Meet Eleanor Abernathy: once M.D., once A.A.L., now C.C.L.
Old Ella Mason keeps cats, eleven at last count,
In her ramshackle house off Somerset Terrace;
People make queries
On seeing our neighbor's cat-haunt,
Saying: "Something's addled in a woman who accommodates
That many cats."
— "Ella Mason and Her Eleven Cats" by Sylvia Plath, 1956
Animal hoarding is a real-life psychiatric problem. Although animal hoarders come in all ages, races, pet preferences, and in both sexes (at about a 50-50 ratio), animal hoarders in fiction are predominantly older white women with a fondness for cats.
This person is invariably Not Good with People, except that instead of being a Friend to All Living Things, she usually only has an affinity with one specific type of animal, which will flock to her like moths to a flame. She lives alone (probably because she couldn't get married) except for the large number of cats or whatever animals living with her. She is often feared by the community and seen as an eccentric recluse. Sometimes, she will turn to be a Misunderstood Loner with a Heart of Gold, leading to An Aesop about judging a book by its cover.
This trope definitely seems skewed towards female characters, and can be read as an extension of the traditional negative characterisation of spinsters, especially when it's implied that the cats are a stand-in for human children that she never had before it was too late. Men, apart from an occasional trend toward living on a rooftop surrounded by pigeons, tend towards either more complete isolation or a more diversified set of friends. Male or female, however, animal hoarders tend to do a poor job of caring for their pets. Sanitation is often a nightmare: many of the animals die from malnourishment, and the owner themselves might die from related illnesses.
Three guesses who inherits the house when they go. See Kindhearted Cat Lover for examples when liking cats is not a symptom of being socially inept.note And might in fact be a Hidden Depth.See All Witches Have Cats, where the many cats are a sign of a magic caster.
Generally not related to Cat Girl, outside of harem series.
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A "Got Milk?" ad featured an old lady with a house full of cats discovering she was out of milk. She mixed up a batch of non-dairy creamer. "Just like milk!" The cats hate it. The last thing we see is one of the cats closing the blinds...
A Geico commercial had the Gecko and spokesperson visiting customers, in this case an older lady. The spokesman asks what she feeds her cats; cut to a shot of the Gecko surrounded by cats and looking very nervous as she says, "I usually like to feed them fresh food." The pair are then shown back at the office with the Gecko's arm in a little sling.
"When you pay too much for cable, you throw things. When you throw things, people think you have anger issues. When people think you have anger issues, your schedule clears up. When your schedule clears up, you grow a scraggly beard. When you grow a scraggly beard, *man picks up stray cat* you start taking in stray animals. And when you start taking in stray animals, you can't stop taking in stray animals. Stop taking in stray animals!"
It featured a Crazy Reptile Man (an actor who bought a basilisk)
Humorous version is Nutty Poodle Gangster.
Many of D's clientele are people who for one reason or another cannot relate normally to other people and hoard animals.
Irma from Queen's Blade is all over the "cat attraction," thing, though she is likely sane, just very bitter and aloof.
Cathy, or "Cat-chan" from Yu Gi Oh ZEXAL, although only in middle school, has a horde of cats and is definitely crazy, mostly for Yuma. She also wears her hair up to look like cat ears and can communicate with her cats through hisses and purrs.
Aramaki of 7 Seeds has a large number of dogs and is rather eccentric. Of course, the reason he's a little rusty on social interaction is that he was the only person in Japan who wasn't in cryostasis for the fifteen years before the other four teams woke up, and the dogs are actually very useful (hunting for food, keeping watch, and so on). Still, this trope is basically how Arashi, Natsu, and Semimaru perceive him when they meet.
The Cat Maniac in Wata No Kuni Hoshi is either Crazy Cat Lady or a Kindhearted Cat Lover; he's a cat-obsessed oddball who walks the streets with a net and carrier to catch cats, which he then takes back to his luxurious apartment to pamper and care for.
A 1955 issue of Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen features a wealthy Crazy Cat Lady who owns 49 felines and rewards Jimmy with a million dollars after he rescues one of them.
DC Comics series Armageddon 2001 was a series of "what if" stories picturing the fates that were going to befall various DC superheroes as the world was turning into a dystopia. One of the stories shows super heroine Ice as a crazy cat lady.
While not crazy (dressing as a giant animal and jumping across rooftops is considered sane in the DC Universe), Catwoman officially has 17 cats.
Felicia Hardy in Spider-Man: Noir is a reclusive nightclub owner who not only owns many cats, but takes them to work! Her club's called "The Black Cat" and the waitresses are dressed in Cat Girl fetish gear, as well. After being disfigured by the Crime Master, she becomes a total shut-in who never leaves the house, never has any visitors besides her doorman Lippy, and does little but care for her cats.
A Hellraiser comic featured one of these. She summons the Cenobites and agrees to go with them willingly if they help her take revenge on the neighbor who had been capturing and torturing her cats to death.
Every mention of Becca's great-aunt in All-Ghouls School portrays her as one of these.
A rare male example appeared in Came Out of the Darkness when Seamus Finnegan complained that he was going to end up going stag to the Yule Ball and an equally-dateless Dean Thomas replied "It's not like we're going to die two old men alone surrounded by cats."
In Harry and Millie and the Philosopher's Stone Millicent Bulstrode was afraid she'd get in trouble with her mother for fighting during her first day at Harry's Muggle school and started babbling about how she'd end up uneducated and jobless and then "die alone with thirty cats."
Woundsalt (thinking): I am getting a 'crazy cat lady' vibe right now. Funny though, I don't see any cats. It's like poor Shy got dumped and instead of filling the void with cats, she decided to have some variety and have every type of creature BUT cat.
The Ur Example might be Edith Ewing "Big Edie" Beale and her daughter Edith "Little Edie" Beale, whose lives were the subject of the groundbreaking documentary Grey Gardens (1976). The Beales were Impoverished Patricians who had been living in their filthy, dilapidated Long Island mansion for decades. The house is overrun with cats and raccoons. In one scene Big Edie, reclining in bed, matter-of-factly notes that a cat is urinating behind her fancy portrait which is leaning against the wall. In another scene Little Edie is shown dumping a whole loaf of Wonderbread in the attic for the raccoons to eat.
A character in MirrorMask is an old lady who lives alone with a lot of small cat-like sphinxes. (In a line cut from the final film, she explains that she's a widow; her husband just disappeared one day, and apparently the sphinxes were so upset they didn't touch their food for days...)
Madame from The Aristocats is a mild example, being an old lady who owns a family of cats and makes them the beneficiaries of her will. One could argue that she goes full-on Crazy Cat Lady at the end of the film, when she decides to adopt all the stray cats in Paris. And this is supposed to be a happy ending.
Although technically disqualified because he hoards so many different species, Raoul from UHF's "Raoul's Wild Kingdom" segments deserves honorary Crazy Cat Lady status for having dozens of exotic and wild animals living tucked into drawers, hidden in cupboards, and running/flying/crawling free in his apartment. He qualifies based on the number of poodles he sacrifices out the window in teaching them to fly. They make a pile about 8 feet high easily filling the trope, at least until they all die.
Taken to a truly disturbing degree in Good Neighbours: Louise loves all cats to an extreme degree and is rather socially awkward and distant... and is also a sociopathic murderer.
The fiendish Mrs. Deagle from Gremlins has no problem with cruelty to dogs (she threatens Billy's with a ride in her spin dryer at high heat for breaking a yard decoration), but when we see her home life it turns out her house is full of cats. And since she's a greedy old hag, she has given them all names like "Kopec" and "Dollar Bill".
Jenny, one of Will's childhood Love Interests in Big Fish could be considered this as well as Kindhearted Cat Lover, since despite her seclusive lifestyle, legends of being a witch, and dilapidated household, she's very sympathetic and shy.
In Big Ass Spider, one of these is reason the hero ends up at the local hospital right when the eponymous menace first hatches out of a corpse in the morgue.
The old lady that Alex kills in A Clockwork Orange lives in a home surrounded by fifty or more cats. (After he is imprisoned, the government sells all of his stuff. Why? To pay for the upkeep of the cats.)
"Breaking out in chronic cats" is mentioned as a sign of senility in the novel Hogfather, when Susan discovers Death has taken in a vast number of cats as pets. Doubles as Kindhearted Cat Lover, as Death is friendly but socially confused when dealing with humans.
Lady Sybil Vimes has her swamp dragons. Though this is mitigated by the fact that she a) is a swamp dragon breeder, b) has the money and space to adequately care for them, and c) is well-adjusted enough to eventually become happily married.
One of the thirteen Black Ajah Aes Sedai the female protagonists are sent out to hunt early in the Wheel of Time series was a noted cat-lover; cats flock to Aes Sedai in general but this particular character seeks out strays and injured cats to Heal and feed up
One of the Dursleys' neighbors (Arabella Figg) who they would sometimes leave him with was something of a crazy cat lady. Later, it's revealed she is a squib (a powerless wizard) and probably had a bit of Obfuscating Stupidity in her earlier behavior. Rowling has said that the reason she keeps so many cats is because she breeds them as familiars for wizards. She also has a few Kneazles (highly intelligent, cat-like magical creatures which can sense deception and breed with regular cats), and uses them as spies.
Morfin Gaunt (Voldemort's uncle) could count as a crazy snake man. He treats his pet snake with more affection than his sister (not that that's hard) and nails one of its dead skins to the door to scare people off.
Voldemort. He has only one live snake, but showers her with affection he wouldn't dream of showing to another human being, even going to far as to put part of his soul in her. And that's not even going into the recurring snake motif associated with him...
Accidentally occurs to an unemployed man in the first of "15 Portraits of Despair" in the last Endless anthology. The "Despair" part happens when he's offered a job that requires him to go out of town, leaving his cats locked up in his trailer... Considering that all those cats were outdoor/strays to begin with, you have to wonder why the hell he didn't just put them outside when he left town.
In Harriet the Spy, one of Harriet's spy targets is a very reclusive man with some twenty cats. He's constantly attempting to avoid Animal Control, who have him pegged as a hoarder although he clearly cares for the cats — they eat better than he does. By the end of the book, they catch him and take the cats away. He's despondent... until the last time we see him, when he's started over with one little kitten.
Jonathan of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell encounters an extreme Crazy Cat Lady who provides him with the means to bottle madness. She's forgotten how to speak all languages except for Cat, and eats the food they bring her. Eventually, she's granted a boon and turned into a cat and allowed to live among her kind.
Bagabond in the Wild Cards series has a telepathic link with all the animals in Manhattan but most especially cats.
Crazy Cat Ladies appear now and then as tertiary characters in the Lord Peter Wimsey books.
Crazy women hoarding cats appear as background characters in Agatha Christie's writing.
In The Bad Place, by Dean Koontz, most of the main characters belong to the same Dysfunctional Family: their grandparents are brother and sister, their parent is a hermaphrodite who managed to impregnate herself several times. Two sisters in the youngest generation are identical twins who share a telepathic link with each other, as well as with any animal of their choice. They surround themselves with a flock of cats that they are permanently linked to.
It becomes necessary to make Sir Roderick Glossop believe that Bertie is insane. One of the methods by which this is accomplished is to make it look like he's some sort of Crazy Cat Gentleman. Note that this works especially well because Sir Roderick already knows that Bertie's Uncle Henry was a Crazy Rabbit Gentleman who kept eleven of them in his bedroom and spent his last days in an asylum, "happy to the last and completely surrounded by rabbits".
Later, in "Without The Option", Bertie meets an actual Crazy Cat Lady, the Pringle's Aunt Jane. He's impersonating his friend Sippy at the time, and since Sippy shot arrows at one of Aunt Jane's cats when he was about six years old, Aunt Jane now is highly suspicious that Bertie wants to harm her cats. This causes problems, since Bertie really is something of a Kindhearted Cat Lover and Aunt Jane's cats take to him instinctively.
In the Tunnels series, Mrs. Tantrumi is an old woman living in Highfield who owns a lot of cats. She is also one of Les Collaborateurs.
This trope is consciously subverted in the novel The Shape of Snakes by Minette Walters. The novel features the death of a supposed mad black woman whose house is found to be full of ill-treated and mutilated cats. In actual fact she is not mad but merely suffers from Tourette's and the cats are strays ill-treated by her next door neighbours which Annie tried to save from further cruelty.
In The Pale King, Chris Fogle's mother ends up obsessing over birds as a way to cope with the death of her ex-husband.
Shotgun Sorceress has Sara Bailey-Jones, who owns a large number of Devil Kittens and kills anyone who is mean to them.
The young adult novel Jacob Have I Loved has a cat lady who's portrayed as mildly dotty. When she ends up in the hospital, the main characters must decide what to do with all of her cats. They consider drowning them, even going so far as to throw them all in sacks and take them out in a boat, but in the end can't go through with it. The solution they finally come up with is to drug the (rather vicious) cats with opiates so they seem meek and compliant, and convince several of the local residents that adopting a cat is a good idea.
There was an episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent with a bird lady who believed that people are reincarnated as birds, and that one parakeet in particular was her late husband.
In one episode of the The Flash live-action TV series, The Trickster, when given a chance to find out, goes on a rant about how he doesn't care who's behind The Flash's mask, because he's just some guy, who will end up alone living alone with a lot of cats.
The first episode of A Touch of Frost features a Crazy Cat Lady who burns all her cats to death. On purpose.
This appeared to be the future of Angela in the US version of The Office (US). In the final season, she had the cats confiscated from her after her divorce from the senator. On the finale she marries Dwight, and the others buy back her cats as a wedding present. No doubt they would have a better life living on the spacious Schrute farm than on Angela's old apartment.
There's a crazy cat lady in the neighbourhood in My Name Is Earl Randy also dates a cat hobbyist, who realizes she's slipping into the mold, after Randy points out she treats him like a cat.
The Drew Carey Show: When Nora is gushing about her many adorable kitties, another character asks her, "You know they're going to eat your eyes when you die alone?" After a pause, she says somberly, "I try not to think about that." The scene playing during the credits for that episode is filmed through the eyes of one of her cats, who jumps up on her bed as she's sleeping and paws at one of her eyes. She wakes up and says something like "I'm not dead yet, Mittens."
Matthew of Newsradio owns many, many cats. One episode, Bill dismisses Matthew's friends as shut-ins.
Matthew: They're not shut-ins, okay Bill... they're just the kind of people that like to stay inside... all the time.
Bill: Well, it's hard to get out when you're taking care of 16 stray cats... each named after a child you never had...
An episode of New Tricks focused on the re-opened case of the death of a woman whose body had been partially eaten by her cats. It turned out she'd been accidentally killed. Her body had been locked in her house along with all of her cats with all of the doors and windows shut, no food, no water and well...nature took its course.
On Charmed, there was a woman who has a ton of cats who seem to obey her commands. It's justified since, It was Kit, the Charmed Ones' old familiar, given a human form and raising new familiars.
In one episode, the only witness to a crime has amnesia, in an attempt to discover who he is they put a photo of him on TV asking for anyone who knows him. A woman turns up claiming to be his wife but turns out to be a crazy lady who owns 8 cats.
In an episode, a police SWAT team busts into a house, thinking it's the house of a terrorist. It turns out the name was misspelled — Cut to a scene of Castle, Esposito and Ryan, drinking tea from fussy teacups whilst being climbed on by a horde of cats.
An episode of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia where Frank and Charlie start to realize Sweet Dee is turning into one. In Dee's defense, she only gets one cat and it is Charlie who bring in several more to her apartment in a failed attempt to get the first one.
There are several Hoarders who had hoards of animals in their houses. A few even had dead animals in the piles of trash.
There is a TV spin-off from Hoarders called Animal Hoarding which focuses on this type of behavior. Some episodes have had people with: 2000 rats, 80 dogs or 50 cats. In all of these cases, the animals aren't receiving good care simply because there are so many of them.
In an episode of Hannah Montana Forever, Miley was busy dealing with the fallout of revealing herself as the titular idol singer to the world. Not wanting to deal with anymore negativity, she contemplated staying in her house with nothing but cats. Her friend Lily Lampshaded this and resorted to dragging her out.
In Grandmas House, Simon tries to be this, but it doesn't work out for him too well:
"The cat didn't make me any less lonely. It just became a mascot for my loneliness."
In the Friends episode "The One Where Mr Heckles Dies", Chandler worries that he's going to end up alone and imagines his future self as a "Crazy Snake Man".
In The Big Bang Theory episode "The Zazzy Substitution", Sheldon deals with a falling out with Amy by adopting lots and lots of cats.
Leonard: Okay, fine, live with cats! Be like my Aunt Nancy. She had dozens of 'em, and you know what happened after she died? They ATE her!
Sheldon: You don't have to sell me on cats, Leonard, I'm already a fan!
In The Suite Life of Zack and Cody spin off, The Suite Life on Deck, their teacher Miss Tutweiller has her room full of cats. It is suggested that she gets a new one every time she gets dumped. After her sister has a more successful Valentines Day than her she announces that she's about one bad relationship away from being one of those women who has thirty cats and pathetically names them after ex-boyfriends.
An early season 2 episode of ER had the paramedics debate whether they could take in a man who was sitting around naked in his apartment while white rabbits scurried around his place. He was morbidly obese and singing a show-tune, but when they took him to hospital he panicked about who was going to feed his bunnies while he was in hospital.
Hannah from One Life to Live is a different variation of this. She's fairly young, and is effectively a Yandere who happens to have a bizarre obsession with cats.
In The Closer, Brenda lives in fear of turning into one of these and, after her cat (who she thought was male) has kittens, she wonders how she became one of those single women with too many cats.
One segment of 1000 Ways to Die featured a Crazy Cat Lady who's husband divorced her due to her animal hoarding. Think that's bad enough? She is also nuts. She milks all of her cats daily and drinks the milk. She dies because her cats had been feeding on a plant that is toxic to humans but not to cats, so it went through the cats' systems and into the milk.
An episode of King of Queens involves Doug and Carrie discussing a cousin of Doug's and his wife, whom they hadn't seen since their wedding. Doug explains it's because they're both rather eccentric, and Carrie remembers that they own several cats, and the wife calls them their children. A later scene in the episode hints that the woman might on some level actually think they're her biological offspring.
Sonia in Go On breeds cats. Lots and lots of cats. So many that she gives one or more to each and every member of the support group. And they all blame Ryan for it.
Poirot: Such a lady is amongst the witnesses in "The Clock". Hercule Poirot demonstrates lots of patience when interrogating her, since it is hard to broach any other subject than her cats with the Cloudcuckoolander.
The animal cruelty investigators from Animal Precinct and other shows along that line occasionally have to deal with animal hoarders. Not all cases involving hoarding involve cats, nor are all hoarders necessarily female.
A male example: Will Graham in Hannibal shares his house with six (later seven) dogs but no humans, implicitly because he finds dogs much easier to get along with than people. They appear to be rescued strays, touching on Pet the Dog - his gentle and patient compassion for them shows that his blunt and slightly neurotic persona among people isn't indicative of an unpleasant nature, just social ineptitude.
Invoked and played straight in the 2 Broke Girls third-season episode "And the Kitty Kitty Spank Spank". Caroline warns Max that they're headed down that road if they take in the cat meowing outside. Later the girls decide not to give the stray cat Max has taken in to a woman whose cat total goes from 27 to 31 during the episode.
On Angel, there was a montage of several fanatical worshippers of Jasmine and what they did to show their love. One of them was an old woman who said, "I have thirty-seven cats, and I've changed all their names to Jasmine."
The Log Lady from Twin Peaks is a subversion as she hoards one log instead of multiple cats, and possesses powerful psychic powers despite being regarded as crazy like other examples.
On Gilmore Girls, Lorelai once fears that she might become a Crazy Cat Lady if she stays single and alone. She says that stray cats sense that and that they might be already getting ready to start coming to her door. One cat indeed does come and Lorelai brings it some food, but she shoos it away.
One patient in Emily Owens, M.D. is a hoarder who has about ten cats. She has serious infection she caught from her wounded arm. When her daugher tells Emily about her life and how she unsuccessfully tried to help her, Emily realizes that the woman might have toxoplasmosis that changed her personality.
Robin leans on this trope as she has five mostly big dogs in a small apartment in Brooklyn. In one episode, she's tells Lily's kindergarteners about her job. The kids ask her if she has fiancé or if she doesn't get lonely. A little girl compares her to her grandma who has five cats and does get lonely. Robin insists that cats are completely different and that she's not some pathetic cat lady.
One of Ted's numerous dates is a woman who talks about her several cats on their first date and reveals that she likes dressing them up in costumes and taking pictures. She's actually more of an awkward Kindhearted Cat Lover. She has other interests, too, and is not a lonely wierdo.
Doubled down with Kate McKinnon and Charlize Theron as crazy ladies running a shelter for crazy cats in this ''SNL'' sketch.
Susan Calman portrays herself as this in The News Quiz and Susan Calman is Convicted, often describing how she spends her evenings dressing her cats up.
In Nomine sourcebook Liber Servitorum includes an old woman who seems to be a crazy cat lady. She is, in fact, a servant of an angel who inhabits her cats.
In Vampire: The Masquerade, one of the character templates for the Nosferatu (a splat of vampires horribly disfigured by the Embrace who live secluded lives or utilize illusion powers to maintain the Masquerade) is a crazy small animal person. The character's gender is up to you, as is the type of small animals he hoards. He seldom leaves his lair, preferring to use animal mind-control to have one of his pets act as a proxy when dealing with the coterie.
There's a Creepy Cat Lady in the Horror Recognition Guide for Hunter: The Vigil. She's just that /little/ bit creepier than normal, thanks to what she can do with her cats...
There's an NPC named Donni Anthania in Elwynn Forest, with the subtext <Crazy Cat Lady>. As expected, her house and the surrounding area is crawling with cats. She also sells cat pets to players. She seems like a fairly normal, genericly attractive NPC... then you notice the bloody butcher knife in her hand.
There's Auriaya, product of someone in the Blizzard quarters who said "Hey, what if we pick a crazy cat lady, and make her a raid boss?". She also happens to be a giant. And thousands of years old. Her cats HURT.
Characters can earn the title "Crazy Cat Lady/Man" by collecting 20 different pet cats, out of 25 available in the game. 4 of the 25, however, must either be acquired with real money and 1 was obtained through a 2012 promotion in China, so earning it with strictly in-game pets requires a perfect 20/20.
In Harvester, there's the Crazy Wasp Lady complete with long creepy rant about how the wasps' ability to sting again and again is reminiscent of multiple orgasms...
Knights of the Old Republic KOTOR 2: In the restored content there is a deranged padawin living in the ruins of an old temple who raises and trains Laigrek (large cockroaches) to kill any trespassers or treasure-hunters on sight. Noble characters can dissuade her while Villains can kill or corrupt her.
Farmville has a series of ribbons called Cat Lady which are awarded by brushing your cats enough times.
The Cat Lady presents a more sombre approach to the often eccentric but happy cat ladies present in the media. The game itself takes place after the suicide of the main character the cat lady, Susan Ashworth, a misanthropic and lonely woman. With many tragic events in her past driving her to clinical depression, worst of which was the death of her baby girl due to her negligence and the suicide of her husband that followed, she finally decided to end her suffering and drank all 32 of her sleeping pills. But, she was not meant to die.
One of the tenants in One Piece Mansion is Osuzu, "A sweet but annoying cat-loving older woman". She actually spreads happiness to any tenants directly adjacent to her, even at high stress levels.
Mel'anarch, who is a younger character fitting this trope, replacing cats with spiders, including a giant one named Zhor that she had a child with, though that spider is in fact an elf himself who was altered into his current form.
An example involving actual cats (here called ferals) is Ash'waren, the Sullisin'rune Ill'haress. After the timeskip she's shown to have several in her chambers, and her justified paranoia and distrust of her servants along with the implications that she has not been leaving her rooms put her here.
Natalie of Fur Will Fly has has cats, lots◊ and lots◊ of cats, despite being a cat herself. She's also quite energetic, so one could argue that she's a twofer of this trope.
Nobody Scores! both subverts and plays this trope straight in a one-shot where Jane tries to become a literal Crazy Cat Lady.
Dong-whi and Yun-lee are both absolutely cat-crazy in Nineteen, Twenty-One and spend a lot of the comic looking after cats. The cafe owner is also absolutely cat mad.
Homestuck has Roxy Lalonde, who achieves the unique feat of being Crazy Cat Lady while only 15 years old and a protagonist. She's not your typical Cat Lady, as she doesn't begrudge the displaced Dersites their hunting of her cats. It helps that she's one of the last two humans on Earth.
Why did you have to clone so many cats? Why did they all have to breed so much?
Florence: That's how crazy cat ladies get started.
In a recent episode of The Guild its shown that Vork keeps dozens of birds in his home. He apparently uses them for food (since he is unemployed and only barely gets by on his dead grandfather's benefit checks).
Katherine of Manwhores is an unusual version of this trope in that she is in her 20's and doesn't actually own any cats (being allergic.) This doesn't stop her from filling her house with cat posters, cat models, and cat movies filling her house—in addition to demanding to play with a cat toy to, um, get frisky.
Catface was once forcibly imprisoned in a disgusting and cramped household full of cats owned by a demented cat lady who lured him in by bribing a female cat to woo him. Even when he escapes, she continues to chase him relentlessly until he locks her into a parallel dimension inhabited by his unfathomably creepy double, Face-cat. Face-cat floats towards her ominously, followed by the screen turning black and the Crazy Cat Lady's screams.
Wendy Vainity, known for her insane CGI animations, has an obsession with cats, regularly making videos about them and owning several items of furniture featuring cats, in addition to the actual cats that she owns. She also is unmarried and lives alone. Contrary to the stereotype, she appears to have a normal, friendly personality.
Jamie Halligan in Leftover Soup made a tabletop game revolving around not only hoarding cats, but stealing them from one's opponent. It's called "Cat Burglar".
In the world of the SCP Foundation, the Tailor-Made Prison for SCP-511 requires that an old lady suffering from dementia play the role of a Crazy Cat Lady to a building full of feral cats, with said feral cats all being controlled by a cat shaped thing made from the decaying flesh of multiple dead cats. Since the family of such a woman would never let her live alone in a cat infested buildingnote let alone the Frankensteinian-rotting-cat-zombie-thing, the Foundation kidnaps one from a hospice or nursing home when the previous Crazy Cat Lady dies and forces her to live there. The Foundation considers this to be a lesser evil than allowing SCP-511 to escape.
Lilo & Stitch: The Series presents a more sympathetic example with Mrs. Hasigawa, who has collected a large number of alien experiments that, due to either poor eyesight or senility, she thinks are cats. Lilo and Stitch tried to remove them, but then decided against it when they realized Ms. Hasigawa really did care for them and was taking care of them as well as anyone else could.
One Looney Tunes Sylvester and Tweety cartoon has Granny with what looks like hundreds of dogs in her yard, which makes it harder than usual for Sylvester to get at Tweety.
Fluttershy was well on her way to becoming one, with Rainbow Dash and Rarity her only real links to the larger Pony world, when Twilight Sparkle dropped into her life and recruited her into what amounts to her service.
There's a recurring Crazy Cat Lady character in The Simpsons, seen up above. If somebody approaches her house, she greets them with incomprehensible screams and thrown cats. Her real name is Eleanor Abernathy, and according to the episode "Springfield Up," she used to be a successful doctor and lawyer — until she suffered mental burnout around age 32, turned to alcohol, and sought emotional solace in her pet cats. One episode revealed she has a Spear Counterpart in the form of a Crazy Dog Man. Another episode where Homer and Marge are house hunting come to a house that is filled with cats. They mention that it will be a nice house once the cats are out, and the real estate agent tells them that the former occupant's will specifically states that the house belongs to the cats, so they would technically be the landlords of the Simpson family.
The Venture Bros. has Myra Brandish, Dr. Venture's ex-bodyguard-turned-stalker, who keeps at least 5 cats. That she BREASTFEEDS.
In the Phineas and Ferb episode "Road to Danville", Buford is surprised at how lame the title characters' idea of a quilt is. After Phineas says Buford does not have to hang out with them all the time, Buford awkwardly says that it's fine and he'll turn into a cat kid. Isabella asks what that is, and Buford says it is the "kid version of a cat lady". He attempts to make it not so awkward by saying, "Quick, someone say, 'Where's Perry'!" and Baljeet does so and Buford says, "You're always there for me, man."
In the Pixar Short, "George and A.J.", one of the many senior citizens impressed by Carl Fredricksen's escape in his house of balloons is a cat lady of this kind, whose name is Mrs. Petersen. When the titular male nurses show up to take Mrs. Petersen to the nursing home, she uses her cats to make an elaborate escape of her own similar to Carl's.
Truth in Television. It's called Animal hoarding and many consider it a mental health issue. There's one theory regarding the parasite Toxoplasma gondii which reproduces only in cat intestines which may mean some people who are attracted to cats (specifically the smell of cat pee) have this parasite, making them more like to be eaten by cats if they die. Animal hoarders can be shockingly unaware of the reality of their situation. They honestly don't see the problem that's obvious to everyone, and can even see those trying to help as enemies out to kill their friends. Sadly, because so many of the animals hoarded are in terrible shape, sometimes the majority of animals rescued do have to be put to sleep on humanitarian grounds. Less serious but still surprising is the attitude of the police, who were generally kind and understanding with male hoarders but absolutely blisteringly cruel to female ones, even though the damage to the animals was the same.
Karen Kuykendall, the artist behind the The Tarot of the Cat People was (naturally) a Crazy Cat Lady, with the added horror bonus of dying of a heart attack and her body being partially devoured by her own pets.
Read this story about the so-called "Palisades Rathouse". This verges into horrifying territory.
This woman in Russia has 130 cats that are all strays. She takes them in because she feels bad for all the cats. Sure some people say she's crazy, but others actually say she has a really big heart, given that she lives in Siberia and many house cats really wouldn't be able to survive most winters.
Robert Brunette of Boulder Creek, California kept 38 malnourished dogs, crates full of feces and urine, and even decapitated dog heads and skulls. When he was arrested near a local high school and interviewed by police, he said that the skulls were of dogs he wanted to remember. The article about it.
Unlike most domesticated animals, cats are very self-sustaining, as they can hunt for their own food and don't really need much human attention save for the occasional neutering or trip to the vet. Since they pretty much care for themselves, they're relatively low-maintenance and thus a very popular choice for hoarders. However, hoarded animals wind up with malnutrition. People must not own more animals than they can feed and care for.
The inspiration for Robinson Crusoe, Alexander Selkirk, tamed the island's cats so that they would protect his grain from vermin. Supposedly, one of his biggest fears was dying on the island and having his corpse devoured by the cats.
Another case of insane cat lady-ness in the news, a cop apparently stopped a car with 15 cats running around inside it. As in, the cats were loose inside the car as it was being driven and it nearly crashed due to the driver not being able to see past the cats in the backseat.
Driving with cats let loose in the car killed David Crosby's fiancee Christine Hinton in September of '69. She had just moved to Los Angeles to marry him. She took her two cats to the vet in his van, asking a friend to hold the cats in his arms. She drove onto the highway and one of the cats got startled, broke loose and jumped on her. She lost control, hit a school bus and died. Always put your friends in carriers.
80's pop star Dale Bozzio of Missing Persons made headlines in 2008 when dozens of cats, cat corpses, bones and feces were found in her Massachusetts home. She claims to have put the cats in the care of a friend, but her behavior and the conditions in which the animals were living points to classic hoarding.
The French Cardinal Richelieu was fond of cats and possessed fourteen of them when he died.
Mark Kozelek of Red House Painters is known for his collection of cats and often writes songs about them. They are some of the only happy songs you'll find in his catalog.
Shirley Jackson, who wrote some of the best supernatural thrillers in the English language, had a lifelong interest in the occult and considered herself a witch. In her dryly humorous essays about her family (predating Erma Bombeck by a decade or so), she wrote fondly of her cats, most named for pagan deities or forces — Shax, Ninki, Yain and so on. Her husband, critic Stanley E. Hyman, periodically threatened to evict them. Shirley always made sure all her cats were black, so that he could never tell exactly how many she had.
Louis Wain, a painter who developed schizophrenia, reached a point in his life where he would only draw cats, and as his schizophrenia got worse, the cats went from realistic to barely looking like cats at all. His paintings from later in his life are terrifying.
Stanley Kubrick was a crazy cat gentleman. When not at home he would write ridiculously detailed instructions for how to care for them when he was gone filming and would bring them into the editing room to make up for lost time.
Bob Walker and Frances Mooney are a couple who renovated their entire house just for their cats.
While this woman doesn't seem to have more than three cats, she certainly fits the personality type. She claims to be able to understand cat language and interpret cat's myths and folklore, saying that cats tell her they are on an interstellar mission to teach humans how to use poop as fertilizer.
The beginning of the video shows what seems to be a convention of cat lovers, all trying to talk to their pets.
British journalist Bryony Gordon is clearly aware of this trope. She used to live with her sister, who suggested getting a cat to deal with a mouse problem.
Bryony: We are single sisters living together in our late twenties. If we get a cat, we will never get boyfriends.
Director Rouben Mamoulian became a crazy cat person after his career failed. There were over 40 cats in his dilapidated mansion when he died.