I've always loved that bumper sticker "One cat shy of crazy cat lady."
It just seemed to suit me and I liked the fact it poked fun at those who think having more cats then you could carry at one time was a sign of latent lunacy.
So imagine my delight when first-time author Diane Lovejoy decided to tell her story of a life with cats in "Cat Lady Chronicles."
The book, published last year, combines her love and knowledge of art with her lifelong attraction to the graceful, if imperious and self-absorbed, domestic feline.
From the cover image by a Japanese artist of a cat prowling by a tomato plant, to the back cover snapshot of Diane as a toddler with her father admiring a cat in Jackson Square in her native New Orleans, is filled with beautiful imagery and bright, witty prose.
For Lovejoy, the publications director at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, her ascent into full cat lady began with the rescue of orphaned kittens outside her home in Houston some years ago. What began as a single cat household suddenly grew exponentially when stray cats began appearing around he house.
She and her husband Michael, face the trials of trapping stray cats, introducing new members to a colony, feline health issues and the recognition that - with their guest apartment turned into a cattery - at some point some cats would have to be adopted out
Lovejoy writes that she did not set out "with a charter in hand emboldened to rescue and adopt so many kittens," like many of us know, it just seems to turn out that way (I write surrounded by cats, one of whom is mouth-marking my computer, and our canine interloper).
The book also features images of works of cat-related art in a variety of mediums, most by famous artists - Homer, Chagall, Klee - of felines and helpful cat tips like "building vertical" inside your home with cat trees or platforms to keep your hunter happy and growing cat grass to satisfy their urge to chew greenery.
As Lovejoy writes, 'Isn't there a little bit of the Cat Lady in all of us?' Sadly not everyone. If there was we'd see far fewer cats being euthanized in shelters across the country every day.
But for those fortunate enough to share their space with a cat (or two or more) Lovejoy reminds of the joy and the love that they bring to our lives and the understanding that we have to earn it.
The book would make an excellent holiday gift for the cat lady or gentleman in your life and is available on Amazon for $16.48.