Kittenfishing Is The Terrifying New Dating Trend You've Probably Never Heard Of

You may be a culprit without even knowing it.

girl texting at night in bed The Rabbit Hole / Shutterstock

If worrying about being catfished wasn’t enough, now dating app users need to be careful about getting kittenfished!

What is kittenfishing? A play on words, kittenfishing is a less offensive act that involves misrepresentation on a dating profile.

Thus, kitten — you know, being smaller than a cat.

Kittenfishing is an online dating trend that tricks people viewing dating profiles.

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Anyway, it took me a minute to understand why anyone would care about kittenfishing if it was less dramatic than catfishing in the first place. However, once I learned more about this shady little tactic, it scares me even more.

The act of kittenfishing is kind of like telling little white lies while online dating. While someone doesn’t pretend to be a completely different person, they sneak in a few lies that could really jeopardize a potential relationship.

For example, I could post photos on my dating profile from a time when I was 15 pounds thinner. I could also say that I am college educated when I actually dropped out of community college halfway in.


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Imagine a man saying that he’s 30 years old when he’s actually 35. These fibs are essentially harmless, but it would be surprising to find out the truth regardless. I mean, no one wants to be lied to!

But what makes things even worse is that this happens so often that many people don’t even realize they're doing it.

And it’s downright sad that they don’t know that attracting a date to their skinny profile picture is only going to harm them when they meet in person, ten pounds heavier. Come on, you’re literally setting yourself up for failure.

The dating app Hinge has actually coined this new term and has collected some juicy data on users who have done it before.


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Hinge says that 38 percent of men and 24 percent of women say that they have been kittenfished before. However, 2 percent of men and only 1 percent of women say that they have kittenfished someone else. The numbers aren’t adding up, which means that people are either too embarrassed to admit it or they don’t even know they’re doing it. Yikes.

So, now that you know the answer to what is kittenfishing, while it seems like being kittenfished is kind of difficult to avoid, you can at least do your part to stop it on your end of the online dating spectrum.

Ladies, don’t post only photos that you have on an entire MAC store on your face. And dudes, if you’re balding, just let that head shine because you don’t want to blind an unsuspecting victim with your bald spot on the first date.


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Shannon Ullman is a writer who focuses on travel and adventure, women's health, pop culture, and relationships. Her work has appeared in Huffington Post, MSN, and Matador Network.