Crazy Cat Lady? I Don’t Think So.

I am bothered that many people think that a single woman who cares for more than one cat is to be identified as a Crazy Cat Lady. I am even more bothered that many of you think that’s cute and have chosen to embrace the title.

The Crazy Cat Lady on the Simpsons
The Crazy Cat Lady on the Simpsons

And retailers have taken notice, for now they, too, are calling us Crazy Cat Ladies.

For instance, World’s Best Cat Litter has an ongoing contest for you to show the world you’re a crazy cat lady by taking a photo of yourself and posting it on social media.

That’s right, denigrate yourself and all of your gender on social media in hopes of winning a few bags of cat litter.

But wait, am I being overly sensitive? After all, the photo announcing the contest looks like this:

Nobody looking crazy in this photo. Right?

Wikipedia identifies the term “cat lady” as pejorative- that means abusive. So no, I think I’m being quite sensible in saying there is no way I will EVER buy a product from a company that shows so little regard for me as a customer and as a human being.

I’m tired of women being expected to be forever young, impossibly thin, irresistible to men, married well, ambitious- but not overly so, and the producer of perfect children. Yes, in 2014 we still have those expectations for women.

No matter her abilities, a woman who isn’t beautiful is to be pitied.

A woman who is ambitious is a bitch.

A woman who enjoys her body is a slut.

A woman who wants something out of life besides marriage and children is selfish.

And a woman who loves animals is crazy. Francis loved animals, and he was named a saint. Something ain’t right about that.

By allowing retailers to call us crazy, you are saying that it’s OK to discount us, especially when it comes to our standing up for the welfare of animals. So you’re not only disrespecting me, you’re disrespecting what I stand for.

If you want to label yourself, how about choosing a label that shows women in a positive light? Me? I’m an animal welfare advocate, and I’m mighty damn proud of that fact.

And for the gods’ sake, don’t buy products from companies that call you crazy.

72 thoughts on “Crazy Cat Lady? I Don’t Think So.

  1. I have three cats and have referred to myself as this on many occasions – however, your post has made me think about this a little more and i have to agree with what you’re saying!! Thank you!

    1. I’m not a crazy anything. Caring for other creatures does not a crazy person make. Actually, I think it’s those that DON’T care for animals that should be called crazy.

      1. How about Compassionate Cat Lady. I spend many hours and $ rescuing abandoned and unwanted cats & kittens. AND I’m proud of it! Rather have a big heart than no heart at all.

  2. I’m down to five cats and I get referred to as the crazy cat lady oftentimes. And, yes, I am offended by it. I have said on occasion “yes, I may be crazy but it sure as heck isn’t from the cats…” as I looked deep into the person’s eyes!!!

  3. We have five cats – all rescue cats – and I am sure some people think I am crazy. Why? What is crazy about wanting to save my gorgeous furry friends from potentially horrible lives? I also foster kittens and sometimes we have nine furry friends in our home – crazy? No way!

    1. What they’re really doing is calling you a hoarder. Those people are mentally ill, but they are not collecting animals because they love and care about them. That offends me, because you’re anything BUT that.

  4. I would agree with the comment that says anyone who doesn’t have pets should be considered crazy. I normally just refer to myself as a cat guardian, as I guard the cats in the house. I keep them safe, warm, fed and entertained. Or I will call myself a pet blogger. But thanks for the post it really puts things on perspective.

  5. Uh-oh. My family gave me the Crazy Cat Lady game for Christmas and we haven’t played it yet but I laughed and didn’t take offense. Maybe I should have. The most cats I ever had is four and never thought of it as animal hoarding or a mental illness suggestion on their part. CLearly it has touched a nerve with you and then I am feeling a bit guilty that I just laughed. I just hoped it was on the “sale table” cause I can’t envision our playing it and I am sure it might have some of the offensive items you mention right in the game. I saw a Crazy Cat Lady action figure at the art store and thought of purchasing it for them as a response but then didn’t want to waste my money. I don’t really think for a second they actually think I am crazy. Guess teaching in high school has really helped thicken my skin. Hope you aren’t offended by my comment or consider me insensitive to your thoughts. Just sharing my experience.

      1. Will do. I haven’t googled yet but I know the animal hoarders who have mental illness issues the ones on TV news reports are quite different from rescue and animal advocates who foster and care for animal (s) until adopted. I don’t take offense when a student says to me. You have cats, I know it -you look like someone with cats. And you can see my photo and in don’t look like the Simpsons character or the SNL woman with the knee socks and Sneakers either. Ok googling now.

  6. I whole-heartedly agree! And it’s not just women, nor is it just the appellation Crazy Cat Lady. For decades companies have used us for free advertising, and self deprecation has been a mainstay of that meme. The advent of Social Media has propelled this vile marketing technique even further. Now, every commercial I see, ends with some stupid hashtag phrase that they want you to tweet, or post on FB. The more foolish and vapid you appear on these posts, the happier they are.

    A1200 calorie breakfast sandwich should be illegal – #MyDunkin would not bring smiles to their bloated faces.

    In fact, it’s more than merely free advertising – in many cases they actually charge us for the privilege of bearing their brand names and logos, and we’re happy to do it – even proud.

    Like you, I write for a living – hope to someday, anyway – and whether I get paid for my posts or not, they are valuable. A post like yours, above, should be compensated. Certainly, and all the more so, if it’s being used by some corporation as a tool for boosting sales. If Nike wants me to walk around wearing their logo, I should be paid. You pay for bulletin boards, right? And if Dunkin Donuts wants me to use my valuable Twitter real estate to hawk their toxic food, I should really get paid.

  7. Hmmm, People have called me “Crazy Dog Lady” and I have also used that term about myself. I have a friend with 4 cats who calls herself “Crazy Cat Lady”. We view it more as a term of affection, but you certainly make some valid points here, especially about the world view towards women. That certainly IS deplorable! Thanks for enlightening me.

  8. I’m sorry to be using your site for my rants, but I think it also needs to be pointed out, that a single woman with several cats that she loves and cares for is not, technically, a Crazy Cat Lady. We’ve all seen the real thing, and it’s tragic and sad. A true Crazy Cat Lady is an elderly woman, bereft of friends and family, living on SSDI and hoarding more neglected cats than she can count. There’s one in every neighborhood in this country, and neither the poor old woman herself, or her plethora of ill fed cats, bode well. This is a sickness, and should no more be the source of jokes or advertising gimmicks, than is alcoholism or drug addiction.

    Thank you for bearing with me. I’ll get off my soap box, now. 🙂

  9. I’ve also blogged on this subject, so I have already shared my opinion on the dangers of this label to both cats and cat loving ladies. I also shared it with World’s Best Cat Litter, as did several other bloggers. Sadly it didn’t help, but I am glad to see that many of us are willing to take a stand against the bigger corporate, mainstream world.

  10. I get the “crazy” label for being a creative person too, and as an artist I’m expected to be irresponsible, impoverished, unscheduled and promiscuous, and as a female artist I’m less talented than men as well. I am not crazy in either case, and I will not be categorized. It’s just an easy way for insecure people who are socially lazy to dismiss me and all I do. I don’t even respond when someone uses those terms on me, and I have no qualms about embarrassing anyone who persists in using them on me.

  11. I agree with you! Any time I have ever thought of the term crazy cat lady, I think, an million cats, not taken care of, dirty , dirty house, hoarder type stuff…lives in a shack type situation…..and things like that. It is no compliment to be called a crazy cat lady! Thats for sure!!
    ((Husky hugz frum da pack))
    “Love is being owned by a husky”

  12. I don’t think it is crazy to love animals, or at least care for their well-being. There is also a stereotype going around that men who like cats are gay. I can tell you one has nothing to do with the other.

  13. Having worked in marketing and media for large corporations before, I know too well how a less than stellar, and even potentially offensive idea becomes a full fledged marketing campaign. Too many executives (cooks in the kitchen), throw in a PR firm, an ad agency and voilà…you’ve got a company completely out of touch with the most important person of all…their customer. Though I tend to let controversy slide right off my shoulders, I appreciate very much your well articulated opinions. Well put, Rumpy. : )

  14. Well said. Attaching any label to people is unfair. We don’t think loving cats (or any animal) makes our mom “crazy”. Animal advocate and guardian.

  15. very well said. I already told their facebook page what I thought of their calling me crazy. I never purchased the product before – i can’t really I brought it home once for foster kittens and Jack tried to eat it – but I never will now. I really hope they get their head on straight.

  16. Many of my friends practice Wicca and I see the same issue with the term “witch”. Neither particularly offends me personally.

    I do think that the folks who speak out about this being a feminist issue have a point, however in doing so, this really just tells us if we are willing to go out and have cats and love animals and go our own way, we are threatening the powers that be and the status quo. Ultimately that’s a good thing- Although that shouldn’t mean to say that we all have to love the term, nor is what has been done with it particularly glorious.

    Of course now, I’m trying to think of a hat store or a clothing store having a “Witch” contest that wasn’t in connection with Halloween… ;).

  17. I loved this article and shared it on G+. I (and my business) have always been all about kicking the ‘crazy cat lady’ stereotype to the curb, as it’s a stereotype that I find at once denigrating, disturbing and inaccurate–and I am so glad to see that I’m not the only one!.

  18. I have been called crazy cat lady before, probably will be again. I don’t take offense to it. If they think the way I care for cats is crazy ok. When they get to know me they usually end up respecting the knowledge I have about cats as well. I’m not bothered by the term, but I think it isn’t particularly fair that the person who has 6-7 dogs isn’t a “crazy dog lady”, really what’s the difference? As far as World’s Best goes, I’ve been a customer for years, I think it is one of the two best litters on the market. I’m not entering the contest, but I’ll buy my 28 lb bag of litter on Friday and continue recommending it to my customers. To each her – or his – own.

  19. Wiki definitions are notoriously incorrect. We have the abilty to edit the definition, which honestly sounds like it was posted by an idiot! I don’t take offense to being called a CCL as I take it as an opportunity to share the power of rescue. We have two dogs, four cats, and a mini-lop. Call me whatever you want, my critters come first:)

  20. Right on! I never used to mind the term “crazy cat lady” because it seemed sort of cute because it was kind of a way of making fun of myself — but then I started thinking, “Why should I be making fun of myself, seriously or not, for an area where I’ve focused my life and my passion for 15 years or more?” Then I turned it into “sane cat lady,” but then that got me thinking it’s kind of like saying, “I’m not like THOSE cat ladies.”

    I’m really disappointed that World’s Best Cat Litter came up with this. They’ve been really great about all sorts of other aspects of cat care and advocacy, so why throw us “crazy cat ladies” who supported them and assisted with those campaigns under the bus for the sake of a “cute” campaign?

  21. Women will always be disrespected, even though it’s wrong until we can earn as much as men doing the same job, etc. A number of us have been fighting the crazy cat women label for a while but it doesn’t go away because some women with one cat think it’s cute or something. Thanks for writing this post. I’m going to share it.

  22. Well what does that make me? A crazy human mancat?! I do apologise but some humans are really silly! If a cat or dog, or any animal for that matter, chooses to live with you and share their life with you, it makes you lucky, not crazy! Bisous from your furiend Bailey

  23. or buy products from companies that think people who have more than one cat, cats they take care, keep clean, keep fed and healthy, keep their house clean, who love their cats and ensure their welfare and those of other any type of cruel and disrespectful name/label. My roommate and I years ago acted as foster parents for cats. We helped socialize them and most of them found homes. At one one ppoint, because of kittens and irresponsible owners, we had 30. but they were fed, groomed, healthy, loved, clean and so was our home. Crazy cat ladies? not bloody likely.

  24. Guilty as charged. I do refer to myself as a crazy cat lady – meant in a playful way, not to mock or disrespect anyone else. I do understand where you are coming from and I will drop it from my resume.

  25. Very well said buddy! *apaws, apaws*! Mom’s crazy about all her pets, including our kitties, but hates to be labeled as a crazy “anything”! We’ve never seen any mention of “crazy cat men” either. We pay attention to where every dollar is spent, so companies need to watch how they REPRESENT their prospective customers.

  26. Awesome post, Rumpy and Jen. I have always had a problem/been uncomfortable with the term “crazy cat lady.” I don’t use it, and am glad to know that there are other who feel the same way! 🙂

  27. I think all the best people are a little crazy (like the saying). Crazy has more than one definition- possessed by enthusiasm (thats me), intensely involved (Yep), and these days crazy is used to describe something awesome (that food was crazy). Animal advocates, rescuers, and anybody who is trying to make the world a better place are completely awesome to me. I think to be successful at something, you do have to be a bit crazy (passionate). You have to go above and beyond what “normal” people would do.

    If I have a choice between being normal or crazy, Id pick crazy every time. I am extremely enthusiastic about things I am ridiculously passionate about- I am a bit crazy. People always shake their head and call me crazy when they here about my next project. But they are always the ones to be inspired to be a little crazy too when they see the outcome, or to try a little harder, or to be overly passionate about something. When someone says that I’m a crazy dog lady, I take it as a compliment and tell them they don’t know what they are missing.

  28. Oooh, well said Rumpy… made me think indeed! I read your post thinking I wasn’t going to agree since (like many others here) I have been called, and then adopted the term myself; a crazy DOG lady. I’m guilty of not really thinking through the true meaning of it.
    Paws for thought indeed, especially if companies are now starting to use the term for profiteering. not cool, not cool at all.
    Big hugs to you love Carrie (Myfie, Ellie and Millie) x

  29. why is it only women that are classified as ‘crazy cat ladies’? i have personally known men who have multiple cat households and nothing is said. i have a friend on FB who currently has 26 cats, all rescues. does this qualify him as a ‘crazy cat man’? i don’t think so.

  30. I come from the opposite end of the spectrum, myself—since my sisters delighted in calling me Kitty when we were young solely because it was the only nickname for Kathryn that I really disliked, I decided the only way to take away that weapon of their choice was to co-opt the name and ever since have been Miss Kitty. So in our family, it’s an in-joke and a reference to a personality that I don’t think of as remotely mine, but see as humorous. But I still never wanted anyone outside the family, and as such, not in on the joke, to have any idea it was okay to call me that. Now I don’t care anymore: over the years the joke did spread, and I’m okay with that too.

    And ‘crazy’ is a pretty high compliment in our gang, as well. We’re just that way.

    So I’ll take your advice under consideration, but for me, I’d be proud to be a crazy cat lady (or Kitty) whether I’m married or not, own pets or don’t, have children or none, am skinny or Rubenesque, or whatever. No one can insult me without my permission, so I choose to either ignore intended insults or better yet, turn them on their heads and adopt them with a wink. But your way works better for you, so that’s clearly the right approach for you. We all have to figure out what works for us. 🙂

  31. Personally, I didn’t think the title is a big deal and used to joke about it all the time. I stopped using the term Crazy Cat Lady when (1) I found out that it is a mental illness – animal hoarding and (2) I met a woman with 10 cats living in an apartment and really aggressive in her views about raising cats. All of a sudden I was chatting with a woman who people would call a Crazy Cat Lady and it wasn’t cute or funny any more. So now when I hear that term, I think of her.

  32. Maybe there should be a crazy catless man contest. Or a crazy dog guy contest. In any culture, the naturalness of a child is assimilated away, leaving behind a crazy assimilated person. I believe that any human over 5 is crazy. 🙂

    In other words, crazy changes according to who is in charge. If the majority of people heard voices, it would be considered normal.

  33. I am single with five lovely cats … why does that make me crazy! My guys fill my life with love and joy and purpose, and I think those are ways to remain sane in this crazy world. Great post … catch phrases and labels are really quite unnecessary in many respects.

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