Well, there goes the old love life:
This is, in most part, a response to Brian Donovan, the man who made confessions about being a male cat owner over at Thought Catalog. Let me start by saying, Brian, you sound like an incredibly kind and thoughtful guy. I’m glad you had the courage to come out of the closet as a male cat owner. I respect you and your honesty. But I must unburden myself.
I am one of the girls you speak of, the kind who cocks her head sideways and looks at you as if you’ve just revealed that you were a fat kid (so was I!) when you tell me you have a cat. You’re right, I do see male cat ownership as a “preexisting condition.” One not conducive to me dating you. But not exactly for the reasons you’re thinking. I don’t find you creepy or feminine (or, I’m sure I wouldn’t if we met in person). There’s absolutely nothing wrong with you whatsoever. It’s not you, it’s ME.
My friends seem to find my dislike of cats humorous. They joke that I will end up marrying a man with tons of cats and proudly scoop litter for all eternity. Let the record stand: That will never happen. Here. We. Go. Deep breath. The reasons why I am thoroughly incompatible with male cat owners …
She lists eight reasons she will never date a cat person, but the two most revealing, I think, are the fact that her first boyfriend had a cat and she started developing allergy symptoms about the time she was ready to go off to college and dump him, and the fact that she's deathly afraid of becoming a mentally ill "crazy cat lady" like her grandmother. Traumatic first-love experiences never leave us -- it's sort of like generals always fighting the last war or something. And childhood fears inspired by a relative's misfortunes are equally compelling influences on our life choices.
It is an interesting note that people who do go off the mental deep end into animal hoarding tend to choose cats instead of dogs, which probably has more to do with the nature of the animals than the nature of the mental illness. If one dog requires a lot of time and energy to take care of, multiply that by 10 and it becomes obvious that there would precious little time left for just being crazy. But 10 cats lounging around the house ignoring you dones't seem like that much more commitment than one cat lounging around the house ignoring you, and if 10 why not 20, and before you know it you're knee-deep in cat poop and the relatives are talking about trying to contest the will.
Totally excluding an entire group of people to date -- whether it's because of weight or skin color or religion or choice of animal companion -- is also, by the way, at least a form of social dysfunction if not outright mental illness. If you meet someone and feel that spark, then say, "Sorry, can't do it, you're one of them," then you deserve what you get in life, and I hope your silly dog never runs away from home and breaks your heart.
My sister and I have talked about this "crazy cat person" business. I'm not absolutely sure she agrees with me, but I decided after our talk that a woman doesn't risk becoming a crazy cat lady until she has at least five, but a man can become a "crazy cat dude" when he has only three. So, ladies, I'm still one below the limit of being totally, around the bend caraaaaazy. Give me a call.