Friday, February 11, 2011

Cat Ladies

Bugger at a cat show several years ago

One of my favorite TV shows is Modern Family.  Several weeks ago there was an episode where the studious middle daughter, Alex Dunphy, lamented about how her older, more popular, yet not-so-studious sister seemed to attract all the boys.  Alex asked her mother, "If the dumb girls get the smart boys AND the dumb boys, then what do the smart girls get?"  "Cats," her mother answered. 

There are cat ladies and then there are cat ladies.  I was reminded of this last weekend when I exhibited my two young males, Downy and Bates, at the Cats On the Beach Cat Show in Providence, Rhode Island.  When you picture a "stereotypical cat lady", what do you see?  A grandmotherly type, fat and frumpy, bra less perhaps, softly curled gray hair and a bit daft in the head.  Well, I'd love to dispute this stereotype by stating that cat ladies (and gentlemen) are well-dressed, athletic-looking, college-educated professionals who are interesting and delightful company (at least the Maine Coon breeders are).  Actually, we run the gamut from the struggling fancier who lives alone to the families who bring their kids to the wealthy empty nesters.  I happened to be benched next to a less desirable type, the "stereotypical cat lady". 

Cathy Cat Lady (not her real name) wore a white t-shirt proclaiming "My Burmese is smarter than your honor student" on the front of her bodacious hanging bosom.  Cathy seemed nice enough, but impressed me as a bit nuts from the beginning.  When I pulled my Maine Coon out of his carrier to put him in his show tent, she declared to her cats, "Oh, look kids!  A big fluffy!" 

Now we all talk to our pets, but I personally find it irritating when one speaks to their pets (or children) using a loud, baby voice.  It's almost as if the person is trying to get the attention of those around her by continually speaking to the cat as if she's having a full conversation.  If Cathy's cats were speaking to her, I didn't hear it, but she sure seemed to.  However, I don't think she heard them telling her to shut up, or maybe that was just the voice in my head. 

Excerpts of what I heard from Cathy Cat Lady's conversations with her cats:
"Don't talk to me in that tone of voice.  It's unladylike". 

"Oh Dexter!  Do you see the Maine Coons acting like that?  No, you don't.  I just brought you along so you could be company for Delilah.  You don't need to complain so much." 

"You're giving Mommy smurgles!  What a good girl!"

Oh boy.  The one-sided conversation was never-ending.  As far as I could see, her two cats behaved just fine, but I purposely avoided engaging Cathy as I didn't want to egg her on. This was going to be a long weekend next to Cathy Cat Lady. 

Kelsey with Bubba in 2006.