by Elisa Black
Waiting For Breakfast
Chances are if you are reading this you are either a cat addict or know someone who is. First let me clarify I'm not referring to cat hoarders who are overwhelmed by the sheer number of cats that they are mistakenly hurting instead of helping. In my opinion there is a big difference between hoarders and addicts.
I was recently browsing the internet and came across this checklist describing the symptoms of cat addiction. I didn't know whether to laugh or take the test seriously. Those interested can check it out at cat addict. There are 35 questions here to determine the extent of your cat addiction. I have a severe addiction according to my score of 20. This places me midway between a person who hasn't yet become addicted and one who should have been born a cat!
Most cases of cat addiction are females.
Being diagnosed with a cat addiction not only involves the number of cats but the deep emotional attachment formed between cat and owner. An interview done by ABC's news program 20/20 explained it best without using a lot of medical terms and such. Love of cat crosses the line into cat addiction when a person stops taking care of herself to the point her health is at risk. One question to ask yourself if you fear cat addiction is "would you be ashamed for anyone in authority to enter your home who could legally report the home as unsanitary?" If the answer is no then chances are you're a cat lover doing what is best for the cat. If your answer is yes you may be a cat hoarder.
While most of my research concludes there really isn't anything wrong with having a cat addiction. The problems come with hoarding too many cats in unsanitary conditions and allowing them to breed uncontrollably. One lady in the 20/20 documentary was so addicted to cats that she stayed awake most nights trapping ferals.
Some research suggests that cat addiction can be caused by various mental disorders such as schizoid personality disorder (SPD) or by depression. Also people with schizotypal personality disorder display eccentric behavior towards their cats and actually prefer the company of their pets rather than humans. They prefer social isolation and their cats take the place of children and family in their lives.
We should not be too quick to judge people with any of the above conditions. They are simply explanations on a controversial subject. There's always been a division between people who are crazy about their pets and people who don't have a pet and wonder what all the fuss is about. We know studies have shown that people with pets are fortunate enough to experience unconditional love.
I believe I suffer from a mild case of schizotypal personality disorder. I prefer the company of my pets to the company of other people. I'm not antisocial and I've worked in customer service of one form or another for most of my life. When someone asks me why I love my cats so much I give them a great answer. THEY DON'T BACKTALK. They also don't complain when I wake them during the night to tell them I love them.
In the end it all comes down to personal preference. I don't plan to change my personality or my love for my cats. If I'm misunderstood I'm sorry. To know me is to know my cat.
I can't wait to hear the comments that come in on this story. Just call me the cat lady.