Cat lady

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A stereotypical cat lady, or cat woman, is a single[1] woman who dotes upon her cat or cats.[1] The term is usually considered pejorative,[1] though it is sometimes embraced.[2]

Usage and association[edit]

At least in the Anglosphere, single women who own cats have long been associated with the concept of spinsterhood.[1] In more recent decades, the concept of a cat lady has been associated with "romance-challenged (often career-oriented) women who can't find a man".[1]

The term is also used to denote an animal hoarder who keeps large numbers of cats without having the ability to properly house or care for them.[3] They may be ignorant about their situation.

Cat Ladies documentary[edit]

The 2009 documentary Cat Ladies tells the stories of four women whose lives have become dedicated to their cats. The film was directed by Christie Callan-Jones and produced by Chocolate Box Entertainment, originally for TVOntario. It was an official selection at the 2009 Hot Docs Festival, Silverdocs Festival, and San Francisco's DocFest.[4][5]

Naftali Berrill, Ph.D., Director of the New York Center for Neuropsychology and Forensic Behavioral Science told AOL Health, "These may be people who have a very hard time expressing themselves to other people. They may find the human need for affection is met most easily through a relationship with a pet." This devotion can sometimes signal mental or emotional issues such as depression.[6]

In popular culture[edit]

Cat ladies in popular culture include:

Famous cat ladies and their cats[edit]

Florence Nightingale had many cats named after famous public figures such as Gladstone and Bismarck.[7]

Edith "Big Edie" Ewing Bouvier Beale and her daughter Edith "Little Edie" Bouvier Beale had many cats living with them in their decrepit home Grey Gardens. Reportedly, some 30 cats lived in the house by the time Little Edie sold it in 1979.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Kiri Blakeley (15 Oct 2009), "Crazy Cat Ladies", Forbes
  2. ^ Mark Ramirez (5 Aug 2009), "Do you believe in the Crazy Cat Lady?",
  3. ^ Davis, Susan; Flaherty (illus), Jake (2002), "Prosecuting Animal Hoarders is like Herding Cats" (PDF), California Lawyer (September): 26, 28, 29, 67, retrieved June 26, 2011
  4. ^ Cat Ladies - When cats mean "meow" to you than people
  5. ^ Cat Ladies at IMDb
  6. ^ Deborah Huso: Script error: No such module "Vorlage:Internetquelle". AOL Health, November 2009, abgerufen im November 2009.Vorlage:Cite web/temporär [dead link]
  7. ^ Celebrity cat lovers
  8. ^ Sally Quinn on life in Grey Gardens, W magazine, April 8, 2009