Here’s What You Said: Crazy Cat Tales

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Our March survey started by asking the question whether you assume more cat parents are men, women or equally divided. A whopping 70% of you believe that more women have cats than men. That’s pretty close to what an American Pet Products Association survey reported, according to a 2009 article in Forbes, that of 463 cat owners, 80% were women. However, according to Nielsen @Plan, there are 9.6 million single men in the United States who have cats. To meet a sampling of those men, check out our gallery of Proud Cat Dads.

Adoptable black cat

Slick, who is available for adoption at Shelby County Humane Society in Kentucky, will be a lucky kitty if he finds a home.

We also asked what was the craziest assumption you’ve ever heard about cats. It was no surprise that the #1 answer (36%) was that cats smother babies (or suck the breathe from them). It’s a widespread myth, one I’ve heard often. It is false, of course, as those of you who responded know or you wouldn’t have named it the “craziest assumption.”

Another 9% thought the wackiest notion was that people believe black cats bring bad luck or are evil. Black cats definitely have a mystique, perhaps because long ago, in the U.S., black cats became associated with witches.  Interestingly, in other parts of the world they are considered good luck.

Of our respondents, 20% of you said that the craziest assumption was that cats are aloof and don’t want attention. A good many of your comments refuted that notion.

  • Lynn, who has one cat, says her favorite time with her cat is “cuddle time.”
  • Alexandra, who has two cats, also mentioned the companionship and kisses bestowed by them, which certainly doesn’t make them sound standoffish.
  • Rebecca has two cats, Sox and Chase, both of whom furnish her with affection and companionship.
  • Vickie’s cat greets her at the door with purrs and rubs on the legs.
  • Many of you mentioned the unconditional love furnished by your feline friends.

Finally, we asked what is the craziest assumption you’ve heard about people who have cats. An overwhelming majority say the #1 assumption is that, if you have several cats, you are a “crazy cat lady” with a lot of other terms tacked on, like

  • hoarder
  • single
  • lonely
  • weirdo
  • antisocial
  • reclusive

The phrase, “crazy cat lady,” seems to have first sprung up, or at least entered the mainstream, on the TV show “The Simpsons” to refer to a character named Eleanor Abernathy. It has given non-cat people a pejorative to foist upon women who have a zeal for cats.

That’s not to say there aren’t people who hoard cats – and dogs, too, for that matter. But animal hoarding is a pathological condition, according to the Hoarding of Animals Research Consortium. The definition includes “failing to provide minimal standards of nutrition, sanitation, shelter and veterinary care” and includes neglect.

Meanwhile, it’s time to banish the faulty assumptions and myths. The Morris Animal Foundation conducted a survey of non-cat households and concluded ”if 10% of households not owning a cat would consider one, an additional 6.2 million cats might find a home.” If those families would adopt just one, think of the difference it could make for homeless cats. We must accentuate the positive to attract new adopters. We’re hoping our new campaign, I am a Cat Parent will help show people that everyone can love a cat. Check it out to see how you can be a part of finding homes for more cats!

And besides unconditional love, some of the other positives you accentuated in our survey?

  • Michelle: “They are low maintenance.”
  • Amanda: “You don’t have to walk them and they can be left home alone without having to worry about letting them outside to potty.”
  • Marjorie: “Besides being so darn cute and funny, they are a very easy pet. No walking, no eating shoes and couches, no barking. Just all round good companions.”
  • Jim: “They take care of themselves so completely, just needing you for love and attention.”

Sounds good, so consider adding a cat to your family — and thanks to those of you who responded to our informal survey.