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?
Many cat bloggers of the female persuasion hold contests where the “prize” is something “feminine”. I inadvertently won one, but did not want to refuse or seem ungrateful!!! I think only women get the “crazy” adjective applied to them which I consider a plus. Then again, you must cater to your main audience and not the “fringe”!
In my case, it wasn’t so much catering to a female audience as just not thinking, not seeing the whole picture. On one hand, we are trying to eliminate the “Dogs are for boys and cats are for girls” mentality; on the other, we are unwittingly playing right into it. I try not to write with any bias, and though I understand that cozies aren’t for everyone, hope people of all persuasions can enjoy my books. As for the “crazy” tag, Lynley (my hero) keeps telling us “…I’m not quite crazy yet.”
I waited to comment on this until I had finished working on my article called…. Men Who Love Cats.
PS There’s also a fun collection of photo stories by David Williams called Men with Cats.
You wrote an excellent article about men and their cats, a much more comprehensive view than mine. If you don’t mind, I’d like to reblog it here.