Michael Showalter on the Internet's favorite felines and being a cat-lady guy

The comedian's new book, Guys Can Be Cat Ladies Too, is all about how dudes can embrace their inner cat ladies.

Michael Showalter

Michael Showalter

There's no doubt that cats are having a moment right now: The adorable furballs have basically conquered the Internet, and their influence in that sphere has spilled over into real life, too. (Look at the hullabaloo when Joe Lhota said he wouldn't have stopped the subway to save two kittens who wandered onto the tracks.) But despite cats' ascencion, the term cat lady is still thrown around as a pejorative, a shorthand to describe someone (usually a woman) as socially awkward and probably unlovable, who will likely live a spinster's existence but for their feline friends.

But perhaps the tides are changing for cat ladies—and not just women who love cats, but for dudes who do, too. Last week, comedian Michael Showalter struck a blow against pernicious cat-person stereotypes with the publication of Guys Can Be Cat Ladies Too (Abrams Image, $15), a short, goofy instruction manual for men who want to embrace a cat-filled life. "I just felt like the world has changed," he explained via e-mail. "Our society is becoming more open to new ideas. The men of America are finally ready to accept some of the cat-related notions that I'm putting forward here."

Showalter is no stranger to cat ownership: The comedian has eight cats, four of whom live with him and his wife in Los Angeles, where he recently relocated to work on the sitcom Super Fun Night. (The other four still live at his Brooklyn home.) "My cats were very willing to participate in all of my experiments, especially when the experiments involved being pet, scratched and/or fed," he says. The result of those experiments is a how-to guide for cat ownership, with instructions for such activities as scratching a cat's belly, interpreting a cat's body language and using your cat as a wingman. (There are pickup lines involving cat puns, and yes, they are wonderful.)

Showalter's goal? "I believe that by loving a cat you can learn how to love yourself; and then by loving yourself you can learn how to love another person; and then by loving another person you can be a better man," he explains. "I have very lofty goals for this illustrated humor book about cats." He'll discuss the book tonight at Barnes & Noble Tribeca, and in advance of the event, we asked him to comment on some of history's (and New York's) favorite felines, including Lil Bub, Grumpy Cat and the subway kittens. And remember: Screw the haters, and embrace your inner cat lady—it'll make you a better person, after all.

  • Morris the Cat

    "A foodie. Very advanced palate. Loved sleeping and eating."

  • Garfield

    "The founding father of funny cats. Very dry sense of humor. Also loved sleeping and eating lasagna."

  • Grumpy Cat

    "Really grumpy. Loves sleeping and knocking things over."

  • Photograph: Alex Strada

    Tiny, the Community Bookstore cat

    "The intellectual. The thinker. The eater. The sleeper."

  • Photograph: Marc A. Hermann/NYC Transit

    August and Arthur, the subway kittens

    "New Yorkers through and through—always on the go."

  • Lil Bub

    "Young at heart. Cute as a button. Kinda weird."

  • Henri, le Chat Noir

    "Very introspective. Very contemplative. Can be aloof at times. Likes sleeping and eating."

Morris the Cat

"A foodie. Very advanced palate. Loved sleeping and eating."

What do you think? Tell us below!

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Editor: Marley Lynch (@marleyasinbob)


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