Look, I like cats. I grew up with them. I own one. I'll chase them down on the street to try and pet them. But just because I have a cat, that does not make me a cat lady.
Frankly, I haven't personally been accused of being one either. But I'm still sick of people pushing the cat lady stereotype on people who simply appreciate goofy creatures.
There's a reason why the Internet is obsessed with cats. They're cute. They curl up into tight little balls, wrapping their tails securely around them. They knead on your belly. They do dumb things like flip over themselves while trying to try to catch an intangible splotch of light. Cats are generally a joy to watch and be around.
But my love, and any other cat lover's love for cats, does not preclude us from loving other animals. It doesn't mean I don't like dogs or that I wouldn't squee just as hard at the sight of one. We are not inherently "cat ladies" (and I resent the fact that it's such a gendered concept — men can love cats just as equally) just for appreciating cats.
Why is it dog people versus cat people? Can't a dog person also be a cat person, and vice versa? I know I am. Via my two brothers, I essentially have four dogs that I love visiting.
A friend of mine was so enamoured of the cuteness of my own cat that she is adopting one of her own. This is what she said to me recently:
Like, that's all sorts of bullshit. She gets a cat and that automatically makes her a cat lady? Maybe it makes her more aware of the world. Maybe it makes her more loving, wanting to take care of an animal that needs it, taking it away from a life of 24/7 crates. Maybe she just likes the companionship and, hey, remember that little thing where most residences will allow for cats but not for dogs? Or maybe that guy is just a dick, which he seems to be from all the stories I've heard about him.
I've had a lot of people assume that because I like cats, I also like cat-branded gifts. Like cats on pillows. Or cat blankets (full disclosure: my office blanket, which was a GIFT and not my selection whatsoever, is covered in cats). Cats on cups and cat bookends and cat umbrellas and…
Cat-owners' lives do not necessarily revolve around cats, just like any other pet owner's life does not necessarily revolve around their pet or the kind of pet they chose to live with. Just as gamers are not all basement-dwellers who never see the light of day, cat-lovers aren't all sexless anti-social shut-ins with no other interests but their chosen animal companion.
People who like cats like cats. The living, breathing, curling-into-a-ball animals we live with. But we may not necessarily like covering our living space with cat decor, or stacking cat items in our closets and on our shelves. We may not want 50 cats in our homes. We may not care to decorate our apartments to make it easier for our cats to get around. We may not be single, and we don't always get cats just to help ward off loneliness. We may not even be ladies.
We love cats! Stop shaming us for it.