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How many felines does it take to make you a crazy cat lady?

By jim Published: April 30, 2009

Notice it's a question that only applies to women – although there are enough men who collect animals, too.

The Toronto documentary Cat Ladies, which explores the link between cats and single, lonely women, premieres tomorrow as part of the Hot Docs festival.

"We wanted to show there's a lot more to the stereotype and the women who are labelled it," says director Christie Callan-Jones.

Callan-Jones was convinced to tackle the subject by associate producer Suzanne Mullett, a 30-something cat owner, who was tired of being labelled by the stereotype. Mullett researched the notion for two years, then approached Callan-Jones to put it on film.

The subjects, all single women over 30, were chosen after a thorough search, not just for the number of felines they had, but also for the intensity of their feelings.

Shot without narration, the four characters talk to the camera about their lives with utter honesty, admitting to loneliness, difficult childhoods and problems dealing with sudden life changes. The result may be unsettling, particularly for viewers who recognize aspects of themselves in the subjects. "A lot of people feel the urban loneliness and the sense of not belonging or acceptance," Callan-Jones says. "Because the characters are so honest about it, it's sort of palpable, you see it. It speaks to a larger, universal theme that we all feel." Read the full story ->

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