How Writing About Cats Has Thickened My Sensitive Skin


I’ve always considered myself a sensitive person, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I’m extremely empathetic and caring — that’s the upside of my sensitivity. The downside is that I’m easily hurt and spend way too much energy trying to please others.

I never, ever want to lose my sensitivity; however, I knew I needed to develop a thicker skin and to not take things so personally. I also needed to come to terms with the fact that I’m never going to please all the people all the time. I wanted to live in my truth and genuine happiness, even if that included flying my feline freak-flag. I’ve worked most of my adult life trying to toughen up, but I enrolled in a crash course in skin-thickening when I started writing about cats.

I’ve spent my life with cats, loved them immensely, and took care of them the best I could based on what I knew at the time. I think most pet parents do that. Enter the world of social media! Before social media, we knew our friends’ and family’s cats and had a good idea where everybody stood as far as feeding and care. Once immersed in the world of Facebook, Twitter, and the like, we cat lovers now virtually see hundred of cats every day! We get to know online cats better than we know some of our own human family members.

A little over five years ago, I began blogging about my cats on my cat humor blog, Catladyland, and sharing the posts on Facebook and Twitter. That was when this well-meaning cat lover (me), who just wanted to write funny cat stuff, got her first taste of some of the full-on, claws-out behavior that came from (gasp!) other feline fanciers.

First of all, not everyone enjoyed my brand of humor, which tended toward the sarcastic and offbeat. I was never a fan of cutesy humor and just decided I wanted to write what I thought was funny. Some of the comments were sort of mean and gave me a shot in the old self esteem. Ugh. Had I made a mistake? Should I write more of what some of these people wanted to read? No. I wanted to be true to myself, so I ignored the comments and moved on … sort of. Those comments lived in my head for a while, and that sucked, but I needed to process them and make peace.

Fast forward a few years later. I began reviewing food and other pet supplies on my blog. Now, this opened the floodgates for anyone and everyone to unload their opinions (and not always in a polite way) in my comments section. I’d never realized cat food and care were such controversial topics! I felt paralyzed! I’d just offended a great many people because I endorsed a certain brand of food that was viewed as pure evil by some cat parents.

For a while I walked on eggshells and wondered if I should even be blogging. If I’d have to fend off haters and write bland material so I didn’t offend anyone, what fun was that? I pushed through those feelings and decided I needed to buck up and keep moving ahead. And I did.

When I began writing for Catster two years ago, I was a little flabbergasted that they actually liked my humor pieces. Cats dressed up as humans and working at the mall? They loved it! Cats with Pinterest boards? They wanted more! I can definitely say that coming onboard with Catster boosted my self confidence and reminded me that I could be weird and write about silly stuff, and there would be an audience who enjoyed it. Thank you, Catster. I am forever grateful.

And don’t even get me started on some of the gripes I received when I wrote my first book, whiskerslist: the kitty classifieds. “Well, that’s just in poor taste.” Well, then, don’t buy it.

These days, I write what I think is funny. I still write weird humor, review food and products on my blog, and read every comment with a monster-sized grain of salt. I feel confident enough to stand behind what I write and let the haters hate. I’m not going to debate or defend anything.

It’s such a great feeling of freedom, which has extended into my personal life. I accept all kind of feedback with less sensitivity and laugh off the comments that are meant to hurt me. It’s been completely liberating! Who knew cat-writing was such great therapy? And no co-pay!

Have you ever had people tear you down over your ideas about cats and cat care? Tell us how you got past it in the comments!

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About the Author: Angie Bailey is an eternal optimist with an adoration of all things silly. Loves pre-adolescent boy humor, puns, making up parody songs, thinking about cats doing people things and The Smiths. Writes Catladyland, a cat humor blog, Texts from Mittens (birthed right here on Catster) and authored whiskerslist: the kitty classifieds, a silly book about cats wheeling and dealing online. Partner in a production company and writes and acts in comedy web series that features sketches and mockumentaries. Mother to two humans and three cats, all of which want her to make them food.

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