Crazy Cat Ladies. In many circles that expression is not meant kindly. It connotates instability, excess (too many cats, obsessively talking about cats), wearing sweatshirts with cutesy embroidered artwork of kittens chasing after balls of yarn. We're probably fat. We're far from “cool.” We have no relationship as meaningful as the one we have with our cats. We're probably not married, maybe never even had a boyfriend.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. The cat ladies dinner. Between everyone at the table we had or cared for (we counted ferals) 85 cats!
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Ever-smiling Angie with kitten.
Last week I attended BlogPaws 2013, a conference for pet bloggers. I'll be doing a write up about my trip, my 90-minute session about our Kitties for Kids program and may even dish a bit of dirt, but today my focus is on the real reason why I go to these conferences-it's to spend time with my friends, who happen to write about cats and who love and protect them with the same passion I do.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Our dear friend, Kate from Hauspanther couldn't make it to BlogPaws so we got together and created the Cat Lounge for her.
When I was a kid I had a younger brother. We didn't get along very well, nor do we, today, which is why I used “had” referring to him. Our family moved around a lot and I was constantly uprooted and lonely. Making new friends was tough and it seemed that just as I made a friend, we'd move away and I would never see them again.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Deb from Zee & Zoey sharing a flirty smile (and wearing cat-ear tiaras!)
My Mother never had women friends. She had some interesting male friends, ones whom I'm not sure what their real relationship to my Mother really was. There was the Chief of Police, one of the officers in the Fire Department and another guy who worked doing construction who was like an uncle to me. I never had a role model for how to be friends with women. Women were always creatures you could not trust and who you were in competition with for the cute guys.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. JaneA of Paws & Effect with Sir Disco
My “best” friend in high school went behind my back and stole my boyfriend away from me (he returned a few weeks later claiming she smelled like wet cardboard..and I later dumped him). She claimed I should “move on because David loved her now”…some friend.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Tamar, Angie and Debbie from Glogirly
I wrote off being close to women. I just didn't know how to do it…
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Elegant Coco-and yes, she's dressed up. Coco has no problem wearing an oufit or prancing around. She's VERY well cared for, stable and loved. This little cornish rex has one of the biggest personalities I've ever met. Coco has style (and so does her mom, Teri!)
…until I started to do cat rescue and write my blog.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Ingrid of the Conscious Cat with a kitten.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Ingrid, the birthday girl, with Bernadette of The Creative Cat and ANGIE!
There's something magical about the cat ladies. Most of us compete for the same awards. Most of us compete for the same “eyeballs” on our blog or friends on Facebook. While there can be blips of mildly hissy behavior, all in all, those issues aren't issues. We have our own angle, our own stories. We can support each other without losing our readership. We can even be dismayed (to say the least) when a newcomer hits the scene and starts winning “our” awards. Our revenge—we reluctantly make an effort to make friends with her then find out she's too nice for us to hate and instead of shunning her, we adore her (you know who your are, Debbie G.!).
Where else do people retract their claws and extend a hand in friendship? Getting together with my ladies feels close to a sacred gathering where I'm accepted and accepting. Where even if I lose out on an award, I can still find a smile and hug for the winner, who is also a friend of mine. We're in this together. We're trying to raise awareness about cat wellness, behavior problems, nutrition. We make you laugh about your cat. And some (yours truly) make you cry about cats. Whatever we do, it's done with a deep and abiding love and devotion to our cats, not in an obsessive way, not in an unhealthy way, in a rational, clever, compassionate way.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. It's not a party until someone gets a tattoo. Here's Ingrid flashing her calf while big boy Disco photobombs the shot.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Teri of Curlz & Swirls with her girl, Coco.
Many of the Genus: Species: Feline Domina ARE married or are in long-term relationships. Most of us are in good shape mentally and physically. Many of us have friendly relationships with lots of people. We hold down jobs. We help others live better lives with their cats.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Teri and her boy, Disco Noferno. I LOVE THIS CAT. He's completely hilarious.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Winners of the Nose-to-Nose Awards: Karen of Mousebreath with ANGIE! and Debbie
I honor my ladies with this post. Your friendship means the world to me and without it I am a sad, lonely person. I love each of you and take great delight in your successes and I share your sad days, too. There are few things better than the comfort of sisterhood and I will never take it for granted.
©2013 Debbie Glovatsky. JaneA and me. This is what sisterhood is all about.
©2013 Debbie Glovatsky. My dear, Ingrid.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. My hotel room full of cat ladies!
©2013 Debbie Glovatsky. Happy Birthday to Ingrid from all her cat lady pals.