Haven’t you ever wondered how those strange, reclusive old women, living with too many cats in decrepit homes, came to be? I glimpsed the beginning of that end in myself on one emotionally dark day when I was feeling barely tethered to the world. Hence, this unashamedly vain blog.

On that day, I thought I’d start a travelogue into that peculiar and particular form of reclusive madness. Luckily days like that don’t go on so long that one can’t gain a saner perspective, but the notion still intrigues. How do those madwomen come to be?

I’ve recently turned 47, and I believe that I’ve entered perimenopause. I live in a city to which I moved only a few years ago, leaving behind 22 years of history. So, old friends are far away. My family is small, with only an elderly mother and distant brother as family. Please don’t think this is grim. I’m quite content.

I’m happily single and comfortable with my own company. I have a vibrant business and love my work. I volunteer for a wonderful organization that keeps me emotionally connected to my community. I have neighborhood friends, and many fine acquaintances in this city. I have an astonishing amount of freedom to do as I please, when I please. This freedom is edged: there are few claims on me, and those claims are the things that keeps tethered to life, community, fellowship.

When one’s tethers are mostly loosed, which ones remain may say who we’ll be if live long enough to be elderly. Perhaps only a few slight ones will hold fast. Perhaps cats, which requiring little more care than feeding.

Two cats aren’t, yet, too many. Are they?



  1. Sacha said

    What a beautifully honest blog entry, Nancy. I’m in awe. And in my opinion, two cats is the minimum.

  2. Nancy said

    Sacha- Good point! Two cats IS the minimum. 😉

  3. Julie Pollock said

    Our animals are our tethers, aren’t they? For me, it’s my dogs. And I have heard from many a person over the years who felt like giving up but could only think about what might happen to their dogs or cats if they weren’t around. Without our care, they really are lost. So, yeah, two cats IS minimum…although I have always said, without this context of your post, that three cats are over the legal limit (i.e., slightly insane). Hmmm, must rethink that. Julie

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