Fact: I have three cats.
Fact: All three cats were formerly feral, and while I have no interest in portraying myself as any sort of sainted being (because for one it’s not my style and for another it’s not true) it is no exaggeration to say that without my having rescued them and given them a place to call home, it is very possible, and highly likely, all three would have ended up dead.
So yeah. I have three cats. BUT this does NOT make me a crazy cat lady! Really! It doesn’t! And don’t give me any of that “the lady doth protest too much, methinks” BS. This is not protestation. This is righteous indignation.
First of all – the “crazy cat lady” label in and of itself is just mean. And secondly, it’s discriminatory. When was the last time you heard a cat-loving man referred to as a “crazy cat guy?” I’m guessing about half past never, because that was the last time *I* heard it, and I’ve been keeping my ears peeled. On the other hand, if you are, (as I am), a woman, especially, (as I am), a woman past the age of 30 (or these days more like 25), and you have more than one cat, you are a de facto crazy cat lady. This is discriminatory enough in and of itself. But, if possible, it gets even worse. Because really this label is only ascribed to those who are female, 25+, and single. A married woman with many cats is, apparently, perfectly sane. A single woman with more than one cat, on the other hand? Destined for the nearest rubber room.
As a single woman nigh to two decades past the tender age of 25, I take offense to this. But I do so quietly. In fact, I rarely admit to anyone who is not a close friend the fact that I have three cats. I say I have *a cat.* Because this is true. I do. I just neglect to mention that I also have two more. (Also two dogs, but dogs don’t evoke the same level of raised-eyebrowedness that multiple cats do.)
I would also like to say that as much as I adore my cats (which I almost unreservedly do – particularly now that I’ve discovered the Furminator), I never wanted three of them. Olivia (AKA The Diva) joined the family first, back in 2004. It was a pretty easy decision to keep her adorable, pink-nosed calico self. Even if she did look rather like a miniature alien when I first found her. When Tanner (AKA The Hunk) came along two years later, I was resistant. I absolutely intended to find a home for him. For one thing, I’d never had a male cat before, and I wasn’t sure I wanted one. For another, I was in the 30+ and single category and was trying like hell to avoid being slapped with the “crazy cat lady” label. And I did, in fact, try to find a home for him, but unfortunately by the time I did, he had been with me for over two weeks, and I was ass over teakettle in love with his gentle gray-green eyes and his even gentler personality. So he stayed.
Then, four years ago, I pulled into the parking lot of my office early one morning and saw Finn lying, still as death, on the edge of the concrete lot. He didn’t move an inch until I got right up to him, when he then leapt simultaneously straight up in the air and three feet off to the side as though I’d zapped him with a cattle prod. It took me a week to catch him, (using a Hav-A-Hart trap and lots of canned tuna), and once I did, I made a concerted effort to find him a home, even putting an ad on the dreaded Craigslist and enlisting the help of a friend who worked for a veterinarian to spread the word that a sweet little black kitten needed a home. Meanwhile, my extremely tolerant boss be blessed, I kept the kitten at my office, because I didn’t want to get him anywhere near Olivia and Tanner without having him fully vetted first, and I also didn’t want to bring him into the house at all, because I knew damn good and well that if I did that, he was never leaving. After all, I am nothing if not self aware. And I did not want to be the crazy cat lady, remember?!!!
I would like to state here that I did, in fact, find a home for him. For about twelve seconds. Ok, it was actually more like twelve hours. But I did find him a home. Unfortunately, the lady I found him the home with (who will hereafter be known on this blog as The Crazy Catless Lady) was, to put none too fine a point on it, batshit fucking crazy. (Yes, this is a clinical term. I should know. I was a Psych major once upon a time. Ok, fine – it isn’t a clinical term. It may even be un-PC. But it should be, and if it were, The Crazy Catless Lady’s crazy mug would be right smack dab next to the definition of said affliction in the Dictionary of Clinical Psychology.) * As a brief aside, I would like to state here that I am fully aware that Dictionary of Clinical Psychology is a book title and should therefore be underlined. But damned if I can find the underline button, which for my money should be right there next to the strikethrough button or the italicize button or the bold button, but sadly is not, at least not that I can see. If anyone can point me to it, I’d be most grateful. Thanks much!)
Anyway, I wish I would have known how things would turn out before I drove this poor kitten, only seven days post feral kittenhood and three days post neuter surgery, an hour away on a Friday evening only to get a call early the next afternoon saying that things were not working out and I needed to come pick him up ASAP or she was taking him to the county shelter. (Did I mention he was black, and it was kitten season, so this would have been an almost instantaneous death sentence? Well – I just did.) When I asked her what was wrong she said, and no, I am not making this up, “He won’t come out from under the bed!” Because, you know, it is totally unheard of for cats to hide under the bed when they’re nervous. Obviously, I immediately got in the car and drove the hour back to get him, gratified that as soon as I entered the bedroom and softly called to him using the name I’d tried so hard not to give him, he immediately popped his little black alien-eared head out and ran over to me, purring like a madman.
And so, home he came. And here he has stayed. And I had, and have, three cats. But I am NOT now, nor have I ever been, a crazy cat lady.
Hey, wait a minute – is that a cat hair in between my teeth?