Why I wish people would stop calling me a “crazy cat lady”

I’m often referred to as the “crazy cat lady.” I talk about my cats in the same way that mothers talk about their children. In some aspects I suppose I fit the stereotype; however, I’m not particularly fond of this label. There are so many negative and unfair connotations attached to this name. If I’m a crazy cat lady, then I must be weird, a spinster, and have no human friends. I suppose I am weird (who isn’t?), and for the most part an introvert, so I’ll give you those; however, I’m also happily married and have a best friend who doesn’t sport a coat of fur. I don’t like to be made into a spectacle because of the fact that I often prefer the company of my cats to humans. Every time someone calls me a crazy cat lady, I lose a little more faith in humanity, which only reinforces my desire to spend time with my cats.

What I wish people knew about me is that I enjoy being around my cats because of the comfort they provide me. I’ve struggled with anxiety, depression, and OCD for a very long time, and what I’ve found is that my cats are the best therapy for me. No pill, no counseling has ever made me feel as good as when I’m playing or snuggling with my cats. With them, I don’t have to explain myself. Whether I’m crying or hiding in the closet because of an anxiety attack, they’re there for me, no questions asked. Wherever I am, they’ll find me and stay by my side. And sometimes that’s exactly what I need.

It brings me such joy to wake up in the morning and see one cat sprawled out next to my husband, and the other cuddled next to me. When my husband is at work or out of town, I can have peace of mind knowing that I’ll never be alone. One of them loves to paw at my face in the middle of the night until I let him under the covers. I don’t necessarily appreciate the pawing, but as soon as he plops down, I’m happy again. He’ll lay right next to my stomach, and I’ll wrap my arms around him. In these moments, I remember that just as I find comfort in them, they find comfort in me too.

A lot is changing in my life, and I struggle with the desire to always be in control; I’m constantly searching for stability. I’ve learned over the years that it’s near impossible to exercise total control — however, there are some things I can control, and that’s the health and happiness of my cats. I once had a friend who, after meeting my cats for the first time, told me how kind and sweet they were. She then told me that a pet’s actions are a reflection of how their owner treats them. While this may seem trivial, I felt so very proud of my cats in that moment, and I felt proud of myself too. Unlike dogs, cats make you work for their respect, and I think that’s where a lot of people lose interest. Once you have their stamp of approval though, it’s one of the greatest feelings. In the midst of utter chaos, uncertainty, or failure, I can look to my cats and feel happy about myself, because I know that I’ve always done and will always do right by them.

So, the next time you come across a cat person, think twice before calling them a crazy cat lady. Life is really hard, and we’re all just looking for ways to cope with our struggles.

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