Isn’t it always nice to learn that one of your idols was also a crazy cat lady/dude? Frank Zappa, Freddie Mercury, and even Mark Twain all adored cats. In the words of Sigmund Freud, “time spent with cats is never wasted.” Make that quote into a wall decal and sell it on Etsy, my friend, because it’s all too true. Yes, cat fanatics have existed, well, since cats have existed! All of these dudes are certified cat-lovers, but today, let’s check in with some of the world’s most notable “crazy cat ladies”.
1. Eartha Kitt
Orson Welles once described Eartha Kitt as “the most exciting woman in the world”, and by all accounts, he wasn’t wrong. Eartha Mae Kitt was born on a cotton plantation in South Carolina in 1927 to Annie Mae Keith. The multi-talented Kitt was an actress, dancer, singer, and comedian, but she was also an outspoken human rights activist. She is most known for her distinctive voice and bright personality. One of her most notable roles was playing Catwoman in the original Batman television series, alongside Adam West.
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But Eartha Kitt didn’t sacrifice her political beliefs for her time in the limelight. In 1968, her career suffered a setback after she came forth with some scathing anti-war remarks. “You send the best of this country off to be shot and maimed. No wonder the kids rebel and take pot”, she said to Lady Bird Johnson, when asked about her opinion on the Vietnam war. So, you know, take that, Lyndon.
It’s no surprise that an independent, creative, and charismatic woman such as Eartha Kitt would have her own fascination with cats. She did play Catwoman, after all! In 1953, the famous photo of Kitt with her familiar, Jinx, was shot for New Faces 1953. (Pause here for 15 minutes of gushing over Kitty pics). And that’s not all – cats were a recurring theme in Kitt’s spellbinding performances, such as “I’m A Different Kind Of Cat”. A dazzling cat lady, indeed!
2. Florence Nightingale
If you’re a nurse or work in a hospital, you probably know who Florence Nightingale is. She was a pioneer in the field of nursing during the turn of the century, and winner of The Royal Red Cross, Lady Of Grace, and Order of Merit. It was she who organized a team of nurses, whom she trained, to tend to the wounds of the soldiers during the Crimean War. For her exceptional service, she rose to great heights in her profession during the Victorian era. Like, she basically invented modern nursing, you guys – which is pretty huge.
But Nightingale wasn’t just a kick-butt nurse, as if literally inventing modern nursing real quick was like, no big deal. Oh no ma’am, she didn’t stop there! Just like Eartha Kitt, she had no qualms about being outspoken on the “touchy” subjects of her time. She relentlessly advocated for women’s rights; specifically, abolishing draconian prostitution laws and fighting to include women in the workforce.
But here’s where we get to the good stuff. Florence Nightingale, decorated nurse, and fearless activist, absolutely freaking ADORED cats. “Cats possess more sympathy and feeling than human beings,” she said. And she must have meant it, because guess how many cats she had over the course of her life? Ten? Twenty? Haha, YOU FOOLS! She had around SIXTY (60) cats total during her lifetime. Homegirl was living. The. Dream. GIRL, GET IT!
3. Emily Bronte
Emily Bronte, as you may know, was a brilliant poet and writer born in England in 1818. Her most famous work and only published novel, Wuthering Heights, has seen many screens and play adaptations since it was published in 1847 under the pseudonym “Ellis Bell”. It is widely regarded as a literary masterpiece to this day.
In her family, Emily was the fifth of six children, and she found her closest kinship with her younger sister, Anne. Anne and Emily shared a fantasy island called “Gondal”, filled with adventure and romanticism. Though she passed away at the young age of 30, Emily Bronte’s contribution to the world of literature has withstood the test of time.
Emily’s disposition has been referred to as “shy” and “reclusive”, but her love of animals is well documented. In fact, all of the Bronte sisters had a well-known affection for animals, especially our feline friends. Emily, in particular, loved cats so much that she penned a French essay entitled “Le Chat”, where she disabused her readers of the notion that cats are cruel and unfeeling creatures. DUH!
So, my dearest cat ladies and dudes, can I get a “heck yes” for all these amazing cat ladies!? Are these women not just the cat’s meow? In the immortal words of Robert A. Heinlein, “women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea”. Meow!