The Crazy Cat Lady

Do you ever read an account of some bizarre bit of human behavior in the newspaper and, while everyone around you is bemused, think to yourself, “That could be me?” I had that experience recently when I read an account of a 95-year-old woman found passed out in her front yard. When the first responders went into her house, they found 40 cats.

Lately I’ve become more aware of the thin line between being “a lady who likes cats” and “a crazy cat lady,” and I have to tell you, it’s getting thinner. I wasn’t always so attracted to cats. We owned and loved two Golden Retrievers and I remain to this day a “big dog person.” When a cat entered a room, I would instinctively put my hand to my throat, because I was sure it was just looking for an opportunity to go for my jugular vein. After all, they looked like miniature tigers. How could you trust them? All I can tell you is that, as with most biases, knowledge dispelled my fear and increased my understanding and appreciation. And getting to know one cat invalidated the generalizations I had accepted about all of them.

So how many cats would I like to have you (and my husband!) might ask. That’s hard to say. After having at least one cat around for the last two dozen years, I’ve learned to truly appreciate their unique personalities. At the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region all the cats available for adoption are categorized according to one of nine “feline-alities.” (I think they should have called them purr-sonalities.) For example, our cat Molly clearly fits into the Personal Assistant category. If anyone is wrapping a gift, working on taxes, or flipping through a cookbook to come up with something for dinner, she’s right there to lend a paw. Our cat Beau, however, would be classified as the Leader of the Band, a cat who does everything in a big way. Although he does love to cuddle, he’s especially big into adventure and couldn’t care less what we are doing unless he sees one of us go outside. Then he waits right by the door for us to open it again in hopes of blowing this boring baby boomer abode for some real excitement!

So you see, that leaves seven cat purr-sonalities I’m missing! What about the Private Investigator, the Secret Admirer, the Love Bug, the Sidekick, etc.? By my calculations, I only need to add 1.2 cats per year to reach 40 by the time I’m 95. That doesn’t seem excessive, does it? (Although I’m not sure what one feeds a partial cat.)

Actually, just writing this has been therapeutic. And there is one really good reason I’ll just continue to enjoy Molly and Beau and won’t go over into the “crazy cat lady” lifestyle. You see, I have a pretty good idea why that woman (who was fine, by the way) was passed out in her front yard. It was the smell of 40 litter boxes.

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