost Pairing Success
Cameron told us that Tabby has already found success with its user base. Some users have written reviews saying they wish they had known about Tabby before they tried other dating apps.
“Dog people wanted their own app, but cat people needed their own app,” said Alison. “Tabby is the brainchild of Leigh and Casey, and they have put an unbelievable amount of blood, sweat, and tears into it.”
Tabby is currently developing more features for its user base. The team wants to improve the user experience based on the feedback it’s gotten so far.
Tabby has recently rolled out Real Me, which is a verification methodology. Users with a Real Me account can essentially run a background check on their date prospects. It gives cat-loving singles the ability to spot red flags and avoid unsuitable matches by viewing Real Me scores.
Users can also find better dating success with Tabby’s new additions to its matching algorithm. The team will be adding tags and filters for cat-specific questions — such as “do you let your cat sleep in the bed with you?” — to help users narrow down the dating pool.
Above everything, the Tabby team wants to encourage cat people to foster lasting relationships and friendships. Tabby’s core mission is to help the cat community connect and find matches that make them feel like a smitten kitten.
“I would say our goal is to foster less loneliness and more connection. We want people to connect to other people so they feel good about themselves and enjoy life with their pets because that’s really what it’s all about,” Cameron said.