The Coastal Star

By Arden Moore

Leave it to a litter company to launch a national campaign to put a positive spin on being catty. The “Tidy Cats Campaign to End Cattiness” has been unleashed to debunk misperceptions and to celebrate millions of people who happily share their homes — and hearts — with cats.

In fact, 71 percent of all domestic cats in the United States live in multiple-cat households. Despite the fact that two or more cats share a common home, unflattering stereotypes still exist about feline ownership. Among Americans polled in a national survey sponsored by Tidy Cats:

• 75 percent describe a person with more than one cat as being a homebody.
• 69 percent describe people with more than one cat as lonely.
• 58 percent regard people with more than one cat as “crazy cat ladies.”

A second part of the survey polled non-cat owners. Their responses:
• 75 percent of them say multiple cat owners’ homes are smelly.
• 85 percent of them report these cat owners’ beds and furniture are fur-covered.
• 66 percent of them describe these cat owners’ homes as being cluttered.

Talk about being catty! I’ll wager a year’s supply of cat food (and litter) that most cat-occupied homes in south Palm Beach County are clean, tidy and welcoming.
“Cats have always been misunderstood and it’s high time to change misperceptions about these amazing animals and the people who share their homes with them,” says Pia Salk, Ph.D., a psychologist, animal welfare advocate and spokesperson for this Tidy Cats campaign.
“The reason there are millions of people who have multiple cats is because our feline friends enrich our lives and reward us in countless meaningful ways.”
In a poll aimed at people who have more than one cat, the results reveal:
• 96 percent view themselves as being caring and loving.
• 90 percent see themselves as being generous.
• 87 percent see themselves as being well-adjusted and fulfilled.
• 87 percent report that their cats do not prevent them from keeping their home clean and odor-free.

Nearly a quarter of people with multiple cats surveyed admitted that they would like to eliminate the “crazy cat lady” stereotype and prefer terms such as "cat lover” and "animal lover.” According to Dr. Salk, now is their chance to be heard.
Multiple cat households can enter the Tidy Cats Campaign to End Cattiness contest between now and Sept. 11. Cat owners are invited to share their personal stories of how they enjoy more life and less worry at home with their multiple cats. Salk and cat lovers across America will select the winning entry in the national photo/essay contest. The grand prize winner will receive $5,000, a one-year supply of Tidy Cats® Scoop brand cat litter, and the opportunity to be featured in a Tidy Cats Cribs Webisode that will appear on the cat litter brand’s Web site and other social networking sites.
For complete contest rules, visit www.tidycats.com.
Arden Moore, an animal behavior consultant, editor, author and professional speaker, happily shares her home with two cats, two dogs and one overworked vacuum cleaner. Tune in to her Oh Behave! show on Pet Life Radio.com and contact her at arden@ardenmoore.com.

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