Usage and association
Women who have cats have long been associated with the concept of spinsterhood. In more recent decades, the concept of a cat lady has been associated with "romance-challenged (often career-oriented) women".
Cat Ladies documentary
The 2009 documentary Cat Ladies tells the stories of four women whose lives have become dedicated to their cats. The film was directed by Christie Callan-Jones and produced by Chocolate Box Entertainment, originally for TVOntario. It was an official selection at the 2009 Hot Docs Festival, Silverdocs Festival, and San Francisco's DocFest.
Naftali Berrill, Ph.D., Director of the New York Center for Neuropsychology and Forensic Behavioral Science told AOL Health, "These may be people who have a very hard time expressing themselves to other people. They may find the human need for affection is met most easily through a relationship with a pet." This devotion can sometimes signal mental or emotional issues such as depression.
Crazy Cat Lady Syndrome
Recent research indicates a link between the parasite Toxoplasma gondii, which sexually reproduces exclusively in cats, and numerous psychiatric conditions, including OCD. The compulsive hoarding of cats, a symptom of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), has long been associated with "crazy cat ladies". Mass media has drawn on this stereotype to coin the term Crazy Cat Lady Syndrome to refer to the association between T. gondii and psychiatric conditions.
Famous cat ladies and their cats
- Florence Nightingale had many cats named after famous public figures such as Gladstone and Bismarck.
- Edith "Big Edie" Ewing Bouvier Beale and her daughter Edith "Little Edie" Bouvier Beale had many cats living with them in their decrepit home Grey Gardens. Reportedly, some 30 cats lived in the house by the time Little Edie sold it in 1979.
- Bertha Rand was Winnipeg's notorious Cat Lady, who for years battled her neighbours and city hall to save her dozens of cats. Even years after her death, she still holds a place in Canadian popular culture. Maureen Hunter's play The Queen of Queen Street is based on Rand's life.
- Susan Ashworth in The Cat Lady computer game, who battled with depression and owned many cats.
In popular culture
Cat ladies in popular culture include:
- Selina Kyle (Catwoman) from DC Comics is a known cat lady.
- A key scene in the movie A Clockwork Orange has the violent sociopath Alex DeLarge murdering a paranoid cat lady, for which he is convicted and sentenced to a prison term during which he undergoes behavioral training to become a vastly-different person.
- Erin Cardillo's character of Emma Tutweiller in The Suite Life on Deck has 30 cats in her cabin.
- In "Cats in the Cradle", an episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, a cat lady is revealed to have been murdered by a young girl, after the girl and her sister wanted a cat she possessed, which the lady was unwilling to part with as she considered it one of her children.
- In The Simpsons, the Crazy Cat Lady is a recurring character whose real name is Eleanor Abernathy.
- Angela Martin is a character on The Office (US) who is a cat lady.
- Dana Carvey played "Grandma Puggy", a widowed grandmother who had cats everywhere and their hair got on the guests. She was also mentioned in a Wayne's World sketch by Garth (also played by Carvey) as trick-or-treating at "some weird old lady who had about a gazillion cats and their hair got on my candy apple".
- In The Lego Movie, Mrs. Scratchen-Post is a cat lady minifigure who is one of Emmet Brickowski's neighbors.
- In the books Beloved Dearly and I Know Who Likes You by Doug Cooney, Catherine is a cat lady.
- In Codename: Kids Next Door, the Crazy Old Cat Lady is a villain who lives with thousands of black and white cats and possesses the power to control them.
- Kiri Blakeley (15 Oct 2009), "Crazy Cat Ladies", Forbes
- Mark Ramirez (5 Aug 2009), "Do you believe in the Crazy Cat Lady?", timesunion.com
- Davis, Susan; Flaherty (illus), Jake (2002), "Prosecuting Animal Hoarders is like Herding Cats" (PDF), California Lawyer (September): 26, 28, 29, 67, retrieved June 26, 2011
- Jeannette Loakman. "Cat Ladies - the Documentary". Retrieved 25 February 2015.
- Cat Ladies at the Internet Movie Database
- Huso, Deborah (November 2009). "Some Live Among Hundreds of Cats". AOL Health. Retrieved November 2009.[dead link]
- "How Your Cat Is Making You Crazy - Kathleen McAuliffe". The Atlantic. 2012-02-06. Retrieved 2013-06-03.
- D.J. Moran and Jennifer L. Patterson (2011-06-16). "When More Isn't Enough". Psychology Today.
- Celebrity cat lovers
- Sally Quinn on life in Grey Gardens, W magazine, April 8, 2009
- "Signature Editions". Retrieved 25 February 2015.