A New Generation of "Cat Ladies" Embraces Their Feline Friends

It’s fair to say that dogs have the popularity market cornered in Davis. People feel free to bring them everywhere – even restaurants! We’ve also seen ferrets, and a couple of large birds being “walked” and biked through town. But cats are where the new action is.

Modern young women are re-writing the book on what it means to be a “cat lady.” Time was, cat ladies were elderly spinsters who had given up on having a life and finally embraced the Miss Havisham lifestyle. But things have clearly changed. The New York Times recently reported that millenial ladies are now embracing cat adoption as a rebellious sign of maturity.

The cat ladies of yore may have been sad sacks (think of the infamous scenes in “Grey Gardens”), but this new breed is young, sociable and ambitious. And cats for them (us) are not signs of spinsterhood, but of independence. Dogs need walks and near-constant attention, but cats need hardly anything at all. They sleep while you’re at work, eat food out of a can and jump on your lap while you watch Netflix: the perfect pet for the so-called millennial.

Caroline McCarthy, 29, the vice president of communications at true[X] Media, adopted her cat, Caterpillar, almost two years ago when she worked at Google.

“Cats are the ideal pets for women in the business world,” said Ms. McCarthy, who lives in Brooklyn Heights and travels frequently for work. “Especially in New York. There’s a kind of a suspended adolescence, with people staying single and still living with roommates into their 30s. I think pet ownership is something that seems a bigger step here than it does anywhere else in the country.”

But still, she spoke of having a cat with offhanded nonchalance: “It does seem very rebellious: I’m going to do this really adult thing, but it’s not really going to change my life.”

Several Tandem properties allow cats as tenants. If you’re a current or incoming UC Davis student, and want to bring your feline friend to college, make sure the properties you’re looking at will welcome him.