Brush the cat hair off your most celebratory cardigan and slice yourself some night cheese, because being a cat lady is now très chic. Or at least it's a sign of independence and joie de vivre, rather than sad resignation to a life alone. Progress!
That's according to the New York Times, which reports that the stigma against being a young single woman with a cat is now dissipating—or at least feline companionship is getting a rebrand:
The cat ladies of yore may have been sad sacks (think of the infamous scenes in "Grey Gardens"), but this new breed is young, sociable and ambitious. And cats for them (us) are not signs of spinsterhood, but of independence. Dogs need walks and near-constant attention, but cats need hardly anything at all. They sleep while you're at work, eat food out of a can and jump on your lap while you watch Netflix: the perfect pet for the so-called millennial.
Cool cat ladies featured include Taylor Swift, Marnie from Girls and Elle deputy web editor Ruthie Friedlander, who frequently posts Instagrams of her cat Gracie. It's not just sad spinsters anymore! Which is a departure from the philosophy espoused by Peggy Olsen's mother, for example:
The Times piece seems a little silly—get a cat, don't get a cat, who cares? But the piece isn't wrong that the assumptions about cat ownership seem to be shifting, thanks in no small part to the fact we all spend so much time on the cat-loving Internet. Any stigma that once existed is being undermined, as everyone spends their days cooing at pictures of Grumpy Cat.
Not that any dyed-in-the-wool crazy cat lady gives a flip. That's the subtext to the term "crazy," after all. The label is generally applied to those who don't seem to much care for what society thinks they ought to be doing instead of collecting kittens and kitten-related memorabilia.
Nonetheless, it's encouraging to think this is a symptom of an expanded sense of what young women can do with their lives. But before we break out the claw-shredded streamers for a party, a theory to consider: Maybe society's just shifted its anxiety about women of childbearing age to toy dog breeds.
Photo via Getty.