I must admit the first time I saw the book “Cat Lady Chic” I literally smacked myself on the head as I thought, “Doh, that’s a book I should have written.”
I loved the color scheme (pink and grey – look familiar?), the logo design, and the title itself. And while I’m thrilled they had the über cool and sexy Carole Lombard on the cover with a black cat, I wish the feline wasn’t striking the stereotypical black Halloween cat stance (hiss and all!).
My second thought immediately being,“Who is this Diane Lovejoy?” For whatever reason the name made me think of some sex expert a la Ruth Westheimer. It turns out Diane has a background in Fine Arts and currently lives with ten cats and a fur-less husband.
I wasn’t sure I could relate to this seemingly upper crust, older gentlewoman until I began reading articles about her in addition to the book’s introduction with her observations on the perception of the “Cat Lady” in our culture.
As she told the New York Post last Fall, there a defining moment in her life that made her realize exactly how negative the notion of the “Cat Lady” is.
It was 2012 and she was in Houston having recently published her first book “Cat Lady Chronicles.” Diane was the keynote speaker at an event and when she arrived at the venue woman approved asking who she was. As Diane recounts, “When I told her I was the speaker, she looked at me, head-to-toe, and said, ‘Oh, we did not know what to expect.’”
“By associating with the cat, one only risks becoming richer” – Colette
I must admit the introduction may very well be my favorite part, particularly Diane’s keen observations. She notes the “Cat Lady” could serve as the “ ‘un’-woman’s ambassador.” UNnsightly, UNkept, UNfashional, UNmarried. Her objective with “Cat Lady Chic” is very much aligned with that of I HAVE CAT – to turn the tables on the conventional unflattering image of the Cat Lady. In her words, “to rescue the Cat Lady from the Hall of Shame.”
“I am really a cat transformed into a woman…I purr. I scratch. And sometimes I bite.” – Brigitte Bardot
I adore her idea of literally rebranding the “Cat Lady” with a brand logo, the antithesis of a scarlet letter. Rather, the letters “C” and “L” interlocking – think Christian Dior or Chanel. And she believes cultural attitudes are already shifting with younger generations thanks to the likes of Taylor Swift.
To reinforce cat women as attractive, and cats as symbols of attractiveness (she remind the reader that felines are regal creatures fastidious about their appearance), Diane has assembled a collection of photographs of famous actresses and personalities with felines. Along with quotes, a few of which are in this post.
As she points out, “Why would some of Hollywood’s best photographers purposefully pose these legends with cats if the cat lady is supposed to be so unattractive?”
My only quibble with the book is that many of the photographs show actresses with a cat (“XXX and a cat”), not their cats necessarily (whose to say they have cats or are even cat lovers).
Diane fully admits this to be the case, and I guess that’s why the book is “Cat Lady Chic,” Not “The Chic Cat Lady.” I myself prefer the photos I’ve featured here, and others of Elizabeth Taylor, Hedde Stern, Colette, Eva Longori, Anna Pavlova, Hillary Clinton, and others who are photographed with their own felines.
“I have always been crazy about cats.” – Vivien Leigh
As a side note, while Diane finds the French-born Cat Ladies “an exceptionally fashionable breed,” the cover of the French version of the book doesn’t do that vision a bit of justice in my opinion.
Featuring a the accomplished Jeanne Moreau, a French actress, singer, screenwriter and director, it fails to project a vision of the re-branded, glamorous “Cat Lady” and looks as though it were published in the 1960s. Anyone else agree?
Do you have any favorite Cat Women you believe are helping to update the dated “Crazy Cat Lady”persona? D0 tell. (It’s okay if you want to name me JUST KIDDING…sortta…kindda…lol!).
“Cat Lady Chic” By Diane Lovejoy is available on Amazon in hardcover ($14.99) or for Kindle ($19.99).