When I put Santa Paws on Tinder, I expected the occasional cat lover to swipe right. What I got was an overwhelming response from shirtless bros, UF athletes and older men spitting game at a kitten.

They all wanted to get their paws on him. And, 222 matches and some introspection later, I’ve come to terms that my cat is just cuter than I am. Here are some of my (unconfirmed) thoughts on why:

1. The intimidation factor:

It’s easier to talk to a cat than a human, especially when the cat is as cute as mine. Putting a face with a name can be nerve wracking. There are so many doubts that come with swiping: That girl is so hot; she’s way out my league. Cats are in everybody’s league.

Who says no to a cat? No one.

2. My cat is just gorgeous:

Probably the most likely theory. Irresistible purr. Silky fur. Pink little button nose. He’s basically a model. He doesn’t rack up the Instagram likes for no reason.

“What’s up you can lick me any day ;)”

3. The mystery of not knowing is desirable:

Deep down, there’s a human being behind the feline facade. I was genuinely surprised by just how many of the guys wanted to know what I looked like, prodding for Snapchats or my Instagram name. When you don’t know what the other person looks like, you can imagine them to be as hot as you want.

“It’s a damn shame there isn’t a face behind that wit.”

“Are you as cute as your cat?”

4. It’s a noncommittal swipe:

Swiping yes to a cat, there is absolutely no chance of seeing them on campus. No regrettable encounters at a bar or having to avoid making eye contact in line at Einstein’s. Zero awkward.

“Lets meet in the alley for a White Russian sometime.”

5. Cat jokes are easier to make than having an actual conversation:

There is so much material to use when talking to a cat, really. It’s way easier to have a funny, pun-filled conversation than trying to actually get to know someone.

“What say you, me, and a laser pointer get together and see what happens?”

“I just scored an eighth of some dank catnip.”

[A version of this story ran on page 7 on 4/3/2014 under the headline "Five theories on why my cat is more popular on Tinder than I am"]