There used to be a time when the term cat lady was always preceded with “crazy”. Being called a cat lady was seen by society as a negative thing. But just because you have cats, doesn’t mean you should be labelled as an unhinged crazy cat lady (or a crazy cat guy or a crazy cat parent), right?
Let’s dig into what’s going on — and point out why choosing to live with cats doesn’t necessarily make you a cat lady, in the old-fashioned sense.
First up, let’s recap the origins of the crazy cat lady phenomenon. Traditionally, the phrase was used to talk about elderly women who were often living on their own, were generally cut off from society, and had accumulated possibly way too many cats. Some theories even suggest that the idea of cat hoarders come from this stereotyping.
The conception of the cat lady made its way into popular culture, appearing in comic strips like Old Dame Trot And Her Comical Cat back in the dusty 1800s. As cats became more domesticated, they often wound up hanging out in the kitchen — partly to keep warm and toasty by the fire but also to ward off vermin. This further enhanced the idea of women and cats being somehow bonded, as in those days women rather than men were more likely to be found toiling in the kitchen.
Throw in the moral panic about witchcraft — complete with witches hanging around cauldrons with their cats — and the idea that there’s something wrong with women who live with cats became enshrined in the collective consciousness.
Thankfully, those days are long gone.
Cats have successfully taken over huge swathes of popular culture and about 95% of the Internet (at a conservative estimate). Your favorite pop stars and actors are deep in the feline game; cat cafes are popular hang out spots; fashion and lifestyle brands produce limited lines featuring feline insignia. Embracing the cat life in 2018 has nothing to do with being a shunned individual living in the margins and communicating only to a clowder of kitties.
In fact, maybe it’s those people without cats who need to take a good look at what’s really going on in their life…