It happened. Seemingly overnight.
I was scrolling through photos on my phone when it hit me. Could it be true? So I counted them. And frantically recounted.
There were 22 photos of my kids, 115 of my grandson, and 204 photos of my cats. 204? Seriously? Was I becoming one of those crazy old cat ladies? The ones with the colorful whacky hats with a houseful of pampered felines, cooing, “Ooooh, Precious, come to mama?”
Determined I couldn’t REALLY be a crazy cat lady, I desperately searched for proof. So I googled, and googled again. Then I came across The Cat Lady Checklist, certain it would prove I’ve not become this stereotype. I scored 17 out of 19. Holy shit Batman! Or should I say Cat Woman?
It was rough adjusting to my newfound identity. I went through the traditional stages of grief: denial, anger, depression, and acceptance. Well, maybe I’ve only gotten through three. I’m still working on the acceptance thing. While not fully embracing the cat lady image, I now find myself getting annoyed over all the dog posts on Facebook, posts that I used to relish.
How could this have happened? I’m a strong-minded writer and career woman, a single parent who raised her daughters through bouts of poverty, illnesses, and battles over school IEPs.
Now in my 60s, it’s true I’ve lost a little of the spring in my step. I’ve had to remove climbing Mt. Everest from my bucket list. But I’m still full of fire and brimstone … and opinions … lots of opinions.
I once could debate for hours whether Melville’s Billy Budd was a story of redemption or a depressing tale of the death of innocent by a cruel, harsh world. I could hold my own in deep philosophical discussions and intense political debates. Now I’m boring my coworkers about my kittens’ farting issues and the high cost of feline probiotics. I’m rushing home after work so the little monsters aren’t alone for too long.
Truly, I am the least likely person to morph into a cat lady. I was born a dog person. The bigger the dog the better. Newfoundlands, Great Pyrenees, and Labrador Retrievers — I owned them all. How did this independent, outgoing, dog-loving activist turn into a kitten-obsessed old lady?
Two words. Hunter and Crash — two rescue kittens I adopted a few months ago. That, and an empty nest, I suppose. I lost my 13-year-old geriatric dog and 16-year old elderly cat within a month of each other last summer. Coming home to the hollow silence of a pet-less household was overwhelming. Knowing I couldn’t get another dog because I work long hours, I visited a rescue event to adopt one kitten, a black cat like the one I lost. I walked out with a bonded pair. End of story.
In a few short months, Hunter and Crash became the focus of my life. My adult children and grandson suddenly took a back seat to these two incorrigible felines. I doted and worried over them. I fixated on trying to solve their digestive issues. I took photos, lots of photos, because they’re so darn cute. And I will talk about them to anyone who will listen. Sorry Gabriel, your granny has become a crazy cat lady — but I still love you.
And so it goes as I settle into my new identity — a Crazy Cleveland Cat Lady.
I started this blog at the encouragement of friends, whom I inundate with pithy emails, who begged me to turn those emails into a blog. Careful what you wish for. I look forward sharing my ramblings with all the other cat ladies out there and everyone who cares to listen. I’ll being offering my opinions — and I have many — on growing old, life lessons, and another topics that pique my interest and hopefully yours. Enjoy the journey. I’d love to hear from you. #CrazyCatLadiesRule