Photographed by Eva K. Salvi.
Somewhere between Breakfast at Tiffany's and the '90s, owning a cat became socially problematic for women. The label "cat lady" has traditionally had a negative connotation, suggesting that which you are (sad, alone) and that which you aren't (happy, in a relationship). But, there's a change afoot, and the term is losing its stigma. Maybe it's because of the Internet's glorification of felines, or maybe it's because people just got over themselves. In fact, having a slight obsession is now cool — a change that seemingly happened overnight. Take for example the Brooklyn Craft Company's Cat Lady Craft Night. The recent event was focused entirely on kitten crafts and welcomed 60 self-identified cat ladies with open arms.
Brett Bara, founder of Brooklyn Craft Company, honed in on the trend, too. “This is the first ‘Cat Lady Craft Night,’ but I was noticing — I’m a cat lady myself, and I have a lot of cat imagery around — that a lot of people who are coming to our classes and events are equally obsessed with cats. There seemed to be a correlation between crafters and cats, so I thought it’d be really fun to do it up in one big event.” And, she was right. We made felt cat toys, cat collages, and cat mugs all while sipping on hibiscus vodka drinks and munching on chia-seed popcorn. It was all very trendy and feline focused.
As Bara explains, women are officially reclaiming the idea of being a cat lady. "It's appropriating a term that used to be sort of derogatory and owning it and making it cool. It used to be a pathetic thing to be a ‘cat lady,’ but now there are so many of us who are young and awesome and love our cats. I just want to take pictures of my cats all the time. I sort of realized I was a ‘cat lady’ by accident. I just realized my blog and my Instagram are full of my cat, and I’m proud of it because she’s awesome and I love her and everyone else loves to see her. So, it’s like, 'Why not?'” Barra's not alone: This event saw the biggest response of any event the company's done to date. There was even a male attendee, who called himself a cat gent.
Bara saw a hugely positive reaction to the evening. "People are saying, ‘This is what I’ve been needing,’ and ‘This is what I’ve been wanting.’ It’s just hit a nerve of something that people would be into. The reaction’s been great. We haven’t had anyone making fun of us or laughing at all. Everyone just thinks it’s awesome.”