'Crazy cat ladies' are not a real thing: study

Published: August 30, 2019


Good news for women who love cats. You may not be crazy after all!

According to a new study, having lots of feline friends does not, in any way, mean you’re mad, sad or anxious. That’s according to researchers at UCLA, who analysed more than 500 pet owners and found nothing to support the long-held “crazy cat lady” stereotype, reported CNN.

The study, published in the journal Royal Society Open Science, observed how people reacted to distress calls from animals and also compared pet ownership with mental health-related or social difficulties.



The findings may be a relief to some who prefer cats to dogs and should give those who cling to the popular “cat lady” trope food for thought.

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“We found no evidence to support the ‘cat lady’ stereotype: cat-owners did not differ from others on self-reported symptoms of depression, anxiety or their experiences in close relationships,” the study said.
“Our findings, therefore, do not fit with the notion of cat-owners as more depressed, anxious or alone.”

The conclusion is backed by similar 2017 findings at the University College London (UCL), which stated no found link between cat ownership and the development of psychotic symptoms. Not only that, cat and dog owners are more likely to empathise with an animal’s distress calls, with owners getting sadder than non-owners when they heard a cat meow or a dog whimper.



“We found several subtle differences between how adults with and without pets generally rated animal vocalisations,” the study said, noting that those with pets rated such sounds more emotionally than those without.

Its overarching finding of the study found people of all pet and non-pet owning statuses were similarly depressed and anxious, therefore debunking the “crazy cat lady” stereotype.

This study isn’t the only one to provide cat owners with a big win over their dog-loving nemeses, with research last year finding dogs are not actually that smart.

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