Lottie Chase: Crazy Cat Lady or Witch?

They say dogs are a man’s best friend. I think cats are a woman’s spirit animal. Smart, clever, manipulative and beautiful.

My name is Lottie and I recently became the owner (read as primary care giver) of Jemima, a small black bundle of chaotic adoration, with green eyes and a sassy disposition.  She buzzes, purrs, chirps and wails wherever she goes, a continuous carousel of noise that follows my every move.

“Isn’t she pretty?” one of my friends commented when they came over for a coffee “But so vocal, I’ve never known a cat like it!”

I just nodded and smiled, wanting to keep the fact that I talk back to my feline companion more often than not, a secret.  Probably for the best, my seemingly endless updates of different photo angles of Jemima is already getting me a bad rep. A penchant for funny cat pictures, mixed with bookmarked YouTube videos of the World’s Funniest Cats is not helping my case.

With my favourite season in full swing, a recent Blood Moon making an appearance and Halloween around the corner, I must admit I’ve started to feel like Sabrina. Before Jemima moved in I used to feed a rather rangy looking black cat who kept making an appearance in the garden. I named him Salem and fed him every day until he started to look glossy and boasted a few more curves. He grew in confidence and started to wait for me at the end of our drive every day after work. I later found out he belonged to next door and was actually a girl cat called Roxy.

Young love hurts. You live and learn.

The neighbours have since moved out and the feline hole that was left in my life only existed for a brief fortnight before Jemima was adopted from a litter that was born seventy six miles away. We’ve got communication down to a T. She wakes me up most mornings by gently lifting my vest strap off my shoulder and yanking it back, only to let it snap back against my skin.

So kind.

She recently came home from the vets after an operation which required her to wear a Buster collar. Admittedly, I did take a small grain of pleasure from seeing her look so sorry for herself. Hurtling around the house at full pelt, bashing into walls and failing miserably to jump up to her normal high spots, she looked the picture of fury. I thought she was going to do herself some serious damage so I made an executive decision and took the cone of shame off (sorry Mr. Vet), cutting up an old red top and fashioning a sleeve for her to cover the wound. 

Thank you, Gok Wan. 

Feeling smug I headed off to bed and hoped for a restful night. The good news is I slept like a babe, knowing my little familiar was taken care of thanks to a tatty vest and some customisation. 

I came down in the morning to find she had slithered out of her thoughtfully created outfit. 

I found it in the litter tray where she had shat on it. 

Message received, cheers Jemima. 

This weekend I was in the car with my boyfriend and we had to wait at the traffic lights of a roundabout that we use nearly every week.  Gallows Corner.

The name gives me chills, although the only threat there is a newly opened KFC drive-thru that is putting a local kebab shop out of business.  As the traffic lights changed from red to green and we pulled away I wondered how different Essex would have been when the gallows were still used. It’s widely known that many women in Essex lost their lives in the witchcraft trials, along with the more universally known trials of Salem and Pendle. I looked down at my top where black hairs were stuck to me, evidence of a quick cuddle I’d had before leaving the house. 

Cogs started to whir as I made the comparisons in my head – Cat Lady (Crazy in the developmental stages) or Witch. A woman deemed by society to be untrustworthy, heathen and dangerous. At odds with how a woman should be in a household, bound to spouse or offspring. Integral to home life and loyal to her place in the social structure of her community. But a woman bound to an animal, introverted and socially awkward, was not acceptable and was instead smeared with the word. Witch.

Could my little black cat have gotten me in hot water had I been born in the wrong place at the wrong time? Has the concept of witch in society now shifted through the ages, morphing into the stereotypical Crazy Cat Lady of Simpson’s spoofs and novelty gift sets? Now laughable and an acceptable resignation of spinsters and singletons. “I’ll be forty with ten cats,” said one friend. How easy it is for us to call ourselves a Crazy Cat Lady, the modern manifestation of a word that would have condemned us.

Witch.

Jemima
Jemima

How to self-diagnose yourself as a (Crazy) Cat Lady:

  • Welcome a cat or multiple cats to share the same address as you
  • Give up on styling your hair, you share a pillow with a cat, a comb is pushing it
  • Opt for leggings or jogging bottoms that have threads coming off and are frayed at the edges where cat kneading has occurred, any other clothing will get ruined
  • Choose a social media profile picture that includes a selfie with one or more feline companions
  • Create an online photo album dedicated to feline antics
  • The same rule above also applies to all mobile devices
  • Willingly accept and receive birthday cards from friends and family that are selected purely based on the resemblance to your cat/cats
  • When friends begin to talk about their boyfriend/husband/child you connect with them by telling a similar story about your cat
  • Talk to your cat when you are pottering around the house. Tell your cat/cats about your day. They are interested in your mundane stories even if they look bored
  • Don’t be afraid to opt for a night in with your cat/cats instead of seeing friends. It’s too cold and dark out there now anyway. Only dash out if you need to stock up on cat litter or chocolate
  • You sometimes get little electric shocks where you have stroked your feline companion and created static friction. Heck, it happens, live a little.

How to recognise a witch:

  • She owns one or more cats
  • Her hair is wild and all over the place, knotty and tangled –  a right mess
  • She has long flowing skirts and dresses that have threads dangling off them, or maybe its spider webs?
  • She looks like the drawing of the old woman and her cat that is currently pinned to the notice board in the town square, next to the fountain
  • She makes noises of agreement whenever her cat talks
  • She doesn’t socialise with other people, she sticks to herself and doesn’t venture outside, only going to collect herbs when she needs to
  • She can send sparks flying from her fingers
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