MEOW

I demand gender equality. I demand to be called a Crazy Cat Man.

An op-ed by Crazy Cat Man.
(Shutterstock / Africa Studio)

Picture this: After watching your friend endure a long string of romantic rejections, you finally find yourself at her wedding. Everything looks beautiful. You sit down in a pew and as the music swells, you realize to your horror that there is no groom – just a literal tomcat in a tuxedo and your friend, walking down the aisle towards it.

Now, try to imagine if your friend was a man. It's almost impossible, right?

And you know what? That's a big problem.

As a male feline fanatic, I DEMAND to be ridiculed and stereotyped in the exact same way that women who have cats are. In short, I demand that you call me a crazy cat man.

You know how some people are vegan instead of having a personality? I want owning cats to be my thing, the way society says it is for a woman as soon as she adopts one single tabby.

I am taking all the steps I can to be seen by the world as a spinst-him (a male version of a spinst-her) but it seems like everything is designed to celebrate my life as cat-owning man, instead of shaming it. It would be so much easier if I were a woman – then I could be consistently be torn apart for my choice to care for a small living creature.

The other night I was crying in my bed because I just love my rescue cats so much.

I was thinking about how perfect and unique their sweet little faces are, and all their special little quirks. I needed to distract myself from my tears, so I searched for an online quiz to tell me what cat breed I'd be if I were a cat. The first question asked me to select a gender. The only options were: female, woman, lady, queen, or madame. That was pretty unfur!

At the very least, I wish people would treat me the same way they treat my female friends. One such friend has a tasteful Persian named Clark.

Even though she's been in a relationship for years, she is constantly told that she will die alone – partnerless and childless – and that she's so lucky to find a partner willing to love her in spite of her cat lady status. When she then mentions that I have multiple 'kiddens?' "Wow, what a compassionate and wonderful man! He is making such a positive difference in his small corner of the world." Uggggghhhhhh. Gross.

To further alienate myself and invite unwarranted criticism into my whisker-loving lifestyle, I've started adapting common internet acronyms to be more pro-feline.

I work at a tech start-up, so I thought that inserting some of these bad boys into my professional communication would annoy clients and coworkers alike. LOL turned into Loving Our Litter. WTF became Wild Tomcat Fella.

When I responded to an email with the heading "ICYMI" with "To clarify, do you mean Incredible Cats You Must Imagine?" I expected a stern lecture on keeping my passion for purr-angels at home.  Nope. I was given a raise. THE WORST.

Meanwhile, my female friend arrives to work with a bit of cat fur on her scrubs, and immediately her co-workers start jeering, "Boo. Here comes the cat wench. Prepare to have no fulfillment in your life." By the way, she works at a vet clinic.

Even though I have a lot of cat-themed apparel, I never get any flack for it, such as "You would," or "Yikes! That's really sad." I religiously wear leopard-print silk boxers, but my friend gets called out for a tasteful cat brooch!? That is some BITTER LITTER, I'm telling you.

I have eleven cats in my house, but not once have I been accused of being a hoarder. COME ON. Don't I deserve to have my peers belittle me for the selfless act of love I am giving an otherwise helpless creature?

Look, I get it – "crazy cat lady" is a stereotype that just rolls off the tongue like a kitten licking its sweet paw.

But I'm a cat daddy. A feline father. A purr purr poppa, and I deserve to be denigrated just as much as much as any female cat owner would be. So please, the next time you come across a meowman like me, do him a kindness. Tell him his cats will eat him when he dies, alone.

I dedicate this to Mooney, Curtis, Bo, Paula, KissyBooBoo, Baylor, Waldo, Steven, Chester, Carrie and Okee – you are my darlings, and may you one day rule all of humanity.

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