The crazy cat lady stereotype extends as far back as the medieval bestseller Malleus Maleficarum (Hammer of Witches), in which a trio of broads take on feline form, attack some chap while he’s chopping wood, and have him banged up for assault.
More recently, we have gibbering lush Eleanor Abernathy in The Simpsons, her hair often covered with her cat companions; 30 Rock’s Liz Lemon who goes mog mad after a break up; and Michelle Pfeiffer’s stupendous 1992 star turn as a Catwoman licked back to life by the mousers she adores.
Well, witness another time-honoured misogyny bite the dust. It turns out that cat ladies are no more neurotic than dog people, or - one assumes - people people.
Researchers from the University of California have discovered precisely no evidence of differing levels of depression, anxiety, or loneliness between cat and dog owners, despite the latters’ parallel reputation for stalwart wholesomeness. What’s more, an in depth study from the Czech Republic this week, announced that pet owners - and, in particular, dog owners - have better cardiovascular health than those with no domestic animals.
It was these virtues that prompted my partner to fulfil my ticking canine clock last year by furnishing me with the dog of my girlish dreams, aka Pimlico the blue whippet. His motives were threefold: to make me happier, to force me to move, and to convince me to wear less make-up. Two out of three ain’t bad.
Accordingly, it is with some authority that I can confirm that – while the crazy cat lady may not exist – the nutjob dog human is alive and kicking. For a day does not go by when my beloved and I are not locked in an internecine battle as to whom our charge loves more.
Obviously, it is I who should be leader of the pack given that I longed for her for decades, spend every waking minute with her, dream about her incessantly, kiss her constantly, take her for more compelling walks, am cognisant of her stick needs, let her sleep on top of me, repeatedly save her life, and presented her with three boxes of Co-op value mince for her birthday.
And, yet, her true passion is reserved for Terence, whom I bitterly refer to as “your boyfriend,” as she flies at him ecstatically, pines over him when he’s at work, and bounds after him into the sea - where I cannot convince her to prance over a puddle. I am the weather she exists in; he, the celebrity guest star.
Still, he leaves tomorrow for three weeks’ vagrancy (sorry, wild camping), and I am not above buying her love. Let mince month commence.