Death of a Kitten Lady & National Cat Lady Day News
Death of a Kitten Lady & New Meaning For National Cat Lady Day by Layla Morgan Wilde. Published exclusively at CatWisdom101.com
The direction of this National Cat Lady Day post shifted when I heard about the tragic death of Ashley Morrison, known on social media as @theyoungestoldcatlady. This post is dedicated to her memory. Scroll down for all the content. It’s my intention end on a positive note.
Cat ladies involved in animal rescue and foster care, social media can expose them to a constant stream of heartbreaking stories and images, as well as criticism and negative comments from others in the community. This can lead to compassion fatigue, burnout, depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
The suicide of Ashley Morrison, at age 31, is a tragic reminder of the toll that social media and the stresses of animal rescue and fostering can take on a person’s mental health. She followed in the footsteps of social media darling, Hannah Shaw AKA Kitten Lady, a fellow kitten foster advocate. It’s heartening to see famous cat ladies inspire others to become cat advocates but I believe there needs to be a caveat. You can only to so much alone.
Cat ladies who are social media stars, unlike solo advocates with smaller social media accounts, don’t work alone. They have resources from a supportive team: agents, managers, assistants and finances to help with self-care, vacations, comfortable homes etc. There is a relentless push to grow bigger, to expand your brand.
While we don’t know all the factors that led to Ashley’s death, it is clear that she was a passionate and dedicated animal lover who gave her time and energy to caring for cats and kittens in need. Her death is a loss not only for the animal rescue community, but for everyone who knew and loved her.
As we mourn Ashley’s passing, it is important to reflect on the toll that social media and the stresses of animal rescue and fostering can take on our mental health. It is important to recognize the signs of burnout and compassion fatigue, and to seek help and support when we need it. This includes taking breaks from social media, practicing self-care, and reaching out to mental health professionals or support groups.
As my readers know, I have a long history of cat rescue going back to the late ’90s and know only too well the pitfalls of rescue work. It’s why I no longer do hands-on TNR or volunteer at shelters. I’m not as active on social media and no longer try to do it all. My mental health was non-negotiable. but I also had the perspective of age and experience to know when to quit or take breaks.
We need to a community that supports each other to create a culture of compassion, empathy, and support in the animal rescue and fostering community. This includes advocating for better mental health resources and support for those in the animal rescue community, as well as promoting self-care and needed breaks.
It is heartbreaking to think that such a caring and compassionate person could be struggling with personal challenges. Through her work as a foster parent, she provided countless cats and kittens with the love and care they needed to thrive. Ashley not only gave them a safe place to live, but also helped prepare them for adoption and a loving forever home. Her selflessness and dedication to animal welfare will always be remembered and appreciated.
Let us honor her memory by working towards a more compassionate and supportive animal rescue community, and by taking care of our own mental and emotional well-being. May her legacy of kindness and compassion for cats and kittens inspire us all to do more to help animals in need, and to take care of our own mental and emotional well-being as well. Kindness costs nothing and can make all the difference.
Rest in peace, dear cat lady, Ashley. You will be missed.
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health or experiencing suicidal thoughts, it is important to seek help and support. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides free, confidential support 24/7 at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). You can also reach out to a healthcare provider, mental health professional, or crisis hotline in your area.
Together, we can work towards a society that prioritizes mental health and suicide prevention, and ensures that everyone has access to the help and support they need.
Cats have been a part of women’s lives for centuries. From the Egyptian goddess Bastet to the suffragettes who used cats as a symbol of their movement, cats have been an important part of women’s history. Cat ladies have often been portrayed as eccentric or crazy, as if their love for cats somehow makes them less respectable or less valuable as individuals. But this stereotype is just another form of gender discrimination, a way to dismiss and belittle women who choose to live their lives outside of traditional gender roles. The stereotype of the crazy cat lady persists. Sorry, but I don’t think the crazy cat lady jokes and memes help.
The origin of the crazy cat lady dates back the hag archetype or witch. I’ve never fully understood the old cat lady trope since I grew up with a glamorous cat mom, and being a witch was a good thing.
I’d like to think we are making progress. Cat ladies of all ages are getting cooler. Here are I am, an old cat lady with a younger and way more famous one. There is nothing remotely crazy cat lady about us. Well, maybe my hat but who cares?
To drive the point home, I had fun making a couple video collages in both modern and vintage styles. If you like this kind of thing, follow me on PINTEREST
As Joyce Carol Oates wrote, “Women who once identified as ‘cat ladies’ are now liberated to be anything they want to be – and that includes loving cats.” In other words, cats are a symbol of the strength and independence of women, a reminder that women are complex and multifaceted beings who cannot be defined by simple stereotypes or societal expectations.
As feminist writer and activist Rebecca Solnit once said, “The endless effort to be beautiful, the complete rejection of the ugly or plain, the mocking of the uncool or unfashionable, is a kind of fascism against the body… But cats are indifferent to these judgments. They accept us as we are.”
Cats offer a kind of liberation from the societal pressures that women face to be perfect, to be beautiful, to be cool or fashionable. They accept us for who we are, flaws and all, and provide us with a sense of comfort and companionship that is unrivaled. It’s one of the many reasons we love cats, right?
Cat Lady Day for me, is a celebration of the strong and independent women who have cared for and loved cats throughout history. At the same time, we are also celebrating the ongoing struggle for women’s rights and equality. Feminism is not just about fighting for women’s rights, but about challenging the very structures of power and privilege that have perpetuated gender discrimination and inequality for centuries. It’s up to us to challenge the stereotypes and discrimination that still exist, and continue to fight for a world in which ALL women are truly free and equal.
Being strong means at least for me, not embarrassed to wear cat ears or cat lady t-shirts. When anyone shows up at my front door, it’s clear a cat lady lives here.
And so, on April 19th, let’s celebrate Cat Ladies Day with pride and joy, and as a way to celebrate the power and strength of women who refuse to be confined by societal expectations.
As proud cat lady Joyce Carol Oates once wrote,
We are all cat ladies at heart – independent, fierce, and unapologetically ourselves”.
Famous and not so famous cat ladies, have used their platforms and resources to make a positive impact on the lives of cats and to raise awareness about the importance of animal welfare. I’d like to also shine the light on the unsung heroes, your neighborhood cat ladies who rescue, TNR, volunteer at shelters or simply embody what it means to be a compassionate cat person. I know some amazing cat ladies who aren’t even on social media. You know who you are and I honor you.
Their dedication and compassion serve as an inspiration to us all, and remind us of the importance of treating all animals with kindness and respect.
FYI April is Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Month
Some ways to celebrate Cat Lady Day
- Spend quality time with your own cats or visit a local animal shelter and spend time with cats who are looking for their forever homes.
- Watch cat-themed movies or TV shows. I really enjoyed “Cat People”, “Inside the Mind of a Cat” “The Hidden Lives of Pets”on Netflix but I was obsessed with a charming, down-to-earth Irish series called The Cat Hospital. It ran for two seasons and is available on Amazon prime or Acorn. All the Hollywood or American vet shows pale by comparison.
- Create cat-themed art, such as drawing or painting pictures of your own cats or cats you admire. Can’t draw? Take photos and digitally edit them.
- Have a cat-themed party with friends who share your love of cats, complete with cat-themed snacks and decorations. Try a toy or kitty product swap. Or reach out and simply call a cat lady friend.
- Donate $ to a cat rescue or items from a shelter wish list in honor of Cat Lady Day.
I’ve curated my favorite poems ( April is National Poetry Month) for those cat ladies devoted to animal rescue, cat and kitten fostering, TNR, and adoption advocacy.
The Cat Lady
by Trina Gupta
She’s the cat lady, with a heart so kind,
Rescuing strays, lost and left behind.
She tends to their needs, with love and care,
Helping them heal, and find a new lair.
She’s the cat lady, who volunteers her time,
At shelters and rescues, with passion divine.
She feeds, and plays, and cuddles with glee,
Making the cats feel happy and free.
She’s the cat lady, who fosters and homes,
The needy, the sick, the ones who roam.
She nurtures their spirits, and helps them heal,
Till they’re ready to find a home that’s real.
The Feline Volunteer
by Marie P.
She walks into the shelter,with a smile so bright,
A feline volunteer, who never leaves a cat’s sight.
She cleans and feeds, and plays with glee,
Making sure the cats are happy and free.
She cuddles and pets,and talks to them sweet,
A friend to every feline she happens to meet.
She knows their stories, their quirks, and their dreams,
And helps them find a home, where love beams.
She’s a feline volunteer, with a heart so true,
A champion for the cats, and their rescue.
Her dedication and love, will never fade away,
For she knows that every cat deserves a happy day.
by Erica Jong
She gathered up the strays,
The hungry, homeless cats.
She fed them, cared for them,
And loved them where they sat.
She rescued them from danger,
From the cold and from the rain.
She gave them hope and shelter,
And eased their every pain.
But now she’s gone, and though we mourn,
Her legacy remains. For every life she saved,
Her memory will sustain.
The Cat Lady’s Home
by Lisa Martin
In the cat lady’s home, the felines rule,
With love and comfort, as a natural tool.
They roam and play, and cuddle and purr,
In a haven so safe, they never have to stir.
The cat lady fosters, the little ones in need,
Giving them warmth, and care, and a chance to feed.
She nurses them back to health, with gentle ease,
Till they’re ready to find a home, where love flows with breeze.
In the cat lady’s home, there’s joy and peace,
A sanctuary for the felines, and their needs to increase.
For the cat lady knows, that every cat deserves a chance,
To feel loved, and happy, and to dance.
So here’s to the cat lady, on this special day,
For the love and dedication, she brings to the fray.
May her kindness and spirit, never cease to glow,
For the felines she rescues, and helps to grow.
Happy National Cat Lady Day!
I’d love to hear in the comments about what being a cat lady means to you and anything else on your mind.
It must have been difficult to write “Death of a Kitten Lady. ” Social media isn’t always what it should be like. I’m sorry for the loss of Ashley. My husband and I love our cats. We almost always have pregnant mom cats, or moms with kittens coming to us from our local animal shelter. We keep them until the kittens are old enough to be adopted. I enjoy your Cat Wisdom.
Cat and Dog Chat With Caren
Layla you obviously poured your heart and soul into this incredibly thought out and executed post. Your love of all things cats (and deep appreciation/understanding) of those who have given their lives to them (sadly, literally), is evident. Thank you for this most insightful, thoughtful, caring and wisdom-filled post.
I had read about her passing but I didn’t know it was suicide. It really is heartbreaking to think that someone who got such joy out of helping kitties just couldn’t face another day. It’s a tough business. When I retired from my work life I also gave up cat rescue, just too much heartbreak. Rest In Peace beautiful lady, you made a difference in the world the short time you were here.
Yup, it’s a tough business indeed. I’ve mentored many cat ladies but I’d like see more older cat ladies helping the younger ones.
A thoughtful post, Layla. I was stunned and saddened by the loss of Ashley. I know social media can be a difficult place to weather, especially on top of the challenges of animal rescue. The world certainly needs to focus on compassion, and ditch all stereotypes. I also think courses need to be taught in school in online conflicts, how they happen, and how to cope with them.
Thanks Leah. That’s a great idea about teaching.
Many tears reading your tribute to Ashley. And thank you for this beatutiful Cat Lady tribute. Wonderful visuals and poems too.
Nancy, many thanks. It was a tough post to write.
The whole idea that one persona is crazy because of caring for another sentient being is absurd. As you say, another form of discrimination and belittlement of the amazing trait of compassion. If more people practised that and were as a result, more Buddhist, the world and all beings would be so much better off. And the likes of the hugely kind Ashley would not have been wasted.
May her rebirth be as kind as she was to those who passed through her caring home and hands.
Thank you kindly! May her memory be a blessing.