What Being a Cat Lady Really Means

cat-lady

The term “cat lady” has gotten a bad reputation. It brings up images of a lonely old spinster living a secluded life, with only her cats for companionship. Worse yet, it makes you think of news stories about hoarders who live in squalid conditions with hundreds of cats. Often combined with the word “crazy,” the pejorative nature of the label leaves a bad taste, even when used with humorous self-deprecation.

The term “cat lady” is a stereotype, whether it’s used in conjunction with the word “crazy” or on its own, and like all stereotypes, it is overly simplified and based on assumptions. I consider myself a cat lady, and I’m far from crazy. Many of my friends are cat ladies, and they aren’t crazy, either.

So what does being a cat lady really mean?

It means loving cats, and appreciating them for the unique and fascinating creatures they are.

It means educating yourself and others about cat health and nutrition to ensure a happy, healthy life for the cats in your care. Cats don’t require much, but they do require us to be their advocated when it comes to their health and well-being.

It means understanding feline behavior. Behavioral problems are the main reason why cats are returned to shelters, and many of these issues are easily corrected when life is viewed from the cat’s point of view. Thinking like a cat isn’t all that difficult, and understanding a cat’s behavior, enhances the bond between cat and human.

It means caring for cats – and this doesn’t just mean caring for our own pet cats, but caring for cats in our communities. It means supporting local shelters and rescue groups. This can be done through volunteering: fostering, visiting shelter cats and socializing them, assisting at adoption events, and more. This can also be done through donating money or supplies.

It means understanding and supporting TNR (trap-neuter-return) programs and policies, and educating others about the plight of free roaming cats.

Cat ladies are as varied as the cats they love. They’re single or married. They’re grandmothers, mothers and daughters. They’re writers, lawyers, doctors, waitresses, retail sales clerks, and secretaries. They’re wealthy, comfortably off or barely scraping by. They may not have much in common, but they will recognize each other when they meet. What unites them is their unabiding and unapologetic love for cats.

And that’s what being a cat lady really means.

This article was originally published on Answers.com and is republished with permission.

17 Comments on What Being a Cat Lady Really Means

  1. Arlene
    January 3, 2019 at 3:24 am (11 months ago)

    I’m not ashamed of being a crazy cat lady, actually that’s my name on Facebook, spelled krayzeekatlaydee, hahaha! And I’m proud of it, i used to have 39 cats back home. Now, down to 4, if i have enough money and a large house here in the US, I’ll adopt more of them! I feel i can live without a man in my life, but i can’t without a furry feline… I’ll go crazy!

    Reply
  2. Tulsi G
    June 18, 2014 at 6:59 pm (5 years ago)

    I just read your article via another link. It was perfect (purr-fect), and I agree wholeheartedly with everything. What struck me, personally, as the most powerful word of the article was “unapologetic”. I can feel myself being lulled into the “politeness” (oh, yeah, for WHOM?) of a conversation by going along with the crazy cat lady jeers (yeah, I guess I’m a little crazy for cats, after all, but being labeled crazy because of A LOVE OF cats? Whoa!). I only have FOUR, but if my house (and salary) were bigger I would most certainly entertain expanding my feline family. I’ve made many a good friend via “feline bonding”. Let’s call that another bonus, shall we, of being an ailurophile. There are “crazy” people all around, for sure, but being identified as one because of one’s affinity for feline fur (my cheap love of alliteration is showing – sorry) is just lazy. I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again – I wish I had invented cats! What beautiful creatures – Poetry with Fur, indeed! I love cats, but I no longer feel the need to apologize for it. I am a cat lady. Hear me purr!

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      June 19, 2014 at 6:36 am (5 years ago)

      “I am cat lady, hear me purr” – I love it, Tulsi!

      Reply
      • Tulsi G
        June 19, 2014 at 12:39 pm (5 years ago)

        🙂

        Reply
  3. Christine Michaels
    October 7, 2013 at 2:06 pm (6 years ago)

    Just another cat lady dropping by. Caren Gittleman and Deb Barnes said it best.

    Moreso, the term is also used for any woman who owns more than 4 cats although supposedly the new limit is 6 . But I have 6 and care for 20 community cats and teach TNR. So yes I’m a proud cat lady.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      October 7, 2013 at 2:34 pm (6 years ago)

      I wonder who comes up with these random numbers, Christine. You certainly defy the stereotype!

      Reply
  4. Deb Barnes - Zee and Zoey
    October 5, 2013 at 1:13 pm (6 years ago)

    So true… I always say if you define crazy as being compassionate, caring, and passionate about loving cats and wanting to make the world a better place for them, then I am crazy in that sense. But the stereotype crazy, no, that is not what us cat ladies are about at all…

    Reply
  5. Cynthia Southern
    October 2, 2013 at 1:56 am (6 years ago)

    Nice article…being a cat lady is a good thing as you so eloquently point out in your excellent article. If it wasn’t for cat ladies feral cats wouldn’t stand a chance. They would have no food nor would they be fixed and prevent an exploding feral cat population.

    Reply
  6. Ingrid
    October 1, 2013 at 7:08 pm (6 years ago)

    I’m glad this article is resonating with so many of you! I wish there was a way to meet all of you in real life – can you imagine the fun we would have sharing cat stories!

    Reply
  7. Sue Brandes
    October 1, 2013 at 2:16 pm (6 years ago)

    Always enjoy your articles. My family calls me crazy cat lady cause I love anything to do with cats. I have loved cats all my life.

    Reply
  8. Lynda
    October 1, 2013 at 11:51 am (6 years ago)

    So well said! This article is a keeper/sharer for certain. You put it so succinctly. And finally I know the author to my favorite saying (cats being the visible soul)!

    And just for the record, my craziness has nothing to do with my cats.

    Reply
  9. Debbie Blackburn
    October 1, 2013 at 11:45 am (6 years ago)

    Yes, we do recognize each other when we meet.

    Reply
  10. Caren Gittleman
    October 1, 2013 at 8:55 am (6 years ago)

    LOVE THIS! “Cat ladies are as varied as the cats they love. They’re single or married. They’re grandmothers, mothers and daughters. They’re writers, lawyers, doctors, waitresses, retail sales clerks, and secretaries. They’re wealthy, comfortably off or barely scraping by. They may not have much in common, but they will recognize each other when they meet. What unites them is their unabiding and unapologetic love for cats.
    And that’s what being a cat lady really means.”

    But…that being said…..I AM CRAZY!!
    xoxoxo

    Reply
  11. Marie Evans
    October 1, 2013 at 8:22 am (6 years ago)

    I’m not crazy, but everyone calls me the cat lady. I have not had less than 15 cats for over 20 years. Right now it’s 21. All but # 21 are spayed/neutered, and she is just too young. I look at all my kitty cats and think of how many unwanted homeless cats there would be if not for my efforts. I love my cats and they live a royal life, but my real motive is all those that would be born without me. as well at the 21 that live with me, I feed about 15 feral cats, that are also fixed. I don’t know how I would do it without The Cat Network and God who seems to just provide what I need.

    Reply
  12. Jobi and Fisher
    October 1, 2013 at 8:01 am (6 years ago)

    Great article! I never think of either Cat Lady or Crazy Cat Lady as being derogatory, though. I guess that means I are one.

    Reply
  13. Dorothy
    October 1, 2013 at 7:33 am (6 years ago)

    A great article! Thanks for explaining to the world what it means to be a “cat lady”. While it’s a label I wear with pride, like all labels it only tells part of the story. While I love cats and consider the need to spay/neuter all pet cats a hot button of mine, I also will speak with a the same amount of passion about spay/neutering the canine population as well. All domesticated animals deserve to be treated with respect and care. Lessening the population of animals dying in kill shelters can be done if everyone spays & neuters their pets. So yes, I’m a cat lady and this issue does make me a little bit crazy. And it will as long as these dependent animals as dying due to lack of birth control. It’s time to stop blaming the shelters and start looking in the mirror. …..and I’ll stop now. This subject really does make me nuts.

    Reply
  14. Traveling Cats
    October 1, 2013 at 5:10 am (6 years ago)

    Totally agree. Congratulations on the article.

    Reply

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