I was recently selling and signing my books at a large cat show. I was happily surprised by the diverse attendance and enjoyed speaking to people about books, cats, and anything else they had on their minds. The most memorable was a man who stopped by my table with his son. I asked if he was having a good time. He said yes, but…
“Why is all the merchandise here for women?” he asked. “Don’t they realize there are crazy cat men too?”
I immediately thought of Jackson Galaxy, the Cat Daddy, and then of our local cat rapper, iAmMoshow, who had just performed there at the show. I thought of the author Bill Crider and his VBK’s (short for Very Bad Kittens) of internet fame. I thought of Lilian Jackson Braun, the queen of the cozy cat mystery, whose hero, Qwilleran, is a man. All good examples of men, both real and fictional, who loved cats; none explaining why this poor guy couldn’t buy a man-sized tee shirt at a cat show.
The man wasn’t angry, more surprised and disappointed. Since this was my first experience at an event with product vendors, I had no perspective, but it seemed like the “crazy cat lady” cliché was turning out to be more insidious than ever.
I couldn’t answer the man’s question, nor could I resolve it since I sell books, not tee shirts, but his comment got me thinking. I’d already chosen the storyline for Crazy Cat Lady cozy mystery #7:
“Animal Cop Denny Paris has a new partner, a sleuthing stray who won’t go away.”
I had tentatively entitled it “Cat Cop”, but upon reconsideration, it seems only fitting to call it “Cat Man” instead.
So if, in 2019, that cat man finds his way back to my booth at the cat show, I will thank him for a new perspective and happily give him a free book.
What Cat Man stories do you have to tell?