I don’t know one cat lover who finds the term “crazy cat lady” acceptable. Say the words “crazy cat lady,” and people imagine a mentally unstable, bathrobe-clad middle-aged lady, her unkempt hair flying as she herds a dozen or so cats. This unflattering visual is demeaning and marginalizes those who favor felines. Plus it’s inaccurate.
Cats are America’s favorite pet. The American Pets Products Association estimated that in 2012 there were 95.6 million owned cats in the U.S. versus 83.3 million owned dogs. The APPA also estimates that there are 2.11 cats per household and 91% of them are either spayed or neutered. Families, couples and single people, male and female, young and old, all share their homes with companion cats.
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So when a company that shall go nameless recently ran a marketing campaign based around the term “crazy cat lady,” I found it both disappointing and disheartening. Especially since I love and use their product. They claim they are trying to re-brand the stereotype. I disagree. I think using a stereotype in any form reinforces it. What would be better would be to create new, positive phraseology: feline-friendly, cat enthusiast, CATvocate … or how about just “cat lover?” I consider myself a sane cat lover.
OK, that is not wholly correct. I am not completely sane. Admittedly, I am a touch crazy. But my craziness and my love for cats are two different things. I was an odd child and only developed a passion for cats as a teenager. In fact, my love for cats is one of my saner aspects. I adore my cats and consider them family members – the same way dog people do their canines. It is my responsibility to care for them to the best of my ability.
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I don’t as a rule dress up my cats (unlike some dog people – if you’ve been to any pet store recently, you’ll notice a long wall of pet outfits, and they are designed to fit dog bodies). Although I run a blog in my cat’s “voice,” I don’t actually believe she channels anything through me, and I am sure she does not care one whit about the internet fame she’s achieved (although she does appreciate the comped treats and toys). I will never have dozens of cats because I know I can barely handle the three I have. There are limits and boundaries to my love of cats. I am a sane cat lover, and I prefer pet companies speak to that side of me.
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There’s nothing crazy about being a cat lover. Get over it.