I Am a Sane Cat Lover

Should cat fans embrace the phrase "Crazy Cat Lady," or should we pick a better title to express our appreciation of cats?

By Janiss Garza | Posted: February 3, 2014, 10 a.m. EST

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Cat Lady Stereotype
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Cat Lady Stereotype
Although you are sane cat person, you might still dress up your cats on occasion. And that's OK.
I don't know one cat lover who finds the term "crazy cat lady" acceptable. Say the words "crazy cat lady," and people imagine a mentally unstable, bathrobe-clad middle-aged lady, her unkempt hair flying as she herds a dozen or so cats. This unflattering visual is demeaning and marginalizes those who favor felines. Plus it's inaccurate.

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Cats are America's favorite pet. The American Pets Products Association estimated that in 2012 there were 95.6 million owned cats in the U.S. versus 83.3 million owned dogs. The APPA also estimates that there are 2.11 cats per household and 91% of them are either spayed or neutered. Families, couples and single people, male and female, young and old, all share their homes with companion cats.

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So when a company that shall go nameless recently ran a marketing campaign based around the term "crazy cat lady," I found it both disappointing and disheartening. Especially since I love and use their product. They claim they are trying to re-brand the stereotype. I disagree. I think using a stereotype in any form reinforces it. What would be better would be to create new, positive phraseology: feline-friendly, cat enthusiast, CATvocate ... or how about just "cat lover?" I consider myself a sane cat lover.

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OK, that is not wholly correct. I am not completely sane. Admittedly, I am a touch crazy. But my craziness and my love for cats are two different things. I was an odd child and only developed a passion for cats as a teenager. In fact, my love for cats is one of my saner aspects. I adore my cats and consider them family members – the same way dog people do their canines. It is my responsibility to care for them to the best of my ability.

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I don't as a rule dress up my cats (unlike some dog people – if you've been to any pet store recently, you'll notice a long wall of pet outfits, and they are designed to fit dog bodies). Although I run a blog in my cat's "voice," I don't actually believe she channels anything through me, and I am sure she does not care one whit about the internet fame she's achieved (although she does appreciate the comped treats and toys). I will never have dozens of cats because I know I can barely handle the three I have. There are limits and boundaries to my love of cats. I am a sane cat lover, and I prefer pet companies speak to that side of me.

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There's nothing crazy about being a cat lover. Get over it.
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I Am a Sane Cat Lover

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Reader Comments

Kat    International

8/4/2014 4:06:30 AM

I think "cat mom" and "cat dad" are the best words for it, since it describes the actual relation between the human and animal. We love them and give them food, toys, candy, and a place to live, just like parents do with their children. Many even call their pets "their babies", which is, of course, just a normal display of affection, even though some dumb asses tell me "but you DO KNOW that he isn't ACTUALLY your baby, right??" as if they think I would truly believe that I have given birth to a cat. Who's the crazy person here?

Sherry    Curryville, PA

8/3/2014 8:09:12 AM

I just love cats. I have 8 housecats and over 30 outside cats. I know people think that I'm nuts. The way I look at it is someone needs to take care of them. And in return I get endless love from them.

Mary    Circleville, NY

8/2/2014 10:04:12 AM

madame meow will be my nickname. :-)

Phyllis    Baltimore, MD

2/10/2014 8:04:01 PM

I couldn't agree more. I have two cats (at home) and three feral cats outside my husband and I take care of. I will not accept any foolish stereotype like, "crazy cat lady". We have to fight this nonsense. We are cat lovers and caretakers of these beautiful works of nature.Thank you so much for your wonderful article.

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