If you have encountered a person who owns a lot of cats, and we are talking more just a few here, then you probably associated that individual with being a woman. That is, after all, where the concept of the crazy cat lady comes from. For whatever reason, society has long adopted the notion that women who own a lot of cats are crazy to one degree or another. The crazy cat lady has been featured in television shows, movies, and in books to name just a few. It is has turned into something of an urban legend. The question is if owning a lot of cats actually make you crazy? Is there any truth to the notion that the crazy cat lady is even a legitimate concept. Well, according to a recent study conducted by CNN, it is not. Continue reading to learn more.
Where Does the Idea of Crazy Cat Lady Even Come From?
It seems that women and cats have long loved one another. Some women take this to the extreme and tend to have so many cats that they do not socialize with actual humans. This is how the story goes anyway. There have been reports, for example, that cat ladies are challenged in the area of romance. They have been unable to really maintain a long relationship with another person, so they turn to cats to provide them with companionship. Is this true? Well, we get to that in a moment. There are even reports that cat ladies are lesbians. That is a recent notion, and it has already been debunked.
The definition of a cat lady is a woman who ends up becoming a hoarder of animals. This is a woman who takes it upon herself to keep large numbers of cats with her without even having the proper space or resources to adequately care for them. Remember that even shelters have a limit to the number of cats they will care for at any one time, and these are trained professionals that we are talking about. In the end, the typical cat lady is unwilling to admit or even see that there is a problem with the situation. They think it is perfectly normal for them to have so many cats running around the house, even if it is at the expense of her own personal sanity. If the woman is not aware of their situation and will not listen to the advice of others in getting rid of the animals, then they have been dubbed a crazy cat lady.
Interestingly enough, the media has covered the plight of the crazy cat lady for decades. Writers, celebrities, and even artists have long used the concept of the crazy cat lady in their work. Some have taken this a step further to challenge the gender based stereotype that it only women who are prone to hoard cats. Guys can do the same thing. It can also be perfectly healthy to care for so many cats at any one time, and the CNN study we are going to talk about now seems to support that notion.
What Does the Study Say?
Researchers recently wanted to look at the idea that having so many cats actually meant you were crazy in some way. To cut right to the chase, it was determined that this is not the case. That should make many so-called cat ladies quite happy in the end. Owning many cats, and we do mean many, does not make you crazy. It does not make you sad or anxious. And, it does not mean that you are romantically challenged. It simply means that you love cats. People love dogs, but we don’t have a crazy dog dude designation, do we?
Getting Into the Specifics
This was an actual study conducted by a team of researchers at UCLA. They looked at over 500 different cat owners and found no conclusive evidence to support the idea that there is such a thing as the crazy cat lady. In essence, this appears to be just another urban myth that society has supported for decades.
The study itself was recently published in the Royal Society of Open Science. The researchers actually spent time observing how various people reacted to animals who were issuing a distress call. They compared that with people who owned pets and had some sort of diagnosed mental or social behavioral problem. In the end, there is no reason to think about cat lovers and differently than we do those who love dogs.
The researchers actually wrote in their findings that they uncovered not one shred of evidence that can support the stereotype of a crazy cat lady. In fact, the so-called cat ladies do not differ from anyone else in terms of the symptoms that they convey in regards to depression, anxiety, or any other difficult expressed in being able to hold close relationships. In other words, cat ladies are just as likely or unlikely to experience any of these symptoms than those who do not even own a cat.
The findings of this study support the idea that individuals who own a large number of cats are not prone to depression. They do not need to live alone. Some cat owners do live along, that is for sure, but so do many non-cat owners. The two should not be viewed as mutually exclusive to one another.
Interestingly enough, the findings from this study are similar to what researchers in 2017 at the University College in London uncovered. They did not find any connection either when looking at cat ownership and the actual prevalence of behavioral or psychological disorders. It is also interesting to note that this study also uncovered that both cat and dog owners are more likely to respond quickly to a distress call issued by an animal when compared to those who do not own pets. As those of us who love cats or dogs know, we are pulled in a special way when we hear a bark or meow that sounds like the animal is in trouble!