Pussies Galore!

Kansas’s New Cat Law and the Craziest Crazy Cat Lady Stories

A Kansas town just limited the number of cats allowed in a home. Are they onto something? By Kevin Fallon.

Rebecca Handler/Getty

The start of the new year ushered in a spate of monumental new legislation. In Maryland, same-sex marriage is legal for the first time. Private insurers in Alaska will be forced to cover autism services for kids and young adults. Californians can no longer demand access to employees’ Facebook passwords in order to monitor their extracurricular activities. And in Wellington, Kan., population 8,057, it will henceforth be illegal for a household to contain more than four cats.

Yes, Kansas Is Banning Crazy Cat Ladies.

The new law has bloggers purring in amusement, but a survey of recent animal-hoarding horror stories from around the globe reveals that Wellington may be onto something.

There Was an Old Lady Who Ate a Cat Stew

“You’re so cute, I could just eat you up” takes on a whole new meaning. An 81-year-old Arizona woman named Lucienne Touboul was arrested in May on charges of animal neglect and cruelty after police were tipped off that she was hoarding 64 cats in her home. It wasn’t the first time Touboul encountered legal trouble. She had an outstanding warrant from a 2010 animal-cruelty case, in which deputies discovered nine frozen cats in her icebox—which she told police she used for cooking a stew. “In 50 years of law enforcement,” said Sheriff Joe Arpaio, “I’ve never heard of a case quite like this where an animal lover presumably turns her much-loved pets into stew.”

“It’s Not Like Collecting Stamps…”

Indeed, it is certainly “not like collecting stamps,” as Nina Kostsovo points out. Kostsovo lives in Siberia in her two-bedroom apartment with 130 cats. “I feel sorry for one, then another comes along, then a third, and on it goes,” Kostsovo says, explaining how, since taking in her first cat more than 20 years ago, she now has enough felines to mount five productions of Cats. With barely enough room to walk amid the swarm of cats teeming on the floor, at least Kostsovo has taken one key precaution: every male cat in her charge has been castrated, so that there’s no procreation.

SWF Looking for Fun, Companionship, Lots of Cats

Fellas, line up. She’s blonde, gorgeous, has a MBA from Villanova…and loves cats. In her eHarmony online dating video bio, Debbie loves cats so much that the mere mention of the creatures brings tears to her eyes. “I love every kind of cat,” she sobs. “I just really love cats, and I just want to hug all of them. But I can’t because that’s crazy.” Debbie is self-aware. Of course, no man should be at a loss for what to bring Debbie as a gift on their first date. A cat! “I want them in a basket. And I want them with bow ties. And I want them to be on rainbows and in my bed.”

Cat Ladies May Be More Likely to Attempt Suicide

A jarring study that came out of Denmark this past July linked a parasite found in cat feces to personality changes, mental illness, and increased risk of suicide in women who had given birth. The bug, known as T. gondii, can cause an infection called toxoplasmosis. Women afflicted by it are one-and-a-half times more likely to try to commit suicide, the researchers said. Thankfully, the study’s author acknowledged that the “vast majority” of people wouldn’t even know they were infected, and suffer “very subtle” effects.

I’ll Have What Kitty’s Having

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Not getting enough of a cat fix with your dozens of beloveds at home? Then thank Garfield for the latest trend: the cat café. Already a huge hit in China, Taiwan, and Japan (Tokyo alone has more than 100 of them), cat cafés are the Cat Lady’s dream—an establishment where one can purchase the standard sandwich, coffee, or tea, only with the added companionship of dozens of cats milling around while you eat. Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium hopes to bring the joys of cat-side dining to Britain, and is launching an Indiegogo.com crowd-funding campaign to raise money for the endeavor. The mission, according to the site: “It’s about coming in from the cold to a comfortable wingback chair, a hot cup of tea, a book, and a cat.”

The Cat Lady Queen

Bow down, Cat Ladies-in-Waiting. Ruth Knueven, Dear Leader of the Cat Ladies, was deemed unfit to own pets back in 2005 when the then-82-year-old was discovered housing 488 cats in her Virginia home. Meow.