A Campaign to End Cattiness

Posted by Pia
Spike and Mom

Why adopt just one cat? These pairs are looking for homes together. Spike and Mom, a mother and son from Chicago.

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.

Rex and Ollie

Rex and Ollie, two brothers from Woodinville, Washington.

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.

Kitten and Lap Cat Mom

Kitten and Lap Cat Mom from New York City.

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!

Ava and Zsa Zsa

Ava and Zsa Zsa, two sisters from Atlanta, Georgia.

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!

Pop and Brutus

Pop and Brutus, two brothers from New York City.

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!

In Kinship,

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!

Comments (9)

  • Hello ladies, Kirby here.
    When I first saw the title of this article, my reading skills stopped at the letters “CAT.” Wow, I thought, a campaign to end cats looks good to me; where do I sigh up? But then I thought that if there were no cats? Then just chasing squirrels is all I would have to do around here. Daddy soon corrected my and told me what the article really was all about. And to think, I always thought that anyone who had a cat must surely be crazy. I’m glad that you have me on the right path now. I wasn’t a “good boy” this morning and now mommy has found out about it. Got to run now.
    Catch you later, Kirby.

  • Hello Ladies and Dr. Pia,
    I have to admit when I saw the screen with the cats on it I had to jump at it. I jump at the t.v. screen also when I see cats. It is just my job you see. After reading the article, it is good that they are getting homes also. I think the kitties should have to stay inside like me and Tasha. If we have a leash law, they should too. When it comes down to it, I am glad they are getting good homes and lots of love. Everyone has that right, and there is someone for everyone. Take care all.
    Love & licks,

  • Ouch Kirby that hurt!
    I was telling my husband yesterday while passing the cat laying curled up in one of her spots in the house, "you know when I see her (KITTY) my heart fills with so much joy and warmth, touching her sooths my soul" hubby then replies, that's how I feel when I see you! oops! I said, well you know what I mean, if you had silky long fur and purred I'd be kissing you all the time too...ohh it just got worse, till I finally admitted I felt the same way but in a human quality way...did I dig my grave? sure!
    Since Kitty had pneumonia when she first came to us, she is prone to this cause she stays out in the cold at night..this is her will...I worry cause I can't get her to be an 'all indoor cat' Yesterday I thought about maybe getting an indoor cat to see if Kitty would stay in...I'd love to get another cat, and I'm not a "crazy cat lady" Great story and photos Dr.Pia!

  • Hi there Dr. Pia: Just wanted to let you know that I think cats are cooool! I loved my grandpa Littleman cat. He was very old and went to heaven when he was 20 years old. He taught me about sun baths and all about how he did not like me to clean his face after his dinner. Momma said that when he got very old, some food would remain on his mouth and I just tried to help. He hissed at me for doing that and then forgave me. He said he could still take care of himself!

    My momma said that long time ago, there was Samantha cat, Littleboy cat and Littleman cat. They lived with mom and dad along with 2 pups; Dollie and Heidi. Wow! That's a lot of furbabies to take care of, but momma said that she and dad were much younger and had the energy for it. She said that none of them (including Sweet Tater pup) ever went without. All got their medicine when needed and the best stuff ever.

    The most amazing thing of all, as each one came to live with mom and dad, they all got along as if it was the most natural thing ever. So everyone, kitty cats are swell.

    Must take advantage of the sunshine now. See ya later. Love, Gracyn.

  • In kinship, Dr. Pia, I'd like to thank you (in a light-hearted fashion, with no agenda) for your post today about our kittiekittie friends, as, here on TheDailyWag, the puppiedoggie basically rules (it IS two dogs' blog, afterall! [giggle]), and there's sometimes obvious aversion to and no consideration of ANY feline friendships! Nevertheless, I KNOW in my heart that each pet/pet owner here loves his/her family member/pet implicitly, and that's what matters!

    Without reading any links yet, or others' posts just yet, my personal vision of a cat lady does shed a negative light, only because I envision so many cats in a household - say, 15-20, where living conditions for them (and the owner) are poor, and they're not properly cared for. Me?...if I had the room, the money, ENERGY(!) to maintain my own high housekeeping standards in HAVING all those cats...I would have a cat of every color scheme! Most of us realize 'that's a lotta cats'! [giggle] I am simply drawn to these creatures and don't know just why, as I equally love dogs, bunnierabbits, my feathered songbird friends - all animals and things nature-wise!

    I DO love my Mandy (and my recently-passed-on Edgar), though...they were/are the little loves of my life! Cats are remarkableremarkable creatures!


  • We have 3 cats who live in our house now, they aren't as fun as dogs but they are ok for cats. There was another cat who came from the shelter in SF who lived with mom even before Dad moved in. His name is Austin and he lived to be 18 years old. He went to Heaven June 8, 2009. We liked him because he was a special cat who acted more like a dog. He liked us too. We really miss him and I know mom does too.

  • We now have 5 cats in our home. Hennesey is 4 yrs old and was an only cat. In April of 2009 my daughter, who lives away from home, had a sweet cat named Kitty who gave birth to 5 beautiful babies. When they were 10 days old the mother was killed and the babies were orphaned. I took the babies in because my daughter was unable to care for them with her job schedule. Being the animal lover I am, I said I'd do my best and brought them home. Well after a few months of hardly any sleep and a lot of feedings, burpings, and clean ups I had 5 beautiful 8 week old kittens. They all survived :) I was only able to find a home for 1 and now 6 months old the other 4 are now part of our family. Samantha is always welcome to visit, and has when her owner has gone on vacation, with her siblings Wolverine, Sox, Salem and Pepper.They are all very happy kitties!

  • To Mandy's mom Cindy Bricker - In response to your DM on Twitter, just letting you know I am not the Trish above who commented about the orphan kitties.

    To the other Trish who took care of the orphaned kitties and kept four, you are a doll! I love their names!

  • What a lovely idea and I so much enjoyed watching the winner's video.

    I live with multiple cats and am pretty sure that I'm regarded as the crazy cat lady by a few people. Cats are such wonderful companions I really don't much care.

    In these parts cats were regarded as farm animals till quite recently and many people are still aghast if you share your home with one.

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