It wasn’t that long ago that being called a “crazy cat lady” was a source of shame. The phrase conjured up images of a lonely old woman in a bathrobe and slippers with nothing but her cats for company. But the world has come around, and good thing too, because that retirement plan sounds amazing!
And yet, the stigma lingers; I’m not sure why. Cats are amazing and I’m proud to tell the world how much I love mine. So don’t ever apologize for being madly, deeply and forever in love with your cat. And never let anyone make you feel guilty for these six things because your cat is one of the most precious creatures on the planet.
1. Always talking about your cat
Maybe your friends and family are sick of hearing about your cats. Maybe not. But regardless of how anyone else reacts, you probably find yourself talking about your cats more often than not.
Someone mentions they have a cat? Cue half an hour of trading cat stories. This behavior is a form of self-disclosure, something Psychology Today says humans love to do because it induces a “neurological buzz.”
Our cats are a big part of our lives. So it’s natural to want to talk about it. The good news is, talking about positive things, like our love for our cats, makes it easier to stay positive. And it helps us to build relationships with friends and family.
2. Referring to yourself as a cat parent
Have you ever had someone look at you sideways when you mention your fur babies? Or worse, wonder why you were so upset over the loss of a beloved pet? In my opinion, those people are missing out on all the wonderful things that come from being a cat parent. From purrs to playtime, our cats give us so much more than we could ever give them. And yet, we spoil them rotten.
What’s interesting is the bonds we form with our cats are a two-way street. Cats display attachment to their caregivers, and it’s similar to that of babies and dogs. And evidence shows they receive an oxytocin boost when we pet them.
So, yes, I call myself a cat mom—my children have whiskers, tails and four legs.
3. Allowing your cat on the furniture
Tips for keeping your cats off furniture, especially tables and countertops, range from everything to using a spray bottle (please don’t) to adding more cat trees and climbing surfaces to your home (please do). But cats are territorial, and they like to be cozy. So how on earth would you ever keep them off your sofa?
I think this response on a Quora thread sums it up best: “Take sofa outside. Leave cats inside. Close door.”
Cats are family. Would you ask your mother to sit on the floor? I certainly wouldn’t. Patricia Vidal, another respondent on the same Quora thread was more diplomatic, though. She said, “While some things can be off limits, the couch should not be one of them. How will they snuggle with you/keep you company while you watch TV after all?”
4. Sleeping with your cat
My cats follow me from the sofa to my bed. Any place I am is where they want to be. But there are pet owners out there who scoff at the idea of letting your cat sleep in your bed. They’re in the minority, though. Despite evidence that having pets in bed may disrupt your sleep, The American Pet Products Association says about 75% of cats sleep with their humans, including children.
But any type of co-sleeping can disrupt your sleep, including partners and children. Plus there’s evidence that letting your pets sleep in your bed may actually help you sleep.
At any rate, keeping your cat out of the bedroom is about as easy as trying to tame the tide—it’s probably not happening. Fetch, the pet-focused section of WebMD says letting your cat in the bedroom is an all or nothing kind of thing. Either let the cat in your bedroom all the time, or not at all. Personally, I vote for always.
5. Putting your cat first
I’m not saying I love my cats more than I care for most people, but let’s just say my cat’s never cut me off in traffic or failed to put the cart back at the grocery store.
If like me, your cats come first, you might be a bit of an introvert. Neither of these traits is something to be ashamed of. Relish the time spent at home with a purring cat in your lap. And if anyone asks, tell them you’re practicing being a better human.
Dr. Jane Johnson, a lecturer in philosophy at Macquarie University says our affection for animals can eventually spread to people. “Once you open yourself up, and can acknowledge and see and respond to the vulnerability of an animal, that can actually help you connect with other humans,” she said. “It can make you a better human.”
6. Filling up your phone with cat pictures
How many photos do you have of your cats on your phone? Personally, I stopped counting some time around 2016 when Apple introduced a feature to iOS that could identify pets in photos. This was great news for many cat owners who, on average, were taking four to five pictures of their cats each day and roughly 40% ran out of space on their phones.
Sounds like a large number of us had our priorities in order even back then. I used to be scared to look at how many cat photos I have on my phone. Today, I’m proud to say it’s roughly eleventy billion and one—that’s around 8,000 if you’re keeping track. How about you?