Cat Lady (noun): A single woman who dotes upon her cat or cats. The term is usually considered pejorative, though it is sometimes embraced.
If you are a single woman out of college (or in college for that matter), and you own a cat (or cats), chances are you’ve been called a cat lady once or twice… and probably not in a good way. But with the advent of young and popular cat ladies such as Taylor Swift, the owner of Meredith Grey and Special Agent Olivia Benson, and Katy Perry who also has two cats, the appropriately-named Kitty Purry and Monkey, shouldn’t the negative connotation of cat lady finally be retired?
I’ve loved animals for as long as I can really remember. We always had cats growing up, but we also had dogs, birds, chickens, rabbits and fish, so I don’t think I ever realized I was a cat lady in training. That is, until I found this while going through my childhood things last Christmas…
I wrote this essay in 1989 about my cat, Lulu. If you can’t read my 11-year-old cursive, it says, “Me and my cat are probably best friends. Whenever I’m sad, she comes up to me and purrs.” Honestly, I don’t know how my teacher kept a straight face while reading it. She probably didn’t; most likely she took my essay and read it aloud to her friends over several glasses of wine and they all had a good laugh. The rest of the essay went on to talk about how Lulu helped me when I was sad, and sometimes I helped her down from the top of the car. I’m a saint like that. The most terrifying thought I have about this is: what if we had to read these aloud in class?! THE HORROR. I’ve clearly repressed the memory.
Here’s my best friend, Lulu.
It’s now 2015. What if we looked at cat ownership as a positive thing? What if we spent more time discussing the benefits of cat ownership as opposed to the negatives? Call me crazy (cat lady), but could we as a society, change the way we look at women with cats? Does it really have to have such a negative stigma?
For example, studies have shown that cat owners are less likely to die of cardiovascular disease or heart attack and have a lower risk of stroke. Cat ownership has also been shown to lower blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides, and on top of all that, owning a cat when your children are young may possibly reduce the risk of childhood allergies and asthma. Plus they’re cute and fluffy and make the best Internet videos.
So, can’t we all agree that cat ownership for women at least deserves a closer look instead of immediately relegating us to crazy old lonely spinsters? My super healthy heart thinks so. Besides, if cats weren’t so popular, what else would you watch on Youtube?
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