The specific question of whether cats are where girls are is addressed in a new study:
“Where There Are Girls, There Are Cats,” Yuhang Li, Yue Wan, Yigui Zhang, Zhaomei Gong, and Zhongqiu Li, Biological Conservation, epub 2020. (Thanks to Tom Gill for bringing this to our attention.) Here are details from the study:
The authors, at Nanjing University, China, explain:
“In this study, we provided robust estimates of free-ranging cat density in 30 universities in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, China. We found that the population density of free-ranging cats is linearly related to the proportion of female students in the university. An online questionnaire confirmed that human females were more concerned about the living conditions of free-ranging cats than human males in China. By contrast, a socialization test on 27 free-ranging cats suggests that the cats may have the ability to distinguish human sex and adopt a sociable skill to human females.”
The journal’s publisher published the article online, then removed it, replacing it with this terse notice:
“The publisher regrets that this article has been temporarily removed. A replacement will appear as soon as possible in which the reason for the removal of the article will be speciﬁed, or the article will be reinstated. The full Elsevier Policy on Article Withdrawal can be found at https://www.elsevier.com/about/our-business/policies/article-withdrawal.”
Retraction Watch had a few things to say about this.
UPDATE [July 5, 2020] Retraction Watch reports today: ” ‘Where there are girls, there are cats’ returns, with a new title“