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Do You Worry That People Think You're a Crazy Cat Lady?

Who gets to define "crazy," and why is it crazy to care for animals well and give them love?

 |  Apr 16th 2014  |   9 Contributions


Here's what I don't get: Why is it crazy to love other beings and give them the care and support they need? Isn't love the best thing in the world? Isn't this when we are being our best selves? What could be wrong with that?

Child is kissing a cat by Shutterstock.com

Ask yourself this question: Which person is crazy? The one with 10 children, 10 dogs, or 10 cats?

No, I don't have 10 cats (I have six, and one dog), but I might have more cats if I had the means and the time. I used the number 10 because I have a suspicion that a person with 10 kids, for example, might be not be perceived as crazy -- yet. Busy, certainly. But 10 cats? Definitely crazy.

Is this a case of our collective human ego? Not sure, but it's a thought I've pondered over the years. As an aside, I'm not sure I could handle 10 dogs! But I know that there are folks who probably quite competently have 10 dogs and likely do a great job caring for them. 

Where is the line crossed? I am honest enough to admit that six cats is the max (financially and timewise) for our household. I know for a fact that cat care would become difficult if I had more cats.

Really, the perfect number is probably five. But Zorro the stray made it through a rough winter in our garage, and when we moved, I did not want to abandon him. I did have a Plan B in place, a trusted friend's farm if it seemed that Zorro could not make move we just made cross country.

Those of us who care well for our animals probably have a maximum number we can deal with. And I know that it can be hard not to cross the line. So many animals need help! It's something that I need to be constantly aware of. I try to practice non-judgement. I know a lady who has many cats and is able to care for them all well. I think that's awesome.

How might I hope to convince others that I'm not crazy? Does it matter?

I'll start by saying that I've learned through life that even though I think I'm perfectly normal, some folks think I'm kind of eccentric or different. I'm not even sure why, beyond the fact that I'm creative, a writer and yoga teacher, and that I love cats and animals and I love living in the woods. I'm too close to myself to understand why I might be perceived as eccentric. But I have learned over the years (thank you, life wisdom!) to stop fighting it and be myself. I think that's a huge and wonderful lesson to learn in life, and when the realization comes, it feels great and freeing.

So, what might I do to show others that I'm not "crazy"? Actually, I ask this rhetorically. At this point, I'm not sure I care. If I'm a good and kind person and a good citizen, does an errant opinion matter? It matters less and less, the more time I spend on the planet. That's a good thing.

Leading by example

I would hope that people look at how I care for my cats and come to understand that this is a respectful and caring endeavor. My cats and dogs have taught me so much about life and how to be a better human. Perhaps people see that, or perceive it, through their own filters. I don't lecture or preach. I'm pretty quiet about everything. But I would hope that an observer would see the love and the exceptional human/animal bond that those of us facilitate when we care and love our cats.

My cats teach me about love all the time -- one of their greatest lessons.

I've had a few people, after reading my writing, comment to the effect that they had a new understanding of the possible bond between human and animal. And that, I think, is very cool.

Adopt a "who cares" attitude and forge on

Some people come to this point earlier in life than I did. I'm just grateful to finally be in a place where I'm okay with being myself. It's a huge stresser to fight your wiring. Don't worry about what others think. Your energy is better put to use in helping cats -- whether you write, educate, advocate, rescue, support, etc.

Follow your own path

I've never been very good at conforming, even when I've tried. I finally figured this out about myself after years on this earth. You have to be yourself. If it's part of your path or you have a great drive to care for cats, rescue cats, foster or home cats or whatever -- well, you'll feel highly rewarded if you follow that path! I find I'm more truly my best self when I follow my callings. Caring about cats and writing about them just happens to be one of my callings.

Have you been called crazy? Do you care? How do you deal with it? Share your insights in the comments!

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About Catherine Holm: Told that she is funny but doesn’t know it, accused of being an unintentional con artist by her husband, quiet, with frequent unannounced bursts into dancing liveliness, Cat Holm loves writing about, working for, and living with cats. She is the author of the cat-themed memoir Driving with Cats: Ours for a Short Time, the creator of Ann Catanzaro cat fantasy story gift books, and the author of two short story collections. She loves to dance, be outside whenever possible, read, play with cats, make music, do and teach yoga, and write. Cat lives in the woods, which she loves as much as really dark chocolate, and gets regular inspiration shots along with her double espresso shots from the city.

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