We all know the stereotype: the frumpy, perpetually-single cat lady who rarely leaves her fur-covered apartment. It’s not totally clear why cat owners (specifically cat owners who are women) are assumed to be “crazy” while dog owners are not—some sources suggest the stereotype is linked to when single, childless women were accused of witchcraft, having cats as their familiars—but many have started to challenge these preconceptions surrounding feline ownership.
With the rise of social media, more and more cat ladies (and cat men) of all professions and personalities are gaining visibility. Here are just a few women within the online cat community who are recreating what it means to be a “cat lady.”
Hannah Shaw is the powerhouse behind Kitten Lady, a project that helps educate individuals and animal shelters on how to save orphan kittens. She has fostered hundreds of kittens, authored a book, hosted workshops at some of North America’s top cat events, and is one of the leading voices against the USDA’s taxpayer-funded experiments on kittens.
As the Director of TrapKing Humane Solutions, Tiffanie McCullough works to reduce the number of homeless cats in Atlanta through TNR and adoption. She has experience in feline nutrition, owner surrender counselling, and caring for shelter felines. Through her involvement in the rescue community, she aims to challenge stereotypes associated with black women and felines.
Beth is a longtime animal rights advocate who has fostered hundreds of kittens with her husband, Howard. She has written multiple children’s books about her persian, Yoda, that teach young readers about compassion and acceptance.
Val, @ _gochloego_
Val Neal is the cat mother of Doogie and Kitten Lady alum Chloe, who was rescued with rear leg paralysis. Through Chloe’s Instagram, Val encourages others to open their hearts to special needs pets. She is also human mother to baby Holly.
Ashley documents her revolving door of foster kittens on Instagram, showing the joy that animals can bring into our lives. She uses her platform not only to promote TNR and fostering, but to speak candidly about depression and anxiety, in an effort to help destigmatize these issues.
Pookie, @pookie_n and Shannon, @shannonellis808
Nala might be the most famous cat on the internet, but a cute face and no opposable thumbs could only get her so far. Her owners, Pookie and Shannon, are the driving forces behind her empire, using her platform to spread awareness about shelter overpopulation and the importance of spaying and neutering.
Officer Byrne, @bocaratona
Gretchen Byrne is a Florida-based police officer who has made it her mission to rescue and foster every stray feline she encounters while out on patrol. She has even been granted the nickname “cat cop.”
Tamar’s blog, I Have Cat, “reads like ‘Sex and the Kitty’”, making her the Carrie Bradshaw of the cat world. She is the author of Shop Cats of New York, a beautiful collection of photographs by Andrew Marttila that capture the lives of New York City’s shop felines.
Amanda, @amandammartinez and Raphaëlle, @madein24k
Amanda and Raphaëlle are the Dark Lord’s most devoted servants, capturing his best angles on camera and supplying him with all the catnip his evil heart desires.
Baker Christina Ha co-founded the Manhattan patisserie Macaron Parlour, as well as Meow Parlour, the New York City’s first cat café. She also launched Cat Camp NYC, an annual event for cat lovers that features vendors, speakers, and adoptable felines.
Ellen is a feline-focused vet technician who shares her daily work and fostering adventures on Instagram.
Olivia is the co-founder and CEO of meowbox. Not long after the company launched, she was notified of a foster kitten named Harvey who had been rescued from a ditch in Philadelphia, starving and ridden with fleas. She used meowbox’s platform to help his fosterer raise funds for his vet bills, and eventually adopted him with his best buddy, Zac. The boys are now living their best lives as meowbox’s Chief Feline Officers.
Which other cat ladies would you add to this list?