We’ve all heard of Crazy Cat Ladies. While the term often applies to women with an unusual number of cats, I’ve also heard it applied to women who love and care for cats, even in small numbers.
The caricature goes like this: unmarried women, usually without children, spend all their time and money on their cats, using them as substitute children and fluffy little man-replacements. Such women are rarely portrayed as glamorous or successful (or heaven forbid both!) Loving cats has come to mean missing something else in life that “normal” women have: husbands and children.
Leaving aside for a moment that many women with husbands and/or children are also devoted to feline furbabies, I would like to point out that single childless women with cats are actually civilization’s only hope.
- Cat Women decrease human overpopulation.
First, and most obvious, women who have cats instead of children are not adding to the human population. While little humans take up tremendous resources, cats use few. Even those of us who feed our furries expensive cat food and completely change the box daily (nothing but a perfectly clean powder room for Loviefluffy!) are not consuming anywhere near the resources that it takes to raise a child.
The stereotype would have us believe that cats are a substitute for children. If this is the case, I would argue that cats are an improvement upon human children for environmental reasons. Have you ever heard of a cat driving an SUV? Demanding to be ferried to all sorts of athletic practices and extracurricular events? Screaming for candy and toys at the grocery store? No: cats are calmly sitting at home consuming nothing but cat food, cat liter and the occasional cat toy (most of which are reusable.)
2. Cat Women make better employees.
It is no big secret that human children are very distracting to their mothers. They require constant attention from someone, and the burden of childcare almost always falls on the mother. Cats, however, can stay comfortably at home alone while mommy works long hours. Mom is not distracted by arranging baby sitters unless she must go away for a long period of time, and then cat sitters are easy to find and inexpensive.
Cats rarely get into the kind of trouble that causes parents worry. Have you ever heard of a cat becoming a drug addict? Catnip is perfectly safe and legal and frequent use of it meets no DSM criteria of addiction. Cats can be fixed, hence avoiding the problem of teenage pregnancy. Cats don’t date: Kitty Mommies can entirely control their cats’ social interactions without becoming overbearing monsters who will scar their children for life. While human mommies are never without worry about their children, even when their children are grown up and out of the human nest, Kitty Mommies can almost always rest assured that their cat is safely at home doing what cats do 16 to 20 hours a day: sleeping. Now human parents, aren’t you just a little bit jealous?
While kitty is sleeping, Kitty Mommy can be a productive member of society. Not only is a single cat woman free of the distractions of human children, she is also without the burdens of a man-pet! Having lived with a man for a decade, and a dear sweet man he is, I can still assure you that preparing meals and cleaning up after my cat Loviefluffy takes about one-twentieth the time that just basic man-care required.
Freed from all of these duties, while still meeting the emotional needs for company, cuddling, and someone whose picture you can post repeatedly on Facebook, Cat Women have time to devote to their careers or the pursuit of their choice. Which leads us to the third reason Why Cat Women will save civilization.
3. Cat Women are independent women.
Have you ever heard of a woman who had to go on the kitty-mommy track at her job? Have you ever had a long negotiation with your cat about whose career would take precedence? Have you had to make decisions about how to spend your money, whether or not to pursue higher education, or if you should sign a union card, only after discussing it with your cat?
No: you provide the food, liter, cuddles and playtime, and you are a fully independent individual. There are no hidden gender politics with cats. You will never be tempted to put your own career on hold to let your cat take the promotion in another state he’s been offered. You don’t have to negotiate over child support with your cat or arrange your life around custody settlements.
The subtle ways that living with a man warps our female consciousness are without number. Having a cat provides us with companionship without these dangers. Cats may even be protective against controlling suitors. Men who look down their straight male privileged noses at women with cats are clearly looking for a woman who has nothing better to do than spend all her time and energy on him. Cats have been a symbol of female independence since the days of witchs’ familiars. Overbearing men know this and stay away.
However, good Cat Men can see the value in a woman who knows how to treat her kitty right. She is not desperate for his attention because she is too busy playing a rousing game of capture the feather with her cat. She does not need him to provide her with a warm bed because that’s what cats do. She may need him only for sex, and isn’t that an excellent situation for a man?
Cat Men, of course, are a particularly fine subsection of the human species. As Kitty Daddies, they have learned to function in a universe in which they are not the center. They tend to be more patient and collaboration-oriented because cats don’t respond to displays of authority the way dogs or humans do. Rather, cats respond to love, calm voices, and appropriately placed cat treats. Which leads us to our fourth and final reason why Cat Women are civilization’s shining star of hope.
4. Cats encourage a new style of leadership.
Cats don’t respond to yelling, threatening, or punishment. Hit a cat and you don’t get obedience, you get a psycho cat. Cats who are loved love you back. Cats don’t cooperate out of respect for arbitrary authority. Unlike most domesticated animals who were bred by humans for specific jobs, cats domesticated humans. They started hanging around the grain stores in ancient Egypt because that’s where the best rodents could be had. Then they discovered that the cats who made friends with humans could gather sumptuous table scraps. To this day, cats seem to have evolved a sense of aesthetics: they know how to position themselves to be extremely cute. Their subtle but powerful domination of the human species is evident by how many cat videos are watched on the internet.
Cats lack the physical strength of big dogs, the milk and meat of cattle, or the swift hooves of horses, yet they have managed to secure a place in our hearts and our homes. Cats teach us how to get what we want not by brute force or cruelty but by love, affection and adoreableness. The collaboration economy is replacing the coercion economy, and Cat Women, their natural instincts for nurturing, love, and looking fabulous, honed by collaboration with their fluffies, will make the most of it.
It’s time for Cat Women to unite, throw off the derogatory label of Crazy Cat Lady, and embrace the status we rightly deserve.
It’s not like we answer to anyone but our cats anyway.
[NOTE: Re-reading this post, I recognize that it is absurdly heterocentrist. Indeed, many of the greatest cat women I know are partnered with other cat women, who notably, are women. And I think that’s pretty pawsome. I’d love to hear from a lesbian Cat Woman about her experience. I identify as bi and currently live with one cat.]
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This article was featured in Fresh Pressed recently, which is how mom found it.