‘Cat Lady’ Yes, Crazy No
Although it is not my given name, I am called Kat by most of my friends simply because cats seem to be drawn to my doorstep for one reason or another. I love all animals, but cats have been the most important in my life. My nickname started as a joke many years ago. I was fostering a number of rescue cats that had been temporarily removed from their shelter. A friend took one look at my boarders and in horror said she hoped I was not going to turn into one of those “crazy cat ladies.”
At the time I thought she was joking, and proudly said that I hoped I would. She was not.
I was happy to be known as a crazy cat lady, but began to take umbrage at the “crazy” part—the idea that because I was a female of a certain age, loved cats, and worked for their welfare, I was crazy. There are just as many gentlemen who adore their felines, and whether we cat women are a bit eccentric is beside the point. There are people with a love for polar bears, shiba inu, or hummingbirds (all wonderful creatures in their own right) who are not defined by it.
Some people were getting downright nasty about it. So I dropped the Crazy and became Kat.
With your permission, I would like to use this column to discuss the myths and untruths about cats and those of us who love them, while at the same time sharing some stories about interesting cats and a few of the humans they have owned. I hope you will share as well. Most of all, I would like to have fun and a few laughs with the cats—but never at them (they hate being laughed at more than anything).
Lesson #1 in being owned by a cat: They get even for insults (intended or not), late meals, and dirty litterboxes. That is the short list, anyway. Each feline has his or her own set of rules, and it is up to us mere mortals to figure them out. They were once worshipped, and they have not forgotten that. They allowed us to domesticate them and render them helpless in this world, and it is our responsibility to repay them for their sacrifice.
Myth #1: Most people are cat people or dog people. Recently I read that cat people are cold, introverted, and anti-social while dog people are outgoing and friendly. I prefer to think that we who like cats or dogs (or any creature) are just animal-lovers. The preferences are all over the map.
My reasons for loving cats are many. The biggest goes back to the fact that I was allergic to almost every living thing outdoors while growing up—except cats. So I could be found in my room reading a book on many days when the pollen or asphalt or whatever was making me miserable. When I could, I rode horses or played with dogs or rabbits, but those days were few and far between. My most constant companion was a cat. What is more natural than to have a cat curled up next to one in that situation? I still associate the burning of Atlanta in Gone with the Wind with loud purring.
As I grew older, cats were just part of my being. In my mind, a house is just not a home without one. Reading with a cat or two by my side is still how I wind down every night. And purring has lowered my
blood pressure considerably, which makes my cardiologist happy too.
Albert Schweitzer said, “There are two means of refuge from the misery of life—music and cats.” I concur. Though I would add to the list good books and excellent friends, not necessarily in that order.
Above: The author's cat Yoshi enjoys some web-surfing--feline style.
Kat Brown of Albuquerque is a lifelong animal-lover, especially of cats. She wears many hats, but animal-lover is perhaps the one that has given her the most pleasure. Share your cat stories or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.