Marc Maron interview: “Emotionally, a cat is a pretty good fill-in for a woman”

Podcast giant, IFC star and OG cat dude Marc Maron attempts to explain his feline fixation

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Photograph: Courtesy Robyn Von Swank/IFC


Cat men. It’s a whole thing, dude. Just ask Marc Maron, who, when he’s not starring in his own IFC show, Maron (now in its second season) and working on his popular podcast WTF, is loving looking after two former strays. We asked the venerable comedian about how he became so pussy obsessed.

You call your home in L.A. the Cat Ranch. Just how many cats do you have at your house?

Two: Monkey and LaFonda. And there’s a feral cat I feed outside called Deaf Black Cat.

I can’t possibly picture what that last cat is like.
[Laughs] Yeah, it’s a very straightforward name.

Tell me about the cats you had in your Astoria apartment.
I went back to New York to work on the radio [Air America’s The Marc Maron Show] and ended up trapping four feral cats in a shoebox and bringing them into my apartment—not knowing what that really meant, that “feral” thing. Then I had all these cats in my apartment. I couldn’t get out, and they were all wild. It was a crazy time. I had to get them fixed, and I was talking about them on the radio, and cat ladies were coming over, inoculating cats in my apartment.

That sounds…insane. 
They destroyed my whole house.

How have your cats adapted to Los Angeles?
Monkey and LaFonda have a pretty good life out here. They’re still wild, they’re still kind of skittish. They don’t relax, my cats. They’re very jumpy.

Sounds a bit like you.
Yeah, I’m not innately a cat person. I’m not the gentle giant. I think I’m a little nuts and a little edgy. My cats are definitely that way too.

How much do you dote on them?
I actually went through this period where I was making my own cat food. I was buying all this organic food, and then I started making cat food. I got very obsessed with the holistic approach in cat ownership, but that lasted only, like, a month or two before I thought, What the fuck am I doing? I’m making my own cat food!?!

Why do cats fascinate you so much?
I find them interesting. They’re sort of erratic, they don’t listen, and there are times I’m not sure they even care about me or need me at all. I get a feeling that the relationship I have with them is sort of earned. It’s always a weird victory if I can get them to be pleasant or receive affection.

What makes them perfect pets for New Yorkers?
Cats are pretty practical pets—and there’s a real emotional component, unlike a snake or a rodent. They’re also lower-maintenance than a dog. I mean, a dog in the city is a nightmare. They’re so needy. With cats, you just put the box out. And I think the emotional component of the relationship with a cat is a little more sophisticated than with a dog.

Any theories on why so many single New York guys are becoming cat owners? 
Emotionally, a cat is a pretty good fill-in for a woman, ’cause you really don’t know what’s gonna happen and they can sort of turn on you at any moment. You’re never really sure what the hell they’re thinking or whether they really like you. Maybe these young guys are just preparing themselves for adult relationships.

People send you a lot of fan art for the WTF podcast. What’s the craziest cat-themed gift you’ve received?
[Roots around in his garage] Let’s see…home-knitted or home-crocheted cat toys. Those are cool.  A guy actually made a hand-carved stamp, the kind you put on an ink pad. It’s of a cat standing at a microphone. Someone also painted a weird mystical cat who’s sitting in a lotus flower in a sort of meditative yoga position.

Trippy. Do people come up to you after stand-up shows with cat questions?
People think I’m some sort of a cat-rescue expert or mistakenly think I spend my free time trapping wild cats—which I have done…but it’s not my life’s work.

Have your cats appeared on Maron?
No, my cats are unmanageable. This season there are more cats, because we got some very good handlers. But they’re not my cats, no fucking way. It seems like it’s easier to train a lion than a house cat.

Maron airs Thursdays at 10pm on IFC. New episodes of WTF with Marc Maron are available every Monday and Thursday at wtfpod.com.


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