Right, I’m not gonna pussyfoot around about this one, I’m gonna get straight to it. Do not call me a ‘Crazy Cat Lady’ – in fact, don’t call ANYONE a Crazy Cat Lady, unless they have happily bestowed the moniker upon themselves.
I get it ALL the time. Yes, I am a single woman over 30 who lives alone. Yes, I have two cats. That’s it? That’s all you’ve got? When you think about or refer to someone as a Crazy Cat Lady – is it ever a compliment? No, I didn’t think so. I mean, what image automatically springs to mind when you hear the term? For me, it’s a mixture of two things: 1. That bird off The Simpsons and 2: A woman who society has pigeonholed as someone who will die single, sad and alone – probably from drowning in cat piss.
Why have I chosen to talk about this today? Well, because it’s Mother’s Day and as happy an occasion it is, it’s also another reminder that I am a single woman over 30 who lives alone with her two cats. That is not a cry for pity. Far from it, but my best friend, for the past two years, has said “Happy Mother’s Day” to me – because I am a Cat Mom. This is such a lovely thing for her to do, and by doing so, she is including me in a day and celebrating the fact that I manage to keep two other little heartbeats not only alive but healthy and safe – and they’re ‘growing up’ to be two of the most gentle, loving, well-behaved little girls ever. But I don’t deserve a “Happy Mother’s Day”. Not yet. It kind of takes it away from all the actual Mother’s who are doing an incredible job of raising their kids, and it takes it away from the joy I’ll feel on my first proper Mother’s Day in the future.
For as long as I can remember, I have grinned and bore it. Hell, on some occasions even I have uttered the words “I’m just gonna adopt some cats and be done with it”, in the past, but enough is enough. It has gotten to the point where if people want to purposely wind me up, they call me a Crazy Cat Lady, and then they sit back and watch me bite and they all have a good laugh. What these people don’t realise is actually how hurtful I find it. I HATE being labelled and pigeonholed as it – it is deeply ingrained in my psyche to rebel against anything that backs me into a corner and slaps a sticker on my head putting me into a certain box – somewhat ironically, this is the INFJ in me! But when someone calls me a Crazy Cat Lady, it’s like they have written me off as someone destined to be a lifelong spinster, someone who is unlovable, someone who isn’t right in the head and goes home and pretends to breastfeed her moggies whilst silently crying herself to sleep each night clutching her pillow and pretending it’s a man. (Disclaimer: I do none of these things, and I’ve paid too much money for these boobs to subject them to that). Now, I KNOW that the amateur psychologists amongst you will say that this is me projecting my innermost fears on something as simple as a nickname – and maybe you are right. But who wouldn’t take offence to that?
When I was on Bumble, a guy I was chatting to said “Oh no, you’re a Crazy Cat Lady aren’t you?! I’ll just excuse myself now.” He thought he was joking. He got blocked.
It’s not funny to label and stereotype people. It’s not nice to make assumptions about someone’s life because they do or say certain things, and it’s not big or clever to poke fun at the things that people find important.
You will never hear me refer to myself as a Crazy Cat Lady. I AM a Cat Mom, and I AM are two of the most powerful words in The Universe. The words that follow I AM are what you are putting out there about yourself. It is what you are wishing on yourself, and I point blank refuse to put the above ideal out there in reference to me and my life. I AM deadly serious.
When I was at my darkest, and moved back home with my parents some 6 or 7 years ago, I remember them being away on holiday, and me being ‘Happy Pilled’ off my face to cope with life. Then, one day I was hanging the washing out in the back garden, and this little cat came bounding up to me and started rubbing itself against my leg. 45 minutes later, I was still in the garden playing. For that 45 minutes – I was blissfully unaware of the shit storm that had overtaken my mind, and all I knew was that I was out in the sunshine, overwhelmed by love and joy and completely engrossed in this little ball of fur who had given me that breather. That was in July. By the September, Heisy was living in our house, and she was the first pet we had ever had as a family. She chose to come into the garden that day, she chose to come and live with us and she chose to capture not only my heart but the hearts of our entire family. I remember days when I would barely be able to get out of bed because my depression was at it’s worst, and she would curl up on my legs, nuzzle her way in and she would not leave my side. She did the same when I was sick, she did the same when I broke up with guys – and when heartbreak truly hit a few years back, there she was. She would run up to me when I walked through the door, she would jump up onto my lap whenever she saw me crying and she never, ever failed to make me smile. Not once – even when she took it upon herself to claw or bite me. Heisy was not the reason that I pulled myself out of depression – oh no, that was a battle I fought by myself, but she certainly helped. Do you know how hard it is to be sad or angry when there is a cat purring on your lap? It’s pretty bloody difficult!
When I moved into my own place a little over a year ago, I remember the night I moved in vividly. I was surrounded by boxes and I was making myself a chicken stir-fry and, out of habit – as we always give Heisy a bit of chicken when we’re making food, I turned around and absent-mindedly chucked a lump of chicken on the floor. There was no Heisy. At that moment, I realised that I was completely alone in the flat, and 2 weeks later, I adopted two beautiful little 12 week old kittens who made my home complete. Without Willow and Wednesday, I would not be ok with being single. Without Willow and Wednesday, I would not be ok with living alone and without Willow and Wednesday, my heart would not be as full. I have always been a huge animal lover, but when I brought those two babies home, I knew what it was to love unconditionally.
Looking after cats, or any pet, is a huge responsibility – and it’s one that I undertook willingly. I remember a few days before I picked them up my old boss said to me, “You do realise cats can live for like, 20 years plus don’t you?” I replied – “They better had do too!”. Before I had them, I always knew I wanted to be a Mum one day, and after a year of worrying that these two little fluffballs are ok, tripping over toys, trying to stop them from eating plastic, wires or anything that stays on the floor for longer than 10 seconds, taking endless pictures of them asleep, teaching them things, marvelling at their advancements… well, I know that I CAN be a Mom one day. I know now that I have it in me. Don’t get me wrong I am in no way, shape or form comparing looking after 2 cats to being a Mum, all I mean is that I know I have a maternal instinct within me that can be carried over when my time comes. They have taught me selflessness, they have taught me to drop everything at a drop of a hat to make sure they are safe, they have taught me to be instinctive and trust my gut, they have taught me to relax and learn to live with stuff being ALL OVER THE FLOOR, they have taught me not to be scared of pooey bums, they have taught me to put my phone down and sit in the moment and enjoy just playing with them and giving them my undivided attention, and they have taught me that no matter what my day has been like, when I walk through my door and see their two little faces staring up at me – happy to have me home, that the simple things in life really are the best and the most important.
Does that sound like a person that is destined to be single forever? Does it sound like someone who doesn’t know how to love? To be selfless? To think about others and learn how to compromise, think in a different way or do what is needed from me? Does that sound like a Crazy Cat Lady to you?
No. So the next time you think it’s funny to call me one, do me a favour and kindly fuck off.