Wednesday, November 18, 2009

'Cat Ladies' Documentary

I just watched a video clip from this documentary, and I find it absolutely fascinating, as I can so relate to these cat fixated women. While I only have 9 cats, I could be happy with many more. But I don't have enough space or $$ to care for more. All the same, given the importance of cats in my life, and the fact that I do prefer the company of cats to that of humans, I probably already fit into the definition of a 'crazy cat lady'...

Below is the description of this film, taken from the film's website.
Click HERE to go to the website where you can learn more, watch a clip from the documentary, or order the DVD.

About the Film

Cat Ladies is a verité documentary that unravels the real story behind the oft ridiculed ‘crazy cat lady’.

Through intimate access with Diane, Margot, Sigi and Jenny, we create a sensitive and emotionally honest portrait of women whose lives and self-worth have become intractably linked to cats.

Some of these women have only a few cats; others share their small homes with hundreds. It’s not the number of cats that defines them as a ‘crazy cat lady’, but rather their attachment, or non-attachment, to human beings. They share backgrounds that usually include abuse, death, rejection and loneliness. Because of this they turn their natural instinct to love and nurture to an alternative society of felines, creating a world with their cats in which they feel reward and acceptance - a world where they ultimately have value.

The cat lady comes in three basic forms. There is the person who is obsessed by cats and has a unique personal relationship with her wards that goes far beyond the average human-pet bond. Then there are the ‘cat rescuers’, who are self-appointed protectors of abandoned cats. They start taking in cats later in life, often after a failed marriage, the loss of a job, death of a relative, or the estrangement of children. Someone or some incident turns them onto the plight of the unwanted cat and their homes gradually become sanctuaries. Finally there is the ‘cat hoarder’, perhaps the least understood of all. The hoarder collects cats to the detriment of their health and her own. She may have started with the best intentions, but some crisis or break with reality pushes her past the point of being able to cope.

It’s a murky world, secretive by nature and horribly misunderstood. Local authorities are ill-equipped and uneducated and cannot accurately deduce who is a destructive cat hoarder and who is an enthusiastic cat rescuer or an obsessed cat lover. City bylaws are arbitrary and very rarely acted upon. At best, a few cats might be removed from the home, but the women themselves almost never receive treatment or counseling. One thing we know for sure: the recidivism rate for hoarders is 100% when left untreated, which is almost always the case.

Margot's universe revolves round her three cats – Bongo, Fritz and Little One. She skips work to stay at home with them and has re-designed her entire apartment to accommodate them. But the love and connection she gets from her cats is also getting in the way of her developing any relationships with human beings - and it's only through tragedy that she can glimpse an alternative.

In her mid 30s, Jenny appears to have it all – an attractive, fiercely independent sales agent with her own home that she just happens to share with 16 cats. It's not that she wouldn't want to find a partner or have children, but the experiences she endured as a child have prevented her from having healthy adult relationships. Jenny knows she's on the cusp of becoming "the Crazy Cat Lady". All it would take is a few more cats…


Diane is a vivacious former banker whose early and un-wanted retirement turned her to a life of saving cats from the streets. Now, she's sharing her home with 123 felines and when she's not feeding, cleaning and nursing them she's feeding and trapping feral cats in the wild. Diane wants to stop – but the thought of a cat starving or suffering breaks her heart. It's also ruining her health, sucking her bank account dry and alienating her from friends and family.

Sigi is on a mission to save cats. Like Diane, she's turned her house over to hundreds of the furry creatures, but unlike Diane she's unapologetic about her choices. If women like her didn't take matters into their own hands, who else would? Sigi's mission isn't one that her neighbours are buying into – the acrid smell and noise is an intolerable toll on anyone living close by – but Sigi's been a fighter all her life and being on the margins only makes her more defiant.

Women like Margot, Jenny, Diane and Sigi are easily dismissed as "crazy cat ladies", but these women deal with the issues that all of us face to some degree – alienation, loss and loneliness in a society that devalues the "different".


Your Daily Cute said...

I had never heard of this! Definitely going to check it out. Sounds so interesting. Gotta love crazy cat ladies. :) (I think one more cat and I'm there...)

Daisy said...

This sounds very interesting - we have to see!

Marg said...

Well I certainly qualify to be a 'crazy cat lady'. I am old, lonely, etc. and have over 20 cats. They all moved in with me and I just cannot find them homes some where else. LOL
But in all fairness, they are feral cats and they are hard to find homes for. I loved this post and am so glad to hear about other women that have more cats than I do.

CapricornWoman said...

Just watched the clip, wish I could see the entire documentary.

I would love to have several cats but for now have to limit myself to just the one..

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