Suddenly a cat lady

The problem with cat ladies is not the cat, or the lady, its the all-too-familiar stereotypes that associate cat-love with unacceptable forms of femininity, spinsterism, devil worship and witches. Although these metaphors and tropes vary with time and place, they do have remarkably broad and ancient roots. Barak analyzes the cultural figure of the cat lady through readings of novels, plays, reality TV, as well as historical representations in ancient Egypt and the Middle Ages (Barak 2014). She makes the compelling case that in the modern era, cats and cat-ladies are part of a disciplinary complex around acceptable femininity. Similarly, a recent book about the strange popularity of cats on the internet plumbs similar depths, and both authors reach the conclusion that the status of the cat, and anxieties about enfranchised and empowered women go hand in hand (White 2020).

I had a black persian.


Barak, Katherine Sullivan. 2014. “Spinsters, Old Maids, and Cat Ladies: A Case Study in Containment Strategies.” Bowling Green State University.

White, E. J. 2020. A Unified Theory of Cats on the Internet. Stanford University Press.