My husband’s family has a tradition of buying each other gag gifts at Christmas. This year, my husband’s Aunt Sheri got me a “Crazy Cat Lady” action figure, complete with miniature cats. To see the action figure, visit: My first reaction was that it was a joke, of course, and this gift in no way implied that I was a crazy cat lady. After all, I do like cats but I’ve never thought of myself as over the top. Then I took the crazy cat lady quiz that accompanied the action figure. I am now questioning my sanity.

Are you a crazy cat person? Take this quiz to find out!

• Do you think cats are smarter than people?

• Do you feel Tom is more talented than Jerry?

• Do you have more cats than ex-boyfriends?

• Do you bring new boyfriends home so the cats can meet them?

• Do you later break up with them because the cats weren’t impressed?

• Do you spend more on doctor bills for your cats than for yourself?

• Do you buy the ice cream your cats prefer instead of the kind you like?

• Can you tell your cats apart by the roughness of their tongues?

• Have you ever warned a guest not to sit on a specific piece of furniture because it belongs to the cats?

• Do you own more than one piece of clothing with a cat on it?

• Do you have a Web site devoted to your cats? Do you have a Web site for each cat?

• Do you spend more on Christmas presents for your cat than for your family?

• Do you buy more than one kind of cat food because a few of your cats are picky eaters?

• Do you sometimes refuse to get up because one or more of your cats are sitting on your lap?

• Do you spend more time grooming your cats than you do grooming yourself?

• If you have to work late, is your first reaction sadness because your cats will have to wait longer before they’re fed?

• Is the sheet of instructions for watching your cats while you’re on vacation longer than a page? Two pages? What vacation?

According to this quiz, if you answered “yes” to seven or more of these questions, you might be a crazy cat person. After taking the quiz, I realized that I may be a little extreme when it comes to my cats. But I’m proud of that fact. The world needs more cat people. Even though Americans own more felines than canines (82 million to 72 million), cats aren’t treated the same. Cats are more often relinquished to shelters than dogs and less often taken to the veterinarian than dogs. According to a new survey from the American Veterinary Medical Association, vet visits for cats have fallen 11 percent since 2001, with more than a third of all cats never visiting a veterinarian in 2006 (compared with 17 percent of dogs who didn’t see a vet in 2006).

To the general public, it seems cats have less value than dogs. As an indication of this, far fewer pet owners claim their lost cats at shelters than dogs. The Humane Society of the United States says an estimated 30 percent of dogs who land in shelters eventually are reclaimed. Of the lost cats who find themselves in shelters, a measly 2-5 percent are ever identified by their owners. Sadly, more than half those shelter cats are never adopted, and most are euthanized. It is this statistic that first drew me toward cats. When I started working with animal shelters back in 1995, I couldn’t believe how many friendly cats were euthanized. In the midst of barking dogs and noisy people, shelter cats would be relaxing in their cages, patiently waiting for new homes. But most of those cats never found homes, and more and more were turned in each day. And the reasons owners gave for surrendering their cats were sometimes unbelievable. I will never forget the woman who turned in her cat because the cat’s fur didn’t match the color of her couch.

I once believed all those myths about cats, until I adopted my first cat. Now I see that cats are not aloof. They have their own personalities, just like dogs. They bring us comfort with their purring. They keep us from feeling lonely or bored. They ease stress and make us feel relaxed. Their actions are so animated; they bring out the child in us. Our lives are happier because of cats. I am proud to call myself a crazy cat lady.


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