Paris Match Belgique

Non, les « crazy cat ladies » n’existent pas vraiment d’après la science

chats

Les femmes ayant des chats ne sont pas plus seules, déprimées ou anxieuses. | © Unsplash / Mel Elías

Environnement & Animaux

Ce cliché très présent des « crazy cat ladies » est seulement un stéréotype. La science prouve que les propriétaires de chats ne sont pas plus seuls, déprimés ou anxieux que le reste de la population.

On a tous en tête l’image de la dame aux chats dans les Simpson, correspondant bien – et entretenant peut-être même – au cliché de la « crazy cat lady », que l’on peut traduire par la « vieille dame aux chats ». Exit les clichés, il semblerait que l’idée de finir vieille fille seule, déprimée et entourée de chats ne soit pas représentative de la réalité.

cat lady
La « crazy cat lady » dans les Simpson. © Fox / The Simpson

« Nos résultats ne correspondent pas à l’idée que les propriétaires de chats sont plus déprimés, anxieux ou seuls », affirment les chercheurs de l’Université de Californie à Los Angeles, dont l’étude a été publiée dans le Royal Society Open Science.

Les scientifiques ont observé 561 propriétaires d’animaux de compagnie. Ils ont ainsi pu étudier comment les gens réagissaient aux appels de détresse de leurs animaux, et ils ont comparé cela avec leur santé mentale ou leurs difficultés sociales. « Nous n’avons trouvé aucune preuve approuvant le stéréotype de la ‘dame aux chats’ : les propriétaires de chats ne différaient pas des autres quant aux symptômes de dépression, d’anxiété ou dans leurs relations intimes », déclare l’étude.

Les chercheurs ont également trouvé que les propriétaires de chats et de chiens sont plus susceptibles de s’identifier aux appels de détresse d’un animal. Les propriétaires d’animaux de compagnie deviendraient plus tristes que les non-propriétaires lorsqu’ils entendent un miaulement de chat ou un geignement de chien.

Lire aussi > Oui, votre chat reconnaît bien son nom quand vous l’appelez

Déconstruire un stéréotype bien ancré aux États-Unis

Cette nouvelle étude fait écho à une autre datant de 2017 de l’University College de Londres déclarant qu’ils n’avaient trouvé aucun lien entre la possession d’un chat et l’apparition de symptômes psychotiques, rappelle CNN.

La photographe BriAnne Wills a voulu elle aussi démystifier ce mythe en montrant le vrai visage de femmes qui possèdent des chats dans son projet « Girls and Their Cats ». Une belle manière de rendre hommage aux propriétaires de chats, et d’enterrer à jamais l’idée fausse et négative de la « crazy cat lady ».

Lire aussi > Si votre chat est stressé ou fainéant, c’est parce que vous l’êtes aussi

 

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« We also had no idea what an incredible foster cat dad Meatball would turn out to be. We’ve fostered four litters since we adopted him and he becomes a surrogate parent to all of them. The kittens make a beeline for him every time we let them out of the bedroom (we only allow supervised visits with the grown cats) and he’ll groom, snuggle and play with them all day. We’ve nicknamed him Mama Meatball because he provides so much love and comfort to these orphaned babies in ways that we humans can’t.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ Fostering has been one of the most rewarding and meaningful experiences of my life. Not only does it allow me to snuggle kittens all day long but I also get to see our fosters blossom from being fearful and under-socialized to trusting and affectionate. It’s also given us Kit and Meatball, who have brought out the best in each other, even if they forget it sometimes. ⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ It’s not always easy. As my husband likes to say, fostering is 70% sunshine and roses, 20% emotional labor and 10% poop (probably more poop, actually). But it’s one of the best ways to help animals, who might not otherwise have a chance, find loving homes and it helps our hardworking shelters out. I did some math and if just 5% of US households fostered one animal once per year, we could clear the shelters. And who knows, you might also meet the cats of your dreams. » @gabioc⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ Gabi O’Connor is a software engineer at Etsy and foster kitten mom with @bfas_ny. Aside from cats, her interests include horror movies, surreal comedy and celebrity gossip. She lives in Brooklyn with her writer husband and two cats. You can follow Mama Meatball and his kittens at @mama.meatball.the.cat⁠⠀

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« Before Sage, I had never owned a pet of any sort but loved cats and had always wanted one. I had just started graduate school and gotten out of an abusive relationship. It was the start of a new chapter in my life and I felt like I was ready. I spent a lot of time reading GATC posts too! All the pictures and beautiful stories were really inspiring. I was planning to officially begin my search in the spring of 2018 and could not shut up about it⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ A close friend of mine was an adoption counselor at @AnimalHaven in Manhattan and I had talked with her endlessly about what I was looking for and what I felt like I could handle. I was originally going to start looking for a bonded pair of senior cats. Then, one day in December 2017, I got a phone call in the middle of the work day from my friend. She told me she thought the perfect cat had come in, that I would absolutely love her and that she was so sure, she had placed the cat on a soft hold already.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ I was hesitant. It was early, before I had officially planned to start looking. She was a young cat, only three years old at the time. But as soon as the first picture of her floofy coat and big blue eyes popped up in my messages, I had a feeling my friend was right. I went over to Animal Haven after work and ended up spending two hours lying on the floor in front of her crate, talking to her and petting her. It was really love at first sight and I took her home with me to Bushwick a few days later. In the beginning, I was insanely anxious. I was so worried I had bitten off more than I could chew; I was responsible for another living creature besides myself for the first time in my life. But once we started settling in together, it just felt right and I became a “pet person” faster than I ever expected.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ Sage is truly the most loving, trusting, sweetest cat I have ever met, despite her frequently pretty grumpy looking, squished face. Having never owned a cat before, I didn’t know how much love and joy she would bring into my life. Before I adopted her, I remember being worried about hair everywhere and thinking that I would never let a pet sleep in my bed with me. I’m a changed person. » @olivvine⁠⠀

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« Jerry has a very tight schedule he keeps himself on. 6am is breakfast and he’ll bite any face he has to to get it. I usually keep pushing him off the bed until 7am on principle of « training him » but he’s ten now and I think I lost that battle. After taking about 3 bites of breakfast he’s ready to come back for cuddles. He always gives me a kiss after he’s eaten. He follows me around while I get ready for work and then about 9am it’s day nap time. He sits in the same spot at the foot off the bed next to the window and SLEEPS for hours. At around 3pm or 4pm, he’s ready for lunch and will scream bloody murder if you’re working from home until he gets it. He doesn’t want to just be given food for any of his meals, he wants you to serve him and then sit down with him and pet him while he eats. He only licks his food instead of biting it off the plate so he really appreciates/expects you to continually push the wet food together in chunks so he can get more off the plate. (I know that I am an enabler). When I get home from work around 7pm it’s scream city until he gets dinner. Couch time is until 10pm and then it’s time for the night crazies. He runs around the apartment chasing nothing and making the weirdest yowl sounds until we go to bed. If it’s really bad, I’ll bring out the mouse on a string for him to chase for awhile. ⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ Jerry loves his new life in New York. He is fascinated with all the city life he sees out the window and will watch cautiously for hours. He’s never lived in a building with hallways before and he’s become the mayor of the 3rd floor here in Brooklyn where he walks up and down the hall smelling everyone’s door. He begs us to let him out every night for his patrol. » @ctroubl_e @tamberine716⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ Jeremy lives with CT Treibel (they/them), a queer nonbinary filmmaker and Amber Hurst Martin (she/her), a professional singer. CT and Amber met 3 years ago appearing in LA’s smash hit performance salon SORORITY. Together they produce Amber’s cabaret, You Can’t Act A Color in LA and NYC. Secretly, all they really want to do is watch baseball and make pasta. ⁠⠀

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« I first started fostering in June 2017. A friend who fosters dogs reached out to me because the rescue she was working with was going to be rescuing cats for the first time and they were in desperate need of fosters. I took two calico sisters and had them for a couple weeks until I eventually found them homes with my co-workers. ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ Not too long after that, my mother unexpectedly passed away. It was life-altering for me. I stopped eating, lost a lot of weight, stopped participating in things that I really enjoyed. I was a wreck, emotionally and physically. My therapist and I began talking about ways to get my life back on track and make my life feel meaningful again, and one of the things she suggested was volunteering with animals again since she knew how much joy and comfort they brought me.⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ Five months after my first fostering experience, I decided to try again. Since I had met the @brooklynbridgeanimals foster parent who I adopted my cat Salsa from, and had previously volunteered at @catcafebk while it was still a pop-up location, I felt good about fostering with them.⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ After filling out a foster application, a couple weeks later someone came to perform a home visit to make sure my home was kitten-safe and to drop off a couple six-week-old kittens for me to take care of for the next couple of weeks. Fostering helped pull me out of the deep, dark hole that I was in after my mother passed away, and gave me something to be responsible for. It gave me a sense of purpose. These little helpless balls of fluff were depending on me to keep them healthy, fed, and safe.⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ So far, I have been the foster mom of 14 beautiful kittens. My current fosters are three tabby siblings named Lather, Rinse, and Repeat. It’s so rewarding to see them grow up from little roly-poly balls covered in kitten food and dirt, into healthy, spunky young cats. And it’s even more amazing when you get to see them grow and thrive in their new permanent homes. In my life, there have been few experiences as rewarding as fostering. » @meowdevin @catcafebk⠀⠀#fosteringsaveslives #kittens

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If you’ve ever tried to pose with your cat for a photo, then you know the making of Girls and Their Cats book was a seamless and easy experience without any challenges whatsoever and cats are the most cooperative models. ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ Just kidding. ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ Cats are notoriously good at letting you know when they’ve had enough. Whether by jumping from your arms unannounced, running away, or just putting their paw between you and that thing you were just doing. And while that doesn’t make my job easy, I can respect that. ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ As you can imagine, I don’t always get the perfect shot right away. In fact, it can take several attempts to get a decent shot. But these outtakes tell a funny story, too. (No cats were harmed in the making of these photos and they were all pampered with pets and treats during and after.) ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ To see how their portraits turned out, buy the book! It’s available for preorder on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and IndieBound. (links in bio)⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ #CatLadyRedefined

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