The words in the title were spoken to the celebrity singer Taylor Swift who had asked friends whether she should adopt a third cat. Their response was, no, because if she looked after three cats she would have to be described as a ‘cat lady’. I wonder whether that is true. I don’t think it is true. But what is the definition of a cat lady? I don’t think there is a definition but it does not necessarily include the number of cats that a lady looks after. So, for example, a cat lady might have one or two cats but look after a colony of feral cats.
The cat lady might have one cat but she might like showing purebred cats at cat shows and do it on behalf of a breeder. She might be a writer and write about cats on the Internet and in magazines or books and look after a couple of cats. Perhaps you might describe this sort of person as a cat lady.
A cat lady is a person likes cats and is involved with cats throughout a significant part of the day, everyday. That might be one definition. A cat lady is a person who’s primary interest is in looking after, writing about, photographing or in any other way being involved with the domestic, feral or stray cat.
An important part of the description is the word “lady”. A lady is a dignified, well-bred woman. A refined, intelligent woman who has good manners and etiquette. That must be seen as a compliment and therefore a cat lady should be looking after cats to a high standard. A woman who hoards cats and looks after them badly is not a cat lady but a cat abuser.
Taylor Swift looks after two cats at the moment: Meredith and Olivia. She genuinely appears to like cats a lot. If she likes them enough to think about adopting a third cat and if they are a major part of her life which the online media give the impression is the case, then maybe she is a cat lady already.