Debunking the Crazy Cat Lady Stereotype

This is the sequel to my June 14th blog post, Catmania

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“A catless writer is almost inconceivable. It’s a perverse taste, really, since it would be easier to write with a herd of buffalo in the room than even one cat; they make nests in the notes and bite the end of the pen and walk on the typewriter keys.”

Barbara Holland

The tale of catmania continues.  The stray cat siblings – two month-old “Fric” (male) and “Frac” (female), born to the beautiful and fiercely protective “Foo”, fathered by – not one,  but two – tomcats “Crazy Cat” (looks crazy, but is a doting father and “husband”) and “Smokey”  (Foo’s wild and passionate “bit on the side”)  – continue to grow and flourish in my garden.  By day, they alternatively frolic and sleep (Foo lounges and tomcats go hunting) in the lush tropical flora of my back yard.  Every evening they make their way to the side yard, in anticipation of dinnertime.  They hide, and wait. Their patience is rewarded when they hear the sound of my front door opening.  They recognize the voice of the human who says (every time, without fail) in a sing-song voice: “It’s dinnertime!”   The neighbors (within earshot) shake their heads and roll their eyes.  The crazy cat lady places down three plates of food and refills all the water bowls with cold, fresh filtered water.  Then she leaves.  All five cats come out of hiding and the crazy cat lady watches and smiles from behind her window.

By late night, the cat family gather together on the side deck.  Whilst the mum and one of the dads  lounge and watch indulgently (the restless casanova Smokey spends an awful lot of time prowling about elsewhere), Fric and Frac wreak havoc.

Each morning, the crazy cat lady goes out to refresh the water bowls and remove the empty food plates.  She also straightens up all the fallen plant pots, picks up the patio seat cushions that somehow found their way into the jasmine bushes, and covers the tears on the car cover (to avoid the wrath of her husband who, incidentally, is not inclined to catmania).

Granted, I am a crazy cat lady ― but not in a truly insane way, like the character of Dr. Eleanor Abernathy (from the television show, The Simpsons).

And recently, I learned that I am not alone.

Throughout the neighborhood, there are women (on every street) who take it upon themselves to feed the stray cats that inhabit their yards.  These women are young, middle-aged and old.  They are students, business professionals, artisans, writers, and homemakers.

They are not insane.  They are simply nurturers. 

“Authors like cats because they are such quiet, lovable, wise creatures, and cats like authors for the same reasons.”

Robertson Davies 

Cats are smart.  Although they are natural-born hunters, they will gravitate to places where they may find a hassle-free meal.  It just so happens that women tend to be the nourishers and caretakers. That being said, there are also just as many crazy cat gentlemen. Two streets down from me, there is a fellow who always has a row of water and food bowls set up beside his front porch.  I saw a litter of kittens curled up together near one of his jasmine bushes.  What is it with cats and jasmine?

I digress.

Some men enjoy cats because they are more self-sufficient, more low-maintenance  than dogs.  Ernest Hemingway  and Sir Winston Churchill would probably concur.  They were serious cat lovers.

As for my being a cat lady, I don’t mind the title.  I use it tongue-in-cheek. I will keep feeding this family of strays until they decide that it’s time to wander on, as strays inevitably do.

Will I be sad when that day comes?  Hell, yes!   

I enjoy watching them interact with each other,  and I am discovering a lot about animal behavior.  We humans could learn a lesson or two from them.  

“And how do you know that you’re mad? “To begin with,” said the Cat, “a dog’s not mad. You grant that?” I suppose so, said Alice. “Well then,” the Cat went on, “you see a dog growls when it’s angry, and wags it’s tale when it’s pleased. Now I growl when I’m pleased, and wag my tail when I’m angry. Therefore I’m mad.” 
― Lewis CarrollAlice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass

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Images via petmd.com and dennysfunnyquotes.blogspot.com.

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