The Universal Theory of “Cat Ladies”

April 8, 2009

After about a week of cat lady survey taking, and I believe that I can now come to some sort of conclusions about what makes a crazy cat lady.


First of all, the consensus seems to be 6 cats make a cat lady, numerically. It is the definite tipping point. Any more than 6 cats, and we are talking of someone like Eleanor here. The cats will overpower you, consuming your social skills and sanity with their constant purring and time consumption. So, never have more than 5 cats, or you are doomed! Doomed!

Cats used for practical purposes (instead of just being around as pets) buys one a bit more leeway. Specifically, the first two cats that happen to be left to their own devices on one’s property do not count.

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When we get to the less common pets, the number decreases. The average response for ferret ownership was two and the response for Madagascan Hissing Cockroaches was almost universally one (I did have a respondent say “a bucket full” and another say “100”). Whether this is due to the additional eccentricity of hoarding those types of animals or bias against them needs to be determined. I lean towards the latter conclusion (common responses: “ferrets smell” and “eww”). In principle, ferrets require about the same amount of attention as a cat (and cockroaches much, much less); so the number should be about the same for ferrets and buckets full of cockroaches. Societal discrimination against the “exotic pet” owner may very well shrink the numbers in practice. If excluded from normal society for “owning too many ferrets”, they may turn into the crazy ferret ladies they are demonized as. Further (or perhaps, actual) research is needed.

The qualitative aspects of the relationship, however are more important than that quantitative aspects. Subtract the quantity of allowed cats by 1 for every weird behavior of the cat owner (if talking about another type of pet, sub the word “cat” for the animal in question), including but not limited to:

  • A wardrobe of cat t-shirts
  • grooming cat(s) with your own tongue
  • eating cat food along with your cat
  • a false beard made of cat hair
  • untrimmed fingernails, especially when used as cat claws
  • similarly, sharpened eye teeth
  •  regularly attempting to communicate with cat(s) in their own “language”
  • regularly attempting to communicate with people in “cat language”
  • and, of course, this [Ed. note: creepiness ahead]

So, somebody can be a crazy cat lady withoutactually owning cats. This makes sense, especially when we are talking about known animal hoarders barred from pet ownership. Or, considering the aforementioned “this”.

In conclusion, crazy cat ladies are crazy, but more or less harmless to others. They are using unhealthy relationships with cat(s) to replace their non-existent social lives. Maybe, with some patience and allergy medication, we can re-integrate cat ladies into our society, thus removing the scourge of pet cats from our midst. One can only hope. And wean a cat lady back onto people food.


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