Crazy Cat Lady Energy

By Liz, writing away on Claws for Alarm, the fifth Cat Cafe Mystery

I got a preview of a review last week from Kirkus.

As writers, I think it’s safe to say we all have a love/hate relationship with reviews. We simultaneously look forward to them and dread them. Many of us avoid reading the majority of them altogether. But when a Kirkus review lands in your inbox, you kind of have to pay attention, especially when the accompanying publisher commentary sounds promising.

The review was for A Whisker of a Doubt, my forthcoming Cat Cafe Mystery (#4). This book was a lot of fun for me to write – a Christmas-themed mystery centered on feral cats and their caretakers, a subject which is near and dear. I wasn’t sure what to expect from the review (one never is with Kirkus, after all), but I was optimistic.

It was an interesting review that basically summarized the book, but the one obvious takeaway was the line “Filled with crazy cat lady energy…”

I honestly wasn’t sure how I felt about it in the moments that followed. Of course it’s true that I’d been a crazy cat lady for a long time, and it’s not a title that I’m super fond of. Mostly because it tends to have negative connotations for us ladies who love/rescue cats. So of course, I brought it to my fellow Wickeds for their reaction. And being the wise ladies they are, they advised me to embrace it.

So I thought about it this weekend as I was changing litter boxes and cleaning cat vomit off my couch – you know, the things crazy cat ladies do pretty much every day. And I went back a couple decades to my first experiences having cats, from my very first two when I knew nothing about cats (Rico and Freddie, twin sisters who both lived to age 17) to my very first rescues (Pumpkin and Gypsy, my brother and sister team who also both lived to 16 and 17 respectively), which led me to my time in rescue.

Over the years, I worked at shelters and with various animal rescue agencies, served on boards and executive committees for a couple of those agencies, fostered more cats than I can even remember their names at this point, donated, transported, traipsed around various woods trapping feral cats, worked at feral cat clinics doing everything from giving vaccines to sterilizing instruments, and staged unconventional rescue missions.

I’ve also adopted my fair share of the cats I came into contact with over the years – from Tweetie, the triple-pawed chronically runny-nosed cat, to Ferris, who bit me on a regular basis, to Jack, the cat who showed up at the shelter in a bird box, to Junkyard Johnny, the impetus for the cat in the Cat Cafe books, to Tuffy, the cat who strolled into the backyard of my new house back in 2008 and who became the star of my Pawsitively Organic Mystery series.

Jack overseeing his kingdom
Junkyard Johnny

There are also the fosters who never left, who ultimately became adoptees – like Snowy, who I rescued at age 12 and is now 25.

Snowy having treats

I’ve had cats who peed in my purse, cats who really weren’t nice to anyone (but I loved them anyway), cats who lived only a couple of years to cats who will probably outlive me. I’ve said goodbye to more of them than I can count, and I still miss them.

Pumpkin and Gypsy

So I guess when you do the math, this all does add up to a crazy cat lady. It also adds up to a lot of lives saved, a lot of gratifying work, and a sense of having done good in the world.

These days, I only have four cats left (which is crazy considering how many cats used to share my house), but I have no doubt that even if the numbers stay small, the soundtrack of my life will always be full of purrs.

Being a crazy cat lady isn’t so bad after all.

Readers, what’s something you’re passionate about that will always be part of your life? Leave a comment below.

37 Thoughts

  1. May Bastet bless you, as I’m sure she has already. And I’ll send up a special prayer to Field Marshall Prinz Otto von Bismarck, my brown tiger of blessed memory, to send a few goodies your way from cat heaven. Oddly, I’m currently trying to market a ms. in which pet excrement plays a decisive role — sure you’ll understand.

  2. The only thing standing between me and being a crazy cat lady is my husband. So we have only one extremely spoiled furbaby who is my spirit animal and emotional support animal all rolled up in one.

    I’m with the other Wickeds who advised you to embrace it!

  3. I too am a crazy cat lady. When I saw the picture of Pumpkin and Gypsy I chuckled to myself. Our family, too, has a tabby girl who is name Gypsy. Although she is an outside cat she has a personality that wins everyones heart. We have two boys inside. Romeo Luigi is all black and quite yakky since he has some Siamese in his linage. My daughter has an orange tabby with some Maine Coon mix. His name is Ralphie Lee. Then we have four tabbies outside that have adopted us. There is Ringo and Missy who are brother and sister. Violet is Ringo’s girlfriend and last but not least is our little Gypsy who just joined our crew this sumer. I enjoy there individual personalities and will always have a cat or two.

  4. Hi Liz, great post and thank you for all you’ve done for the critters. We’ve e-talked about crazy cat ladies in the past when I was heading up PAWS here in northern Maine. I can so relate. We are down to three – a mama and two of her kittens that were dumped in our yard eight years ago. The kittens are a ginger and a mackerel tabby so similar to your Pumpkin and Gypsy. At the time they were dropped off we had five other cats. Did that stop us? NOPE. Just made us count to eight. Yes, Purrs will always be the soundtrack of my life as well.

    The Wickeds were right – wear the title proudly.

  5. You are my favorite crazy cat lady. I don’t know how you do it, but what an accomplishment. I just wrote in my last Chloe Jackson book, that it wasn’t fair that it’s always women who are considered to be crazy about cats and not men.

    1. Totally agree, Sherry. It’s totally unfair that “crazy cat” people are assumed to be women. I, for one, am a loud and proud crazy cat guy.

  6. Three cheers to you, Liz! Your boundless love for and dedication to our feline is inspiring. This crazy cat dad salutes you! đŸ˜º

  7. You are amazing, Liz, and your selflessness has made such a difference in so many animals’ lives. We need more crazy cat people in this world!

  8. Those sweet fur babies that you have rescued, fostered and loved would have much better names for you and have been and are, I am sure, very grateful to be blessed by your love.

  9. Liz, you truly are a life saver. Bless you and all crazy cat people. (Yes, J.C., I know men can be cat crazy, too. I’m married to one.) Over the years, we have had a lot of rescued cats. Right now we are down to one and she will be an only for as long as she lives. She lived with other cats most of her 15 years and really didn’t like it. So she is our spoiled baby and we are all very happy.

  10. I have cats since I was a bought 8 and we needed a mouser in the old house my parents bought. My husband had never had a cat and thought them sneaky and dirty. It didn’t take long for his change of mind. Love our .many cats.

  11. Bless you! While I am currently catless, a very strange thing for me, I have lived and loved many fur children in my life.
    All were rescues of one type or another. Afew were rescued from pet shops, prior to being put down as unwanted or
    unadoptable. They were all lovely kitties who lived into thier late teens. I miss them all. I’ve never tried to foster. I know me better than that. It would be foster fail, every time. I do so love a book with kitties in it. Thanks for writing such good ones..

  12. There is absolutely nothing “crazy” about loving and caring for animals, especially when rescuing them to wonderful (and quite long, in many cases) lives. I say not only embrace it, be proud! Wear a (purrple) t-shirt with “Crazy Cat Lady” emblazoned across the front, and don’t brush off the fur.

  13. Hi Liz
    I love Animals, Cats and Dogs alike (better than humans). I commend you for your title, it was highly earned. It’s always a pleasure to read about a kindred spirit. I truly miss all my fur babies that have earned their wings, they gave me more than I’d ever given them. God Bless your kind Soul.

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