The Vent

Cat Lady Stigma

5 years ago by

Cat Lady Stigma

I’m going to say it — loud and proud — I am a cat lady.

In fact, as I write this, I’m cat lady-ing… glass of red wine to my right, fat British Shorthair affectionately named Clu the Cat, to my left… perfectly positioned on his back with his belly up, paw out-stretched and eyes full of love.

How these magical creatures got a bad wrap as a replacement for human companionship amongst single women, I’ll never understand (and for the record, I am happily coupled up). There’s nothing wrong, or different about a woman getting a cat over a dog (or bird, rat, reptile, whatever). And don’t get me wrong, I like dogs, I’ve even owned dogs, all kinds of pets for that matter but shouldn’t being partial to cats be ok too??

The main goal of having a cat is the same — a creature that fits your life, your habits, and will love you unconditionally.

So to all those who think we women who own cats are crazy, not only are you wrong but you’re also missing out… and to those single ladies who want a cat, but are scared to pull the trigger because of a tired societal stigma — I say who cares —go for it.

Cats are cool. They’re smart. They’re affectionate. They’re inspirational (see: Karl Lagerfeld’s Choupette). They’re mysterious. They’re quirky. They’re independent. They’re so loveable.

Interestingly, cats have all the same qualities I admire the most in my closest (human) companions. So give a cat lady a break, I’m normal and I have normal human relationships and I love, love, love my cat.


Add yours
  • I agree with you. Cats make wonderful pets and nobody gets onto men for having a dog. I think it’s just another way the patriarchy tries to control women……

  • Helen – thank you! So good to hear from another proud cat owner.

  • I wasn’t aware that having a cat was so stigmatized. But I agree with you that they make great companions. I particularly cherish their independence, despite all the love they are willing to give and receive.

    Your fellow cat-lady,


  • Ktinka — couldn’t agree more! Their independence is one of the things I admire the most about them. Thanks for commenting in solidarity ;).

  • Men who love cats are the best mates

  • They really are! My fiancé and I decided to get a cat together, and he’s just as smitten as I am.

  • J’ai toujours ete fascinee par les chats et j’adore leur esprit independant. J’en ai eu plusieurs, tres differents les uns des autres mais tout aussi attachants.

  • Butters' dad February, 20 2017, 7:57 / Reply

    My wife and I have 6, about to get our 7th. My friends call me the crazy cat man, or crazy cat dad. Doesn’t bother me. I wish I could take them all.

  • Yes! I completely agree with all of this! They are so quirky and do the funniest things. My little fur baby always puts a smile on my face haha. I never understood how being called a cat lady is a bad thing, I’m very proud to be one too! Great article! I LOVE that little kitten! Too cute

  • Alanis – love that you call yours your “fur baby,” too.
    Thanks for sharing!

  • J’ai été longtemps une cat lady mais à cause d’allergies j’ai du me résigner à devenir une Poodles Mom. Mes deux derniers Coco & Chanel vivre maintenait heureux chez mon grand frère.

  • Coco & Chanel! Too much, great names… (and I’m sure they miss you).

  • First time I ever comment. I love cats, I love my cat, he’s the best, I agree with everything you wrote and agree with all the commenters above me. Cats are the best.

  • Inbar — love how cats inspired you to comment for the first time!

  • Thank you! So tired of it, too. Loving my three cats – would looove to have a dog, too, if I could. Think I know aaaall the cat lady jokes by now. Btw – your cat is gorgeous! Following Clu on Instagram now. :D

  • You’re so sweet to follow @Clu_the_Cat, he thinks he’s pretty handsome himself ;).

  • cats are rather more complex than dogs and rather more interessant! Do love them. And every cat is different

  • I agree! In fact, if I ever was to get a pet, I would go for a cat – I love how independent they are and that they’re not asking for attention (although when I ‘babysit’ my brother’s cat I still find myself distracted and not able to get the work done all the time ;D)

  • Go for it! Adopt a cat who needs a home… you’ll have the best time.

  • CATHERINE February, 21 2017, 3:16 / Reply

    I’ve always had cats growing up, and I do love their independence, cats don’t have owners, they have staff as the saying goes; so true! Maybe that’s why
    strong independent women have turned to these lovely animals…

  • Catherine – you’re so right… they definitely set the tone, not the other way around!

  • oui totalement ça, je suis en couple, j’en ai deux et une vie totalement épanouie. Par contre sur le fait que le chat s’adapte à notre vie, je crois que c’est un peu faux, C’est aussi une relation, on s’adapte à leur caractère et leurs petites manies (j’en ai deux avec un caractère très différents).
    Mais ils donnent pleins d’amour et de bons moments <3

  • Sophie — very true. We definitely adapt to their personalities (and I’m guilty of catering to them a bit too much)!

  • Ana Leonor February, 21 2017, 5:29 / Reply

    Totally agree! OMG, I’m married (11 years!), I have a daughter (8 years) soooo…a lot of company around here :), it has nothing to do with being single!!! Anyway I could not live without my 2 furry cats: 1 british longhair + 1 british shorthair just like yours :) They are my 2 babies (after my daughter) and I cannot imagine my life without them! In fact, we’ve been considering a 3rd adittion: another british blue shorthair!!!! totally cat lady family over here (my husband loves them as much as I do btw)

  • A fellow British Shorthair owner!! I’m biased, but am convinced they’re simply the best (lazy, but sweet, independent, etc)… we’re also thinking about adding to our family(!) but not sure yet.
    Love to you and your sweet fam.

  • Cats’ independence is also mythic: actually, they’re not made of obedience like dogs are, but they are like “oh, I want to to do this, and you must not decide for me”. That’s all. This is the reason why I think they are rather more interesting than dogs… More personality and humor! They are also much more clever and smarter than we usually think… They are a big ability to deduct something from a situation…

  • Jicky — with you all the way. I’m convinced Clu does everything for a very specific reason (lying on back? feed me, I’m adorable… purring and sitting on head? water me, I’m adorable… face rub? treats please, yes, because I’m adorable).

  • Gaea Vilage February, 21 2017, 5:46 / Reply

    Caitlin, I’m with you all the way! The only thing I don’t quite agree with is the concept of “cat owner”….We don’t own cats, cats bless us by coming into our lives and giving us their love and energy. It’s kind of more the other way round….we are their humans. Look at your cozy, cuddly, stretched out kittycat – he / she is actually the true ruler of the roost. I have always had cats. Now I also have a dog, totally different vibe. Dogs call you out when you are stressing, they remind you to play, they ask you to stop that stuff you’re doing and take them for a walk. They love you totally and unconditionally, but in such a different way. How lucky are we to be able to have the true love of our animal friends to warm us in this complicated world.

  • Yes — I certainly agree with you! Thanks so much for this.

  • Danny Morozuk February, 21 2017, 6:38 / Reply

    As a cat man I could not agree more cats make wonderful friends. My 31/2 cats are always there for me. The 1/2 cat is a stray who is half way to being a full time friend.

  • Power to the cat men as well! Thanks so much, Danny.

  • My theory is that the crazy cat lady myth came about because society tries to shame a woman who does not have a man in her life. Men and dogs are best friends, but women and cats are obsessive and well, crazy.

    I also think you can compare dogs to men and cats to women, as they have similar traits… and this is also why cats aren’t held in high esteem, because they have more feminine traits. I think this is turning around now, with the cat video phenomenon on the internet. Cats are becoming cool.

    I agree, let’s embrace the Cat Lady.

  • Another proud cat lady over here. I adopted my cat almost 7 years ago and she’s made my life so much better. She’s an endless source of love and fun and can’t imagine my life without her antics. And the best thing is to see my husband growing to love our cat even more than I do. Cat men are the best!

    Also, I’m an illustrator and they’re just so much fun to draw! I even created a tee shirt design that just depicts the scene you mentioned. It’s hard to beat a good glass of wine and a warm cat purring beside you, right?

    PS. This is the shirt I mentioned. >

  • I never knew I could be a cat person but turns out I might be!
    One day the Kitty just walked to our house and took our hearts! ? :) I just love him!
    Cats are funny, smart and cute and I’d love to learn to relax like a cat!

  • Caitlin, Clu is adorable. I wouldn’t be able to go to work with that one looking at me in the morning.

    Interesting thing about cats is that their purring is said to mend and strengthen bones. Another reason why kitties rock.
    I think men are starting to catch on. I have heard several wives and girlfriends talk about the man in their life coming away from the local store parking lot with a furry little friend or two. The too cute little faces win them over. It seems that if you have kittens to give away then go to the Big Box hardware stores and watch the men snatch them up.

  • Thank you for finally writing it Caitlin! I love my two cats more than most people (ok so maybe occasionally I prefer them to human companions…lol) but why wouldn’t you? They give all the love and affection that a dog would provide, but not nearly as much as responsibility. My friends that have dogs basically have babies. You can’t leave them for longer than a few hours, have to take them out to do their business, etc. For someone that loves animals, is a busy, working lady, and travels semi-frequently, choosing a cat is just logical. Plus, if you rescue, you are saving lives in the process. So why the stigma?!

  • Ca fait 35 ans que je vis avec des chats, des vraies boules d’amour

From the Archives

  • Friends!
  • Holiday Gifting
  • This or That
  • Happy Holidays!
  • #AtelierDoreDoes
Holiday Gift Guide, For Your Girlfriends

Holiday Gift Guide, For Your Girlfriends

Magogodi Makhene, Wayétu Moore, female friendship, dore

How to Make Grown Woman Friendships—A Conversation with Wayétu Moore

Curating Copenhagen’s Art Scene: Kunstsalonen

Curating Copenhagen’s Art Scene: Kunstsalonen

atelier dore clothing renewal

Clothing Renewal

Carte Blanche: Turning a Creative Passion into a Business - Clare Vivier, Tina Frey and Ellen Marie Bennett garance dore pardon my french

Carte Blanche: Turning a Creative Passion into a Business

A Weekend With Disposable Magazine

A Weekend With Disposable Magazine

atelier dore 6 designers on creativity moodboard

7 Designers on When They Feel Most Creative

Sophie On Tour

Sophie On Tour

atelier dore studio visit streicher sisters striiike beauty

Three Sisters on Creative Entrepreneurship