Caitlin Schanaker
May 08, 2015 8:30 am

I have always been an animal person. From birth I’ve gravitated to where the creatures are. It helped enormously that my parents built a house on a good amount of acreage, and my mom became a horse trainer. We were constantly surrounded by horses, chickens, dogs, birds, cats. Her love for animals transferred easily to me. It was all pretty blissful.

When I was a little girl, my mom discovered that a wild black cat had given birth to a litter of kittens in our tack room. We named the mama Panther and brought her inside to give her a better and safer environment to raise her babies. Eventually we realized something pretty cosmic about the kittens: there were three boys, and one girl. Just like our human family! My three brothers and I each chose a kitten, and that was it, guys. It was love. I was sold. It is such a wonderful little miraculous childhood memory that the four of us share, and I have been a cat lady ever since.

There is a large divide in the camp of animal lovers. The cat people, and the dog people. Which is crazy pants, but it’s true. I love both, but there’s something about that cat-less population that I find incredibly sad. I understand (and commiserate with) allergies, but it is my mission to convert those non-allergied-cat-haters. You’re missing something incredibly pure and wonderful! Allow me to shed some light on why being a cat lady is the best. 

We’re Really Cool People

Just ask Taylor Swift or Mark Twain! Ok, so you can’t really ask Mark Twain, but he did have some pretty great thoughts on the cat matter. Case in point: “I simply can’t resist a cat, particularly a purring one. They are the cleanest, cunningest, and most intelligent things I know, outside of the girl you love, of course.”

I have a feeling Mark Twain and I would have gotten along quite fine. Bosom buddy status. One study also showed that cat owners tend to be smarter people. Just sayin’.

It’s Like Being in a Secret Club

The cat-loving community is like the best of secret societies, really. You’re surrounded by people that don’t quite get it, and you know in your heart that they’ll never understand (which just means they’re missing out). In general I think the World Wide Web is totally a cat lady, as evidenced by the intense amount of cat videos it hosts. Our love of these videos BONDS us. Dare I quote Mark Twain again?When a man loves cats, I am his friend and comrade, without further introduction.”

Cat Stuff is Getting Cuter and Cuter by the Second

The other day I was at a restaurant and one of the waitresses, adorable as all get out, was wearing a sparkly cat ear headband and my heart grew three sizes, Grinch-style. Then the season 4 New Girl finale happened (which was uh-mazing) and Jess sported a retro cat eye sweatshirt from Cats the Broadway musical, which of course was the soundtrack of my childhood.

I was downright exhilarated when cat-related stuff came into fashion. Sometimes quirky, sometimes cute, sometimes outrageous. Cat leggings, cat rings, cat sweaters. I’m all about it. Cat ladies are next-level thrilled when they come across cat merchandise, and even more thrilled now that cat attire (CATTIRE) is socially acceptable.

Cats Measure Your Life in Sweetness

Everyone who has loved and cherished any pet, be it cat or dog or hamster or fish, can relate to the special bond that develops between pet and owner. And cats purr, people. They literally shake with happiness when they’re cuddly and content. It’s hard for me to imagine living life without a furry friend to guide the comfort levels of my home. They have always been a part of my life, a way to measure my memories and sprinkle sugar on top of a happy home.

Hold it. Mark Twain is speaking again: “A home without a cat — and a well-fed, well-petted and properly revered cat — may be a perfect home, perhaps, but how can it prove title?”

Cats Be True 

There isn’t a cat out there who isn’t true to itself. They are genuine to the core. People often complain that cats are boring, or don’t play like dogs or love their owners like dogs. But those points are all moot, because a cat is not a dog. It’s an entirely different animal, and it plays, loves, and shows affection in very different ways. Every cat has its own unique quirks and personality traits. They’re typically independent creatures that enjoy their people if, when and how they choose to. As an owner, I find that rather freeing. I don’t worry about going on vacation and traumatizing my cat. All they need is a comfy spot in the sun and a big supply of food and water, and they’ll be totally happy and ready to cuddle when I get home.

Cats Change Your Life

I am sensitive, affectionate, romantic, loyal, devoted, friendly. And I am a cat lover. Or am I those things as a result of loving cats? WHOA.

Either way, I find myself changed by their weirdness, calmed by their presence, and soothed by their sleepy grins. It’s like owning my very own Pokemon. Cats are mysterious and bizarre, but they’ve also been known to ease depression and lower stress. I’m happy to care for them and happy to be with them. My life has been enriched by being a good steward and proper caretaker for these sweet little souls that make me laugh and cry. It’s how I was raised, how I love to live, and how I live to love. Every home I have ever lived in has had cats. I choose to live with them and by them, taking in the world with wide eyes and coming home to the purrs of a day well spent.

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