Cat lady

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A cat lady is a single woman who dotes upon her cat or cats. The term is usually considered pejorative,[1] though it is sometimes embraced.[2]

Usage and association[edit]

Women who own 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".[1]

A cat lady may also be an animal hoarder who keeps large numbers of cats without having the ability to properly house or care for them.[3] They may be ignorant about their situation.

Cat Ladies documentary[edit]

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.[4][5]

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.[6]

Crazy Cat Lady Syndrome[edit]

Recent research indicates a link between the parasite T. gondii, which sexually reproduces exclusively in cats, and numerous psychiatric conditions, including OCD.[7] The compulsive hoarding of cats, a symptom of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), has long been associated with "crazy cat ladies".[8] 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.[7]

Famous cat ladies and their cats[edit]

In popular culture[edit]

Cat ladies in popular culture include:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Kiri Blakeley (15 Oct 2009), Crazy Cat Ladies, Forbes 
  2. ^ Mark Ramirez (5 Aug 2009), Do you believe in the Crazy Cat Lady?, 
  3. ^ Davis, Susan; Flaherty (illus), Jake (2002), Prosecuting Animal Hoarders is like Herding Cats, California Lawyer (September): 26, 28, 29, 67, retrieved June 26, 2011 
  4. ^ Cat Ladies - When cats mean "meow" to you than people
  5. ^ Cat Ladies at the Internet Movie Database
  6. ^ Huso, Deborah (November 2009). "Some Live Among Hundreds of Cats". AOL Health. Retrieved November 2009. [dead link]
  7. ^ a b "How Your Cat Is Making You Crazy - Kathleen McAuliffe". The Atlantic. 2012-02-06. Retrieved 2013-06-03. 
  8. ^ D.J. Moran and Jennifer L. Patterson (2011-06-16). "When More Isn't Enough". Psychology Today. 
  9. ^ Celebrity cat lovers
  10. ^ Sally Quinn on life in Grey Gardens, W magazine, April 8, 2009
  11. ^