Pets & Animals

Feline fever! Meet the hip women of the country's most 'cat lady' friendly cities

A recent poll revealed the eight U.S states that have the most unmarried women with cats — and the Northwest is the country’s cat lady capital!

The survey, conducted by Nielsen Scarborough, showed that 9.9 percent of single women in Portland, Oregon, live alone with a cat, with Seattle following closely behind at 9.3 percent, the Seattle Times reports.

These cities are followed by Pittsburgh with 8.7 percent; Kansas City with 8.4 percent; Denver with 8.3 percent; Albuquerque/Santa Fe with 8.2 percent and Minneapolis-St. Paul with 7.7 percent.

So why so many cats — and their female owners — in these 'burgs versus others?

Dr. Emily Weiss, vice president of research and development at the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, points out major cities are often more cat-compatible and typically have better success dealing with "cat homelessness."

“Cats make great pets anywhere, but can be particularly ideal in urban settings where housing regulations may limit the ownership of larger pets," Weiss tells TODAY.com.

The phrase “cat lady” — often prefaced with “crazy” — conjures imagery of batty old women with no one to talk to but their hordes of stray cats.

But the modern-day cat lady is hardly a deranged recluse.

TODAY.com interviewed a handful of female feline owners in the cat lady towns and found breeds as various as their furry friends — they range in age, they’re social, career-driven and downright hip.

Sana Hamelin, 33, Denver, owner of Denver Cat Company; 2 cats, Mia and Big Kitty

Courtesy of Sana Q. Hamelin
Sana Hamelin owns a cat cafe in Denver.

Who ever heard of a cat lady that was also a young entrepreneur?

Hamelin turned her passion for cats and cat lovers into a business, opening the Denver Cat Company, a cafe where cat, art and book-lovers can sip coffee and hangout together.

"By making cats the center of my life, I am totally owning the cat lady stereotype, but I also defy it by not being anyone's idea of a cat lady,” says Hamelin, adding that she has a boyfriend.

“I have also discovered, after running the cat cafe for a year, that cats are way more popular in the general population than they are given credit for, and it's not just crazy cat ladies who go nuts for cats.

"My customers defy the crazy cat lady stereotype.”

RELATED: Sweet portraits of men with their felines challenge 'cat lady' stereotypes

Heidi Stanley, 34, Portland, graphic designer; 3 cats, Gypsy, Lilah, Sylvia

courtesy of Heidi Stanley
Cats can be a handful!

As a girl, Stanley says she had more affection for Man’s Best Friend.

“I started out as a dog person,” Stanley tells TODAY.com. “I grew up with them and was never around cats, [but] when I met my cat, Gypsy, it was love at first site!”

RELATED: The fur flies in animal photographer funny photo book 'Shake Cats'

Stanley is now a proud cat lady, which sounds like a pretty great thing to be. As pets, they’re independent enough that you can go out, meet people and be social, but then come home “and snuggle up with your sweet cats."

“I'd honestly prefer to 'swipe right' on cats versus dudes most days of the week,” she says.

Jillian Regal, 28, Seattle, marketing writer; 2 cats, Ernest and Daisy

Courtesy of Jillian Regal
Time to sit back, relax, and snuggle!

Forget the spinster stereotype; Regal says she thinks owning cats as a young woman can help prepare for motherhood.

"I know a lot of cat ladies, they're my people — really, all animal lovers are my people," Regal says.

"Not many of my friends have kids yet, but I can tell they'd be great parents because of the love and compassion they show for their animals."

Maha Kamal, 30, Denver, attorney; 2 cats, Frances the Kitten and Mikail

Courtesy of Maha Kamal
Cats and selfies pair well together.

Kamal turns to her cats for both emotional comfort and creative inspiration.

"Mikail and I go back to 12 years ago when I adopted her as a kitten. She' been my rock through a lot of trauma in my life and she's a rare sort of cat," Kamal told TODAY.com.

"Frances came along this year and she's certainly made it clear she's here to stay. She's my art muse."

And as for the "the crazy cat lady stereotype," Kamal likes to both "own and defy it."

“I'm not afraid to talk about my cats," she said. "In fact, I've cartooned Frances and I'm turning her into an animated series. And there's some truth to cats causing mental health issues, but they're totally worth it!”

Alexandria Plew, 24, Portland, public relations professional; 2 cats, Sage and Otto

Courtesy of Alexandria Plew
Who's photobombing who?

Being a cat lady doesn’t mean you’re spending every Saturday night heating up a sad can of soup for yourself.

“I got my first cat, Sage, when I moved into my first apartment in downtown Portland. I was living alone and knew I wanted to have a furry friend to keep me company,” Plew tells TODAY. “And, no, I wasn't single,” she adds.

“I think cats are extremely independent and women in today's world are independent as well,” she adds.

“I would love a third furry friend but my boyfriend doesn't agree; I'll change his mind.”

Maggie Dean, 38, Seattle, research administrator; 2 cats, Sid and Tintin

Courtesy of Maggie Dean
Pucker up, kitty!

After a long day in the office, who better to Netflix and chill with than a furry feline?

Plus, because cats are so self-sufficient, you don't have to worry about yours becoming lonely while you are at work all day.

“Because cats are pretty low maintenance, I think where they tend to be more popular in single person households, where the person doesn’t have the luxury of working from home every day or [working] a dog-friendly workplace,” Dean says.

RELATED: A preoccupied jaguar cub and more in this week's best animal photos!

So, interested in boosting your city's cool cat rep? Adopt a feline friend — no matter your gender.

“With an estimated 3.4 million cats across the country entering shelters each year — and 1.4 million of those never leaving alive — every effort counts,” Weiss, of the ASPCA, says.

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