Being a human being of the female variety who loves and owns cats I have been made fully aware of the "Crazy Cat Lady" stereotype. I have never ever been a fan.
A number of cat ladies have decided that they were going to 'embrace' the crazy part of this status and fully ignore the negative that comes with it. Kudos to them. Really. It is so nice when you find people who can be made fun of and they simply do not care. Unfortunately that has never stopped people from continuing to talk badly. Nor does it empower people, of lesser constitutions who feel the need to not be made fun of, to stand up for themselves. However, I do think that by allowing this stereotype to continue we harm cats.
Just about every time the conversation about 'crazy' comes up in regards to cat people, invariably the question about why the people who love dogs aren't considered crazy, and inevitably someone pipes up and says "yes, I am a crazy dog person" It is not the same.
|Crazy Cat Lady action figure vs Crazy Dog Lady image (from this etsy shop)|
So what does this have to do with improving the lives of cats? Young women are afraid of being the crazy cat lady and being shun by friends and potential future husbands / mates. I have actually heard this argument from men as well. Being called a Crazy Cat Lady is and always will be a 'bad thing' to non cat people (except those people who don't care what others call them).
In 2013 the tv show "The Crazy Ones" did an episode with a cat in it. If you aren't aware of the show, it is about an ad agency with four young people, two male and two female - one of which is the daughter of the owner of the agency Simon - which just happens to be the late great Robin Williams. I adored the show, but this one episode in particular really spoke to me and I adore the ending, but there were a couple of scenes where Syndey (played by Sarah Michelle Gellar) is either told or parrots that older single women should NOT have a cat as it spells out their doom for ever finding a mate which should be their life goal. I particular dislike this moment seventeen minutes into the show (well this video - which was pretty badly recorded but was the only version out there right now)
It is sad that we as a society have come to this. I can only guess that cats are vilified because they are independent and not pack animals like dogs. Liking cats says you are okay not going along with the group and spending time in your own company; Liking dogs, being pack animals that generally need to socialize and need approval of the being in charge. On a personal note, I find this so fascinating because men rarely state they want a clingy seeking approval woman in their life but want a strong independent woman, but yet they are drawn to dogs and shun the idea of a cat... but I digress.
Cats have such horrible reputations. Almost everyone who comes into my house is amazed I have seven+ cats (seven who live here and any random number of cats who are being fostered) because in general my house does not smell of cats, nor is there an abundance of cat hair, or whatever cat stereotype they expect to find. Yes, my cats are raw fed so their litter box smell is minimal to begin with, but as completely sane cat people, we take care of our cat's needs and their refuse. Why is it people don't expect the house of a dog person to smell like wet dog or be covered in excrement but they do for cats? My cats don't (generally) suck up to strangers and stick their muzzles in inappropriate places, and as such they are labeled aloof, despite the fact that they were all over me two minutes before company showed up.
And then there was this video...
(btw, the 47 year old kicks butt!!)
This is an absolutely lovely video until you get to the 53 yr old at 2:15 where she says one cat is enough cats... it is not only what she says, but HOW she says it. I literally commented with a swear word on the Facebook post where I first saw it, fortunately my phone changed it into "Duck you 53 yr old, cats are awesome" which I think makes my point a bit more elegantly, because when you swear in the comments section, no one listens to you, and they put you in that 'crazy' category of people who don't need to be listened to (see what I did there?)
Owning a cat, and better yet saying you own a cat, should not be something you have to feel brave to do. No one has to 'stand up' for owning a dog, nor justify to anyone if they want to spend their time visiting the theme parks of the US to ride all of the roller coasters, go spelunking, or collect rubber ducks. We should never EVER have to use the words 'heck I even have a husband' when talking about how awesome cats are, because seriously, cats are freakin awesome! and they certainly do not need us to justify it.
So let's not buy in, give credence, or accept that owning a cat makes you crazy. What makes you crazy is having an actual mental condition.
Owning a cat.. well, being owned by a cat.. is..