2019 is the year that "cat ladies" became cool. Lena Dunham, Taylor Swift and Katy Perry regularly post pictures of their felines. Picture: Instagram

London - On my laptop is an image of a dark-grey pet bed, hand-felted from 100% natural wool, with pointy cat ears on top and a small hole for a pet to enter through. Bliss.

Not only would it provide a "fun and characterful refuge" for my grumpy British Blue, Pearl, the photos would create quite a stir on Instagram (supposing I could persuade her to sit in it).

"My God, you really are tipping into CCLT (Crazy Cat Lady Territory)," a friend remarks, as she walks past. She’s already appalled that the screensaver on my phone is a picture of another much-loved, long-dead cat.

Once I would have blushed, but now I’m out and proud. Because 2019 is the year that "cat ladies" became cool. Lena Dunham, Taylor Swift and Katy Perry regularly post pictures of their felines.

On August 8, International Cat Day, Nicole Kidman even shared adorable pictures of herself as a young girl with her cats, Priscilla, Chauncy and Gregory, with the caption: "I’ve always been a cat girl."

This is the face of modern cat owners. Forget cliches about "crazy cat ladies" - elderly spinsters in shapeless housecoats with cat hair in the butter.

Last month, a study by the University of California proved owners of cats are no more likely to be "anxious or alone" than dog owners or those with no pets at all.

"We found no evidence to support the 'cat lady' stereotype: cat owners did not differ from others on self-reported symptoms of depression, anxiety or their experiences in close relationships," the study said.

Researchers at UCLA, who analysed more than 500 pet owners, found that, yes, those who have pets are more sensitive when it comes to responding to low mood or distress in animals. But there’s no evidence that dog owners are any more popular than cat people.

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Cat lady thirst trap

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The cat lady is beginning to change her own narrative, thank the Lord, because for so long we’ve been seen as lonely eccentrics - whereas having a dog is "often viewed as  healthy" and "beneficial in motivating owners to get extra physical activity".

Popular culture loves to present cat ladies as crazy, dishevelled, man-hating spinsters, from the Crazy Cat Lady in The Simpsons to Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman in Batman Returns.

You can even buy a Crazy Cat Lady action figure online ("All the fun of having a real cat lady without the allergies"), wearing a manky dressing gown and surrounded by her six cats.

I’d rather be compared to Big Edie and Little Edie, the co-dependent mother and daughter (and Jackie Onassis’s eccentric relatives) in the cult documentary, Grey Gardens, with their 52 cats. At least they had style.

Daily Mail