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Liz Hoggard discusses the myth of the & # 39; crazy cat lady & # 39 ;, while Brooklyn-based fashion and beauty photographer BriAnne Wills publishes a book with 50 women, including Sam Ushiro (photo) with their cats
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On my laptop is an image of a dark gray animal bed, 100% natural wool hand felt, with pointed cat ears on top and a small hole that a pet can go through. Bliss.

It would not only offer a "fun and character retreat" for my grumpy British Blue, Pearl, the photos would cause quite a stir on Instagram (suppose I could convince her to sit in it).

"My God, you're really working on CCLT (Crazy Cat Lady Territory)," remarks a friend as she walks by. She is already shocked that the screen saver on my phone is a photo of another beloved, long-deceased cat.

One day I would blush, but now I am proud of it. Because 2019 is the year in which "cat ladies" became cool. Lena Dunham, Taylor Swift and Katy Perry regularly post photos of their felines.

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Liz Hoggard discusses the myth of the & # 39; crazy cat lady & # 39 ;, while Brooklyn-based fashion and beauty photographer BriAnne Wills publishes a book with 50 women, including Sam Ushiro (photo) with their cats

Liz Hoggard discusses the myth of the & # 39; crazy cat lady & # 39 ;, while Brooklyn-based fashion and beauty photographer BriAnne Wills publishes a book with 50 women, including Sam Ushiro (photo) with their cats

On August 8, International Cat Day, Nicole Kidman even shared cute photos of herself as a young girl with her cats, Priscilla, Chauncy, and Gregory, with the caption: "I've always been a cat girl."

This is the face of modern cat owners. Forget clichés about "crazy cat ladies" – older spinsters in shapeless house coats with cat hair in the butter.

Last month, a study by the University of California found that cat owners are no more "frightened or alone" than dog owners or people without pets.

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"We found no evidence to support the" cat woman "stereotype: cat owners did not differ from others about self-reported symptoms of depression, anxiety or their experiences in close relationships," the study said.

Researchers from UCLA, who analyzed more than 500 pet owners, discovered that, yes, those with pets are more sensitive when it comes to responding to a bad mood or fear of animals. But there is no evidence that dog owners are more popular than cat people.

The cat woman is starting to change her own story, thank goodness, because we've been seen as a lonely eccentric for so long – while having a dog & # 39; is often considered healthy & # 39; and & # 39; is useful to motivate owners to get additional physical activity & # 39 ;.

Popular culture likes to present cat women as crazy, confused, man-hating spinsters, from the Crazy Cat Lady in The Simpsons to Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman in Batman Returns.

You can even buy a Crazy Cat Lady action figure online ("All the pleasure of having a real cat woman without allergies"), wearing a manky bathrobe and surrounded by her six cats.

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I'd rather be compared to Big Edie and Little Edie, the co-dependent mother and daughter (and the eccentric family members of Jackie Onassis) in the cult documentary, Gray Gardens, with their 52 cats. At least they had style.

Liz argues that the crazy cat lady criticism comes from women's hatred, she was happy to see the cat Ethel by Elisabeth Moss (photo) dressed as a maid

Liz argues that the crazy cat lady criticism comes from women's hatred, she was happy to see the cat Ethel by Elisabeth Moss (photo) dressed as a maid

Liz argues that the crazy cat lady criticism comes from women's hatred, she was happy to see the cat Ethel by Elisabeth Moss (photo) dressed as a maid

But so many crazy cat ladies criticism comes from misogyny, pure and simple. For centuries, women were persecuted with cats for being witches – the black cat was seen as their malicious & trusted, a lustful, sinful creature.

This is probably because cats are mysterious as a species. Unlike dogs, they refuse to obey and are fully domesticated. They are nocturnal. They come and go whenever they want.

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"Pussy cat" later became a synonym for a lonely old girl. The anti-suffrag propaganda in the 1900s even used images of cats to portray women as stupid and catty.

Brooklyn-based fashion and beauty photographer BriAnne Wills started the "Girls and Their Cats" Instagram feed "as a way to unmask the crazy cat woman stereotype and to put women who own cats in a positive light."

The idea was a hit – the page has 37,000 followers – and Wills has turned it into a recently published book, Girls And Their Cats (Chronicle Books, £ 17.99), with striking portraits of 50 independent, artistic women with their cats.

"In my photos & # 39; s I wanted the stereotype & # 39; cat woman & # 39; modernize, & Wills explains. "The women are artists, entrepreneurs, writers, activists – not Big or Little Edies here."

My friend Amy credits her cat, Golda, for saving her after her marriage

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Of course, artists Georgia O & Keeffe and Frida Kahlo and singer Patti Smith were often featured with their cats, who seem to be their inspiration and best friends.

My favorite cats in Wills & # 39; book include Sabbath, which has its own special chair in the living room from which it looks everything, & # 39; like a queen on her throne & # 39 ;, laughs owner Sam Ushiro, founder of a lifestyle website.

Relations with cats are (largely) free from the psychological games that are inherent in human relationships. Because we know where the limits are. They sit on the best seats, eat the tastiest pieces and accept our worship from time to time.

"Our relationship is symbiotic. Cats give us what we need and vice versa, and we don't take anything anymore. We respect each other and sometimes even learn from each other & # 39 ;, says Wills.

Thanks to new Japanese research on human-cat relationships, we have proven that our domestic cats understand human expressions and can distinguish their names from similar words.

Liz, who has two indoor cats and one & # 39; wanted & # 39; says that once social pressure is off, cats can be more interactive than you might think
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Liz, who has two indoor cats and one & # 39; wanted & # 39; says that once social pressure is off, cats can be more interactive than you might think

Liz, who has two indoor cats and one & # 39; wanted & # 39; says that once social pressure is off, cats can be more interactive than you might think

& # 39; Much of my research focuses on how people affect cats & # 39 ;, says Laurens Finka, an expert on cats.

"This is a relationship that works for both parties. It's not just about how a cat makes us feel, it's also about what we can do to make them feel good. So the stereotype of the cat that has to meet all our social needs because a person has no human company is outdated, & Dr. 39 adds. Finka.

This month she publishes her book, The Cat Personality Test: How well do you really know your cat? (Ebury Press, £ 9.99), which encourages us to choose a cat that best fits our lifestyle.

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"One of the most common causes of a cat-human relationship malfunction is when there is a difference between the owner's expectations and the cat's needs," she says.

In addition to my two indoor cats, I have a "wild" tea bag that lives in a Russian cat palace in the garden (yes, really). I feed him but can never pet him. Dr. Finka thinks he leads the best life.

"He receives food and shelter and his basic needs are met; that's probably all he wants from people, & she says. "But when you take away the social pressure and cats have more control, they can be more interactive than you thought."

This is true – I look forward to coffee with him in the garden every morning.

Cats give you a reason to get up. They offer comfort during episodes of insomnia or the Black Dog. My friend Amy credits her cat, Golda, for saving her after her marriage.

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They sometimes even match your dress. Lena Dunham is particularly good at dressing her pets in crazy outfits.

And I thought I could no longer love The Handmaid's Tale star Elisabeth Moss until I saw her cat, Ethel, wearing a miniature version of her handmaid's red cape and white cap given to her by TV costume designer Ane Crabtree.

So if you want to excuse me, I'll go to Pearl for a sarong. She can carry it in her new bed.

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