Recently I have been involved in a super fun campaign -- it's a campaign to end the negative stereotype of the "crazy cat lady" and to be quite frank, I think it's long overdue. As one who shares my home with three amazing rescued cats, I can attest to how off base the crazy cat lady mythology really is.
A survey done by Purina revealed that 71% of cats in homes actually live in multiple-cat households. Yet, while having multiple cats is clearly a way of life for so many Americans, negative and misleading stereotypes still exist.
Purina's Tidy Cats survey revealed that seven of 10 people who do not share their home with cats consider those with two or more felines to be "lonely" or refer to them as "crazy cat ladies." The survey goes on to reveal, however, that the reality is quite the opposite. Those sharing their homes with multiple cats describe their lives as fulfilled, socially active and, to put it bluntly, odor-free.
While the survey was certainly informative, Purina decided to enlist the help of real experts -- actual multiple-cat households -- to make its point. Participants were invited to submit their own stories about their multiple-cat homes and by doing so, redefine what it means to be a "crazy cat lady." Not surprisingly, the stories confirmed the study's findings, revealing a population of well-adjusted multiple-cat families living fulfilled and meaningful lives with their feline companions. And these stories did not only come from women!
I was fortunate to have the opportunity to read the stories and help select the 10 finalists. I'm here to report that it was quite challenging, as their were so many great contributions that served to redefine what it currently means to live in a multiple-cat home.
Before I ruin the surprise regarding our winner, I'll just direct you to the finalist stories and you can see for yourselves what today's "crazy cat lady" looks like, and what living with multiple felines means to so many families across the country -- myself included!
My hope is that those promulgating antiquated stereotypes will think twice about their assumptions and perhaps even consider opening their homes to a shelter cat or two themselves. There is no doubt that, like any one of our 10 finalists, they will be pleasantly surprised. Cats are truly amazing creatures. My professional opinion is that those willing to get to know these unique creatures are to be hailed as anything but crazy.
Thanks, Tidy Cats, for debunking these catty myths!
Dr. Pia Salk
PS: Please write back and let us know about your own multiple-cat family! And if you adopted your feline pals from a shelter, consider entering our pet-adoption photo contest!