It's the subject of jokes, t-shirts and even knickknacks, but what does it really mean to be a cat lady?
Typically the word "crazy" precedes the term "cat lady," but there's nothing nutty about loving cats and sharing your home with them.
The term cat lady is usually applied to women who have more than two cats. For some reason, three or more cats seems like a lot to people who don't have cats. But those of us who love cats know that they are a lot like potato chips--you can't have just one.
People who live in multiple cat households know the pitfalls: money spent on lots of food and cat litter, several litter boxes to clean everyday, and cat hair on all the furniture. But the benefits of living with several cats far outweigh the inconveniences. Here are a two:
- Physical health. Science has discovered that people who live with pets are healthier. Their blood pressure tends to be lower, they are less prone to heart attack and stroke, and their immune systems are stronger. They also they tend to live longer.
- Emotional health. Researchers have also uncovered the fact that people who live with pets have better mental health. They are less depressed and less anxious than the general population. They also suffer less from loneliness than people who live alone and don't share their lives with an animal companion.
Since these benefits apply to all pets, it would make sense that the more pets you have, the better off you will be. That would make so-called cat ladies particularly healthy and happy.
Before you run out and fill your home with cats, be sure you can accommodate a multitude of feline companions. Here are some things to consider:
- Cost. It stands to reason that the more cats you have, the more money you are going to spend on pet care. That means buying more food, more cat litter, and more frequent visits to the vet. Run some numbers to make sure you can afford to add another cat or two to your home.
- Resident cats. Unlike dogs, most cats don't appreciate a new member of their species joining the household. Your resident cat may be aggressive toward your new cat or vice versa. A slow introduction can help mitigate aggressiveness. Gradually introduce the new cat to the resident cat by keeping the newcomer confined to one room for a couple weeks. This will help the resident cat get used to the scent of the new cat and adjust to the idea that he has company. Another option is to adopt a young kitten. Adult cats are more likely to accept a kitten than another adult cat.
- Time. The more pets you have, the more time you need to devote to their care. You'll have more litter boxes to clean, more food bowls to wash and more clean up around the house. Be sure you have time and energy to take care of an additional cat.