Can you love your cat too much?

Ingrid_with_Amber

I consider myself a reasonably well-adjusted human being. I’m a self-employed professional with a large circle of friends. I’m an introvert, but I enjoy spending time with people and have a varied social life. I love cats, but I don’t think I’m a crazy cat lady. So I have a few cat-themed decorations around my house. Okay, a lot of cat-themed decorations. And yes, I do carry pictures of my cats in my wallet. But really, I’m not a crazy cat lady!

People who love too much are often called codependent. Webster’s defines codependency as “a psychological condition or a relationship in which a person is controlled or manipulated by another.” Sounds like a typical human-feline relationship to me — aren’t most cat owners controlled by their cats? In other words, isn’t that perfectly normal?

I decided to dig a little deeper and actually came across some check lists that are meant to help you determine whether you love your cat too much. The first question:

How much do you allow your cat to interfere with your daily life?

I work from home, so my cats are part of my daily life. But I don’t consider that interfering. In fact, I consider myself lucky that I can be with them while I work. So maybe the person coming up with this question just wasn’t really a pet person. Next question:

Do you refer to your cat as if she were human?

Occasionally guilty. But I always know that I’m doing it, so that makes it okay, right?

Does your life revolve around the daily requirements of your cat?

Guilty again. But doesn’t everyone’s life revolve around their pet? Why else have one? Moving on.

Do you relate to your cat to the exclusion of relationships with family and friends?

Whew! I can honestly answer no to this one. (I told you I’m not a crazy cat lady.) So all things considered, I don’t think I have a codependent relationship with my cats.

But then I got to this question:

Do you forego going out of town because you don’t want to leave your cat?

And there you have it. Guilty as charged. Anytime the prospect of even a short trip looms, I get stressed about it. Even though we have the best pet sitter in the world, who comes to visit at least twice a day when I’m away, I still fret and worry the whole time I’m gone. Most of all, I just plain miss my girls.

If that means I love my cats too much, then so be it.

Photo above is with Amber.

69 Comments on Can you love your cat too much?

  1. Suzan
    February 21, 2014 at 8:47 am (6 years ago)

    My name is BabyBelle and I am now 9 months old. My mummy looks for me if I disappear for more than an hour or so at a time! Sometimes she’s calling me outside and I am asleep inside! She definitely loves me a lot and because of this she hasn’t been away since I moved in… except for one night. She would put me before her family (who wouldn’t) but not some of her friends as she likes to see them. Her friends have noticed that they get invited round to our place a lot more than before (heh heh)… I don’t think she is a crazy cat lady as sometime she will ignore me for quite a while although thinking about it seriously, she is easily distracted! Thank goodness my mummy is the kind of mummy she is…the kind of mummy who sheds a tear when she has to leave me for the day!

    Reply
  2. loup
    February 6, 2014 at 1:24 am (6 years ago)

    I had the choice to visit my family in the US for twoweeks for Christmas ’13.

    Well, I stayed home because who will take care of my best friend? He can’t feed himself, he can’t clean his litter!

    Turns out that having the home to myself with my feline friend was just too awesome!

    (Don’t forget to feed your cats with either canned or raw food as suggested by Dr. Pierson at her wonderful eye-opening CATINFO.ORG

    DRY KIBBLE WILL SLOWLY MAKE YOU CATS SICK!)

    Reply
  3. SANDRA
    February 9, 2013 at 4:12 pm (7 years ago)

    I think of how alot of friends of ours can think I am a crazed cat lover of 7 cats. My cats are my life and with no kids – they are my kids. My husband is just as cat crazy as myself – so we are a perfect match. Our trips out of town are very shortlived – due to not wanting to leave our furkids behind. We have a lady cat sitter whom is great – she sends pics everyday and updates of which one did what and how the cabinet where the food is kept – was opened and food everywhere when she got there for feeding time. I do love my cats and it’s great to hear all the other stories of cat lovers abroad.!!

    Reply
  4. Louise
    February 9, 2013 at 3:04 pm (7 years ago)

    Guilty of most of these and the cats do not even live with me; they are round the corner at my mothers house. I know a few dog people who are completely obsessed with their dogs but mum and I called crazy cat ladies! I love dogs too but have never really understood why cat owners only get branded.

    When we went away awhile ago for a month I begun to miss the cats like crazy, that is part of the reason we do cat/housesitting now – I get travel and cats. Still miss mums of course but it makesvit easier.

    Reply
  5. Bobbi Hahn
    February 9, 2013 at 2:18 pm (7 years ago)

    Guilty, but loving all the like-minded company! James makes a good point about there being no crazy dog people. And whenever I am anticipating out-of-town travel, my first call is not to my travel agent; it’s to my petsitter, to make sure she’s available! Even so, I don’t like to be away for more than a few days, especially since Mozart will be 18 next month, and I know our time together is limited.

    Reply
  6. Michelle Wolff
    December 12, 2012 at 4:17 pm (7 years ago)

    So glad to hear that so many people hate traveling due to leaving pets. My husband so does not get it about that! I love to travel but even struggle to go camping because I can’t take the cats with me. Dogs were a bit easier but my cats hate to travel so I don’t want to stress them. Like you, even when I know they will be cared for it’s stressful. My most stress lately is watching the feral cats outside in the cold. I’ve made them selters and some use them but some don’t for whatever reason and I know they’re tough but still I wish for a barn to house them all!

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      December 13, 2012 at 7:06 am (7 years ago)

      Most of my travel lately has been to pet related conferences, Michelle – and everybody there talks about how much we miss our cats, so at least, I’m in good company. Most “regular” people just don’t get it!

      Reply
  7. Amber
    December 12, 2012 at 2:39 pm (7 years ago)

    Yep! Guilty as charged. I do go away, but I start missing them as I’m making my plans to go away!

    I’d rather be a crazy cat/dog/animal person than anyone else! I love my furry ones.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      December 13, 2012 at 7:05 am (7 years ago)

      I know! Whenever I make travel plans, I start questioning whether it’s worth it, because I know I’ll miss my girls so much!

      Reply
  8. Lynn D
    October 25, 2012 at 3:16 pm (7 years ago)

    My phone is full pf my cats’ pics (i have 5) and I constantly show them off to everybody i know. I miss them when im at work and cant wait to get home to be near them. Being asian n have 5 cats r really hard when it comes to the relationship with my in laws. My parent is fine with us having 5 kitties but not my in laws. They think were absolutely crazy n dirty when i tell them they r pretty much involved in our lives (they eat, sleep, play, etc with us). My in laws n bro, sis in laws refuse to come over and often bring the topic up at family functions. We told them were never have kid n they think its a joke. My mom in law often tell us having cats in the house would bring bad luck n tell us were wasting money on cats food n the money should be used toward helping her fam. (r u serious? i rather help stray animals). Tell u what, asian culture doesnt believe in treating pet the same level as human n therefore, pets r often left outside n neglected. But im one of the exception, i guess. I just cant explain my profound love for my cats. I dont think i should be called abnormal just because im so in love with them. They come second in my life now after my parent, same for my husband. We come third in each others lives after our cats. Since we have them, i think our relationship has improved n strengthen a lot. So they r definitely my children.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      October 25, 2012 at 10:25 pm (7 years ago)

      There’s nothing abnormal about loving cats, Lynn. I’m sure it’s challenging since your culture doesn’t share your feelings about them, but never apologize for loving these beautiful creatures!

      Reply
    • Missytoby
      June 26, 2014 at 3:10 pm (5 years ago)

      You’re not alone, I feel sorry for them that don’t understand what love really means, hugs.

      Reply
  9. Erin Nellen
    May 11, 2012 at 2:40 pm (7 years ago)

    I’m guilty of all except the exclusion of family and the whole leaving thing as I’m a stay at home mom on limited income don’t get out much. Honestly the only thing in my life that comes before my two beautiful cats is my kids other than that they rule the house and get whatever they want

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      May 11, 2012 at 4:23 pm (7 years ago)

      You’re in good company, Ellen!

      Reply
  10. Robert Bryan
    May 11, 2012 at 1:05 pm (7 years ago)

    Love reading all of these comments!

    I have four cats, Henry, Scotty (a star trek name lol), Jamie (we thought he was a boy, ‘he’ was known as James lol), and Leo. Me and my partner love our cats, we will never have any children (we are a gay couple), so I suppose we do treat them as children. They are all very unique, with their own personalities.

    I do also fret when we go out (which is not very often), I am 26, most people i know are going out getting drunk, I see that as potential cat food money going to waste! lol When we do go on holidays, only my mum looks after them, even then, I ring twice a day (would be more, but my partner puts his foot down lol).

    I might be a ‘crazy cat person’, but hey, their could be far much worse things to be!

    I love the Conscious cat!

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      May 11, 2012 at 4:22 pm (7 years ago)

      You and your partner are cat people after my own heart, Robert. There’s nothing crazy about loving your cats. The few times I go away, my pet sitter is under strict orders to call or text at least twice a day to update me on how my girls are doing!

      Reply
  11. Stacy Hurt
    September 29, 2011 at 3:48 pm (8 years ago)

    I think the quiz was written by a dog person to make cat people feel like there is something wrong with them. But as I think that through maybe not given that dogs are even MORE codependent on their people (and vice versa).

    I have four cats; I love them all to bits! Somedays I rue having 4 especially when they are not getting along and it seems all I do is clean up peemail. But cods! I would be miserable without them! You’re right; that’s why we have pets.

    xoxo
    Ms. Stella’s Woman

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      September 29, 2011 at 6:28 pm (8 years ago)

      You’re in good company, Stacy.

      Reply
  12. Jennifer
    July 26, 2011 at 2:47 pm (8 years ago)

    This is so sweet. I also have trouble leaving town because of my Mikey and I am ok with being called “crazy” because of how much I love him. Mikey is my best friend and and I don’t feel crazy at all….just loved by Mikey.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      July 26, 2011 at 4:00 pm (8 years ago)

      You can see that you’re in good company, Jennifer. There’s nothing crazy about loving, and being loved, by a cat!

      Reply
  13. Joanne
    April 13, 2011 at 1:57 pm (8 years ago)

    I t looks like my husband and I are in good company. I guess we’re bordering on being “crazy cat people”. It’s just the three of us at our house and our “Montana” is definitely our furry baby. Of course our daily life revolves around the needs of our cat-he depends on us for everything, as all pets do of their people. He’s an inside only cat, so in our home he has his own room and cat trees in his room and our living room by windows. He has a specially made bed with his name on it in the office so he can be in there when we are. He’ll lie on his bed when he gets tired from “helping” us when we are on the computer. We have bird feeders up so he can watch them from his windows.

    We left him at a swanky pet hotel for the first time years ago when we went out of town for a few days and it was horrible. He clung to my husband and didn’t want to be left. When we called to check on him, they said he wasn’t eating, didn’t use his play times and hadn’t gone to the bathroom. we were so upset! From then on he stays in his own home with sitters coming to check him and play three times a day. Even with wonderful sitters, we still worry like all pet parents do. We are as attached to him as he is to us and if that makes us “crazy’ so be it!!!

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      April 13, 2011 at 2:22 pm (8 years ago)

      Joanne, I totally agree – if being attached to our cats, and spoiling them, makes us “crazy,” I’ll proudly wear that label!

      I think most cats will do much better in their own familiar environment. Of course you’ll still worry, but you’ll have the piece of mind that he’s not going to be stressed by being away from home.

      Reply
  14. Sharon
    April 13, 2011 at 6:50 am (8 years ago)

    I love both of my babies after having rescued them at 4 and half weeks then taming them I feel they are part of me 🙂

    Reply
    • Missytoby
      June 26, 2014 at 2:54 pm (5 years ago)

      Same here. I feel they’re part of myself, my very heart and soul…

      Reply
  15. Bernie
    March 12, 2011 at 3:21 am (9 years ago)

    Well I guess even without going through the laundry list of Do you’s I am not a crazy cat person, but a loving cat person who is the servant to her cat and happy to be so. 🙂

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      March 12, 2011 at 11:12 am (9 years ago)

      And you’re in excellent company here, Bernie!

      Reply
  16. Anna
    March 10, 2011 at 3:43 pm (9 years ago)

    Love this post, Ingrid! YES, WE are the normal ones ;)!!!!!!

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      March 10, 2011 at 9:01 pm (9 years ago)

      Thanks, Anna!

      Reply
  17. Michael O'Donoghue
    March 9, 2011 at 8:50 pm (9 years ago)

    I disagree with that check list, I think the Term ” Love too much” means that a person or pet is harmed by the love given. It might often be seen in people who collect cats. They might own 18 cats, and not even be able to fed them, let alone afford any medical/preventative health care. Or another situation might be at the end of life when a cat is suffering and the owners love stops them from saying goodbye. A huge number of people have very close relationships with their pets, and most studies have shown this only makes us better people.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      March 9, 2011 at 9:03 pm (9 years ago)

      Michael, you make some good points. Even though hoarding probably starts with what feels like love to the person collecting the cats, it’s actually a known psychological disorder. The end of life issue is a tough one, and I think often it’s not so much love that stops an owner from being able to let go as it is fear. Fear of what it’s going to be like to lose the pet, fear of what life without the pet is going to look like.

      Reply
        • Ingrid
          March 11, 2011 at 8:56 am (9 years ago)

          Thanks for sharing this link, Michael – that’s a wonderful article.

          Reply
  18. Mason Canyon
    March 9, 2011 at 4:35 pm (9 years ago)

    Well, from one crazy cat lady to another (LOL), you can’t help but love these adorable four-legged furry family members.

    Mason
    Thoughts in Progress

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      March 9, 2011 at 5:08 pm (9 years ago)

      As you can see, we’re in purrfect company here, Mason!

      Reply
  19. Jay
    March 9, 2011 at 1:22 pm (9 years ago)

    Guilty.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      March 9, 2011 at 2:03 pm (9 years ago)

      You’re in excellent company, Jay.

      Reply
  20. Julia Williams
    March 9, 2011 at 1:13 pm (9 years ago)

    How can there exist such a thing as “loving too much.” Impossible! I tried to leave a comment on this when I first read it on petconnection some weeks ago and it wouldn’t let me. I had been daydreaming of winning the lotto and taking a trip around the world. Then I realized that I wouldn’t want to leave my cats for that long! If that means I love them too much, so be it. They mean more to me than a trip around the world.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      March 9, 2011 at 2:03 pm (9 years ago)

      Julia, agreed. There’s no such thing as too much.

      Reply
    • Mickey
      July 19, 2011 at 10:29 am (8 years ago)

      If I won the lottery and wanted to travel, I would find a way to take them with me …. Even tho now that I have four it could get a little hard.
      I travel occasionally for business, and my ‘children’ have a couple of wonderful ‘aunts’ that come in and look after them when I’m gone … but I miss them terribly. when I went away on a 10-day cruise, I hired my godson to move into my apartment just so that they wouldn’t be lonely.
      I miss them everyday (when I’m at work) and carry their pics with me and show them off constantly.
      Loving them too much …. never !

      Reply
  21. Tammy
    March 9, 2011 at 11:58 am (9 years ago)

    I imagine that most people would think that I love my cats too much, but you know what? I don’t care! 🙂 My husband and I are similar in our interactions with our kitties. We both talk to them, they sleep in our bed, and they are part of our daily lives. (I work from home also!) I would be very lonely without our kitties! (Oh, and we haven’t taken a vacation in a while because we DON’T have a good petsitter or way to leave our kitties!)

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      March 9, 2011 at 2:02 pm (9 years ago)

      Tammy, you’re in good company. I know one couple who won’t travel together because of the cats. They’ll both take trips individually, so one of them can be home with the cats. Doesn’t sound like a bad arrangement to me!

      Reply
  22. Bonnie
    March 9, 2011 at 11:29 am (9 years ago)

    I never really understood what the term “codependent” meant — i had only heard it as an insult from one spouse to another, but realize now that her saying that to him really was not an insult to him as much as an insult to herself for calling him “codependent.” Since i have dogs and several cats, I have to base my feelings for them individually and for different reasons that i love each of them or enjoy each of them so this crazy quiz does not apply to me except that i don’t like to be away from home long term or short term because i just enjoy being with them all the time. Call me crazy, if you must 🙂

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      March 9, 2011 at 2:00 pm (9 years ago)

      Bonnie, you may be on to something. In the context of cats, “co-dependent” may actually be a compliment!

      Reply
  23. Dena Harris
    March 9, 2011 at 11:57 am (9 years ago)

    I’m so guilty of not wanting to leave my cats to travel. They are great cats but very shy of anyone except us, so they don’t let anyone else touch them, which means they get no attention when we travel. I do still travel, but it breaks my heart and I’m worried sick about them until I get home. Sue me. =^..^=

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      March 9, 2011 at 2:01 pm (9 years ago)

      Dena, one of the reasons why I love the cat writers conference so much is that we can all talk about how much we miss our cats and nobody thinks we’re crazy!

      Reply
  24. Careers4YourCat
    March 9, 2011 at 10:20 am (9 years ago)

    Don’t worry Ingrid, we won’t stage an intervention! 😉 (and if one must have a “vice” loving one’s cat is a good one to have!)

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      March 9, 2011 at 2:00 pm (9 years ago)

      Whew – I’m glad I don’t have to go to cat lover rehab, Ann!

      Reply
  25. Barbara Techel
    March 9, 2011 at 10:10 am (9 years ago)

    Loved this, Ingrid! I’m guilty as charged also, and happy to say I am guilty. I can’t even imagine what my life would look like if I didn’t love my pets this much.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      March 9, 2011 at 1:59 pm (9 years ago)

      Thanks, Barb! I agree, guilty, in this case, is a good thing.

      Reply
  26. James
    March 9, 2011 at 8:09 am (9 years ago)

    As a guy, I can honestly say I’m not a crazy cat LADY. With that said, I am guilty of some, if not most, of the questions on the quiz from time to time. To the last point about traveling, I think it’s good to point out that you can miss your pet or “stress out” about leaving, but the important thing is that you still leave when you have to. I hate being away from my cat overnight or for a few days, but I still do it from time to time by my own choice. He’s my best bud, but that doesn’t stop me from doing anything I want to do.

    I also want to point out that I think there’s a huge double standard when it comes to cats and dogs. You never hear of a crazy dog person. One could also argue that dogs interfere with ones life way more than cats do. I haven’t had a dog in years, but I know when I did he took up way more of my time, as well as my family’s, than my cat currently does.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      March 9, 2011 at 1:59 pm (9 years ago)

      James, you bring up an excellent point: why are there no crazy dog ladies or guys?

      Reply
  27. Melanie
    March 9, 2011 at 7:42 am (9 years ago)

    You mean they’re not people?? 😉 Guilty on all except excluding relationships with family and friends. We flew across country to Portland for six days last year and I cried once we got to the hotel because I knew it’d be so long until I saw Shelli again. We’re trying to plan a weekend getaway to a mountain cabin, and I’ve already found one that’s reasonably priced with a reasonable pet deposit. Crazy cat ladies (and men, because my hubby is too) are awesome, and no one can convince me otherwise! Excellent post!

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      March 9, 2011 at 1:59 pm (9 years ago)

      Thanks, Melanie. I can see that I’m in wonderful company.

      Reply
  28. Max the Quilt Cat
    March 9, 2011 at 7:16 am (9 years ago)

    Oh-oh… HH is guilty on all counts. Good thing for this support group or you all would be over the edge in a minute… Hang on… you’re almost normal.

    pawhugs, Max

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      March 9, 2011 at 1:57 pm (9 years ago)

      Max, I’ve always felt that normal is highly overrated…

      Reply
  29. Lynn
    March 9, 2011 at 7:04 am (9 years ago)

    I know exactly how you feel! My little Vixen is 23 years old now, and I don’t like going out of town because I know my time with her has to be fairly short. She’s on a special kidney diet and has a touch of kitty dementia that causes her to yowl for food every couple of hours, even though there’s still food in her dish. I give her a thyroid-boosting supplement to help her not feel so desperate about food. But I do worry when I have to be gone for even most of a day. So I can definitely relate!

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      March 9, 2011 at 1:57 pm (9 years ago)

      Lynn, 23? Wow! I can definitely see why you worry when you have to be gone even just for the day. Lots of good wishes going out to you and Vixen.

      Reply
  30. Link Bartholomew
    March 9, 2011 at 7:36 am (9 years ago)

    Oh boy, Marmie is borderline crazy cat lady. Although, she certainly doesn’t avoid trips because of me. In fact, she takes me with her!

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      March 9, 2011 at 1:58 pm (9 years ago)

      Sounds like you get the best of both worlds, Link.

      Reply
  31. Marg
    March 9, 2011 at 7:32 am (9 years ago)

    Sorry about that comment. Who knows which button I clicked to get that to happen. I really believe that all of us cat people are so much more normal than anyone who doesn’t love cats or just animals in general. I see nothing at all wrong with having your pet come first in your life if that pet makes you happy. I could go on and on, but I sure don’t think there is anything at all wrong with loving our cats and letting them run our lives. Great post Ingrid.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      March 9, 2011 at 1:58 pm (9 years ago)

      Marg, I agree, we’re the normal ones!

      Reply
      • Vanessa
        February 9, 2013 at 2:17 pm (7 years ago)

        Yep, yep, yep. Cat people rule! (Well, actually the cats rule but we enjoy serving them). 🙂

        Reply
  32. Marg
    March 9, 2011 at 7:27 am (9 years ago)

    Well I certainly am guilty on all accounts. I think tha

    Reply
  33. Di
    March 9, 2011 at 7:25 am (9 years ago)

    Yep me too! I was talking about taking a trip and as soon as I realised I had to leave Panda, I thought nah…I can stay home.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      March 9, 2011 at 1:58 pm (9 years ago)

      Wise choice, Di ;-).

      Reply
  34. Karen and Gerard
    March 9, 2011 at 5:34 am (9 years ago)

    I think this quiz is whacky and you love your cat as you should! Be proud! I love mine too!!!

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      March 9, 2011 at 1:56 pm (9 years ago)

      I never thought I had a problem, Karen and Gerard, but it’s nice to see I’m in such wonderful company!

      Reply

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