A new study concludes cat owners are no crazier than anyone else. (Stock photo)

A new study concludes cat owners are no crazier than anyone else. (Stock photo)

Cat ladies not so crazy, U.S. study says

Study finds no link between owning cats and depression

We’ve all have a kind of person that comes to mind when someone says ‘crazy cat lady.’

Typically, it involves a depressed, older woman, living alone in a dimly house and not relating to anyone – other than the dozen or so cats she surrounds herself with.

Turns out that, according to a University of California study, that’s not the case. Pet-owners recognize negative emotions in their choice of feline or canine more quickly but their own emotional state is no more out of whack than the rest of us. That includes those who think cats make better companions than dogs.

“We found no differences between cat owners and the other participants on any of the self-report measures of anxiety, depression or experiences in relationships,” reads the conclusion of Pawsitively Sad, authored by a UCLA research team.

And despite the common perception: “We suggest that our findings are, therefore, not consistent with a description of cat-owners as depressed, anxious or as having difficulty with human relationships.”

So, snap for the popular image of the cat lady that goes back to at least 1872 in a New York Times editorial headlined Cats and Craziness, the study says, which contrasts an infatuated cat lover with a rational dog lover.

“It is a curious fact that lunatics, especially those whose lunacy is of a mild and comparatively innocuous type, frequently evince a remarkable fondness for cats.

“The insane man or woman who lives in a garret, in the intimate society of three or four score cats, is perpetually coming to the knowledge of the public,” the editorial begins.


Steve Kidd
Regional editor, Okanagan Bureau
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