The crazy cat lady stereotype, whose origins we talked about past week, may be on the verge of a new era. Although stereotypes of cat ladies and our feline friends still persist, those perceptions may be changing.
Early this year, PetSmart Charities conducted a US survey of 1,023 people to learn what they think about cats and cat owners. According to this survey, 56 percent of respondents said stigmas about cats are untrue and 71 percent said negative stereotypes about cat owners are outdated. More than half of the participants responded that cat people are intelligent, independent, warm, friendly, and attractive. So, change seems to be in the air for cats and cat owners!
This survey also showed that cat owners view and share more cat related content than the general population – and we all know how popular cats are on the Internet. More than half of cat owners said they talk about their cat or share cat videos on the Internet. Social media loves Lolcats and feline-inspired memes. An astounding 800,000 photographs posted to Instagram include the hashtag #catlady.
In the past few years cats seem to become increasingly popular, both online and in the real world. Several celebrities post frequent pictures of their feline companions and assume themselves as cat lovers. Katy Perry loves cats so much that her fans refer to themselves as “Katycats.” Katy even gave her first two fragrances feline-inspired names: Purr and Meow. Early this year, Taylor Swift tweeted “It is a daily struggle for me to not buy more cats.” Days later Ms. Swift was spotted wearing a T-shirt that read, “The Great Catsby.”
In the fashion industry cats are also becoming more and more popular. Choupette, Karl Lagerfeld’s kitty, is possibly the most famous cat on the Internet. She has an Instagram account, likes to fly first class and has had a book published in her honor. And, according to The Telegraph, she made €3 million last year!
But cats are not just pets! Cats are everywhere! Brands like Urban Outfitters, ASOS and Topshop offer several cat themed items in their collections. And even high fashion brands like Miu Miu are featuring cat prints prominently in their collections. Makeup brands also seem to have surrendered to the cuteness of cats. In 2012 Paul & Joe’s cosmetic brand, launched a Kitten makeup collection that delighted cat lovers. Then last year Shu Uemura launched Shupette, a limited edition collection, inspired by Karl Lagerfeld’s cat, Choupette.
And finally last month we had the ultimate event for cat lovers: CatCon – it was like Comic-Con, but for cat people. 10.000 cat lovers joined in Los Angeles to proudly show off their cat themed outfits, get caticures and talk about cats. The event featured about 100 exhibitors showcasing everything from cat-themed fashion, art, toys, jewelry, and furniture to cat-themed manicures.
In a seminar intended to break down the stereotype of the weird cat person, titled “Goodbye Dowdy, Hello Gorgeous”, actor Mayim Bialik talked about how she wants to change everything you think you know about crazy cat ladies. After her participation in CatCon, Mayim Bialik partnered with PetSmart Charities to help end negative stereotypes about cats and cat people.
We seem to be entering a new era for cat ladies and their feline companions, an era where cats are popular (and fashionable) and being a cat lady a sign of independency and authenticity.
So, what are your thoughts on this subject? Do you think perceptions about cats and cat owners are changing?
PS: Later this month I will be publishing a post titled “The 21st Century Cat Lady” where several cat bloggers will share their thoughts on the identity of this contemporary cat lady.