Here’s a true story: A cat person and a non-cat person walk into a coffee shop. The next thing you know, they’re making a podcast together — about cats. Mary Phillips-Sandy has been a cat person her entire life. The Let’s Talk About Cats podcast started as an idea back in 2014, where it sat in the back of her mind until 2018 when a friend told her she needed to do it — and that she knew someone who could help.
Enter Lizzie Jacobs, a producer of several high-profile podcasts, who gave Mary lots of great ideas and insights about podcast production and storytelling. And even though Lizzie has no interest in cats, the two hit it off immediately. And while Lizzie may have been a bit alarmed about Mary’s passion for cats and the secret reason she wanted to make the show (her belief that talking about cats is a way to understand the deepest, darkest, weirdest and most personal part of ourselves), she sincerely cares about people with fascinating and funny stories. As it turns out, cat people are full of those stories. And so the podcast was born.
Mary hopes the show inspires people to reflect on the role their cats play in their lives — whatever that role may be. “I hope it gives people an opportunity to feel grateful for the privilege of knowing their cats,” she says.
It’s not just talking about cats. A lot of research goes into the podcast, too. The Cat Quiz trivia game is their way of exploring how cats have woven themselves through human culture — “from ancient Egyptian pottery to pasta shapes to Carmen Electra’s perfume.”
They’ve loved every guest who’s come on the show, but some favorites include “comedians Naomi Ekperigin and Andy Beckerman, who have an incredible story about overcoming allergies to find love, and actress/writer Mara Wilson, who discussed the joys of cat Twitter.”
For now, Mary and Lizzie’s main goal is the keep making the show according to their high standards. They do the podcast on top of work and child wrangling, so “it’s less about finding balance and more about keeping all the plates in the air.” They hope to do more live events, especially outside New York (where they are based), so they can keep building the community that’s forming around the show.
“There’s a running joke that we want to do a travel show where we meet cat people around the world and see unusual sights that cat people would want to see, like the rooftop tile cats of Yunnan province,” Mary says. “If someone handed us a sack of money, that could go from joke to actual goal.”
Find the show by subscribing on your favorite podcast app or listen on the website letstalkaboutcats.com. On the website, you can sign up for a free monthly newsletter that contains links to interesting cat stuff, little essays from Lizzie, recipes, playlists, etc. You can also follow them on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @ltacpod.
Oh, and Mary assures us that Lizzie is coming around. “She’s started sending me photos of cats she sees around the city, and