SOMETHING FOR EVERYBODY: A WEB PAGE IN DEFENSE OF CRAZY CAT-LADIES
Regular readers of this humble column know that every once in a while I like to talk about the unsung heroes of the animal world known to all as “the cat lady.” Nearly every hamlet, village, town, or city IN THE WORLD has one (or more.) I’m sure that 99 percent of everyone reading this article probably knows one. And many of you may even be one. In my many travels of this world I’ve seen these selfless, kind-hearted, dedicated defenders of all ‘catdom’ out there doing daily battle on behalf of their furry, four-legged charges: from the lady in Buenos Aries who has devoted her dying days to feeding the thousands of cats that share their cemetery home with the late Evita Peron, to a lady singing at the very top of her lungs as she fed a poop-house load of cats on her second-story balcony in San Francisco’s North Beach, to a Palestinian lady surrounded by no less than twenty lounging cats, all of them sitting in the shade in front of her lonely gas station on Israel’s Jordan Valley Road between Jericho and the Sea Of Galilee.
Readers of my equally humble second book, Sometimes It Makes You Wonder, also know that I (by virtue of being the first to do so) codified the rules for being a cat lady. A few of these rules are: 1. In order to be a cat lady, you must indeed be a lady; that is, a person of the female gender. (I know there are a few men out who also have lots of cats, but I have a way of dealing with these kind fellows that I’ll mention shortly.) 2. In order to officially be a cat lady, you need to have at least seven cats. Why seven? I’m not sure; it may be that I just like that number, or, that is the number of cats that can be fed by an average-sized bag of cat food. 3. Once you have achieved cat lady status, you are a cat lady for life. Even if you get rid of all of your cats.
My original plan for this article was to share some of my personal cat lady stories—both the heartwarming and the somewhat repulsive—that I’ve collected over the last twenty years of my dealings with these most-blessed of our fellow humans. I think I could actually write a whole book on cat ladies if I had the time! But in my early Monday morning scramble for some clarity as to what to say or not, I had the bright idea to go onto that vast, modern-day resource of all that is knowable, the Internet. And sure enough, there is a website dedicated to the subject titled the Crazy Cat Ladies Society. http://www.crazycatladies.org
The goal of the founders of the website is to try and refute the notion that all women who own multiple cats are crazy people. (For men who may be multiple cat owners, they have a male auxiliary.) In their own words: “The purpose of the Crazy Cat Ladies Society & Gentlemen’s Auxiliary is to use humor to counter the stereotypes made about people who love cats. By claiming the phrase ‘crazy cat lady’ on our own terms, we take away its power to offend, and have a lot of fun while doing so.”
After reading the website, which is basically a come-on for crazy cat lady tee shirts, I went back to the Google search page and downloaded an article which sort of put into some perspective the question whose somewhat obvious conclusions (because of my personal fondness for most cat ladies) I wouldn’t personally touch with a ten foot pole. The story on http://www.UPI.com was titled: “Cat Owners Resent ‘Crazy Cat Lady’ Moniker.” Here are a few of what I found to be the most interesting points (as well as my comments.)
“Most domestic cats live in multiple-cat households.” (No big secret here.)
“The survey found that 88 percent of multiple-cat owners credit their cats with making their lives more fulfilling and rewarding.” (Being as Theresa and I are multiple-cat owners (4), I agree with this as well.)
“96 percent of multiple-cat owners describe themselves as being ‘caring and loving,’ 90 percent use ‘generous,’ 87 percent say ‘well adjusted’ . . .” (Hum! If 87 percent of multiple cat owners describe themselves as well adjusted, than what do the other 13 percent feel about themselves? Please, please, please, all of you cat ladies (and male auxiliary) out reading this, don’t get po’d at me. I’m just the messenger!)
“Nearly one-quarter of multiple-cat owners surveyed say they would like to eliminate the ‘crazy cat lady’ stereotype and prefer being called ‘cat lover.’ (Cat lover is good, but in most of the hard core cases I know, cat lady—plus or minus the ‘crazy’—is still more suitable.)
(And finally, the article polled hundreds of non-cat owners as well.) “75 percent of non-cat owners describe multiple-cat owners as homebodies, 69 percent are considered by non-cat owners as lonely, and 58 percent are described as a ‘crazy cat lady.’” (What do I think of this collective opinion? I’ll close with two proverbs from my website: http://www.worldsvet.com)
“A house without either a cat or a dog is the house of a scoundrel.”- Portuguese
Proverb“When rats infest the Palace a lame cat is better than the swiftest horse.”- Chinese Proverb