Top ten kickass heroines

The future of urban fantasy
Helen Harper

Crazy Cat Lady.

I am a cat lady. In fact, for Christmas, my sister gave me this:


I love it.


The Urban Dictionary has this to say:

 cat lady : a woman that finds too much happiness in her cats. 

(I don’t think it’s possible to find TOO much happiness in cats…)

This often results in the following actions: 

-Dressing up her cats 

(No. They don’t like it.)

-Taking videos and pictures of them 

(Yes. Okay. And I’m going to subject you, kind reader, to them as well.)

-Telling other people stuff about her cats that they do not care about 

(All the time.)

 -Thinking that her cats are really intuitive 

(What do you mean? They are!)

-Wearing clothes with cats on them

(Nope. But I’m working on it.)

-Owning things with cats on them 

(See aforementioned Christmas present.)

-Not being lonely because she has her cats!


Note: A cat lady may smell like cat pee but this is not required.

(It’s a distinct possibility though.)


2014-12-03 18.40.30


Scout has been with me the longest.  I got her from a Malaysian cat shelter.  Whatever her previous life was, it was tough.  She has the scars to prove it.  There’s no other way to describe her other than Scaredy-Cat. She hates the other cats. She runs and hides at any almost sound. In fact, I have to keep her separate from the other two because they make her so miserable. Believe it or not, I do a twenty-four house swap. I’m still working on integrating them all but Scout is so far unimpressed at my efforts. It doesn’t matter how many Jackson Galaxy videos I watch, how many cat pheromone sprays I buy, or what I do. But she also likes playing tag with me round the sofa. If she goes outside, she always miaows when she returns as if to say ‘Hey! I’m back! Did ya miss me?’

2014-12-13 16.28.02

Then there’s Mavis. She was a stray at the school where I used to work. She’s extraordinarily friendly and, when she showed up, she was heavily pregnant so I can only surmise she was dumped by a previous family. Unfortunately there are far too many stray animals like that in this part of the world. It’s difficult to imagine for someone from the UK where there are virtually none. You could spend your entire life rescuing cats and dogs from the city here and still not even make a dent in the population. There are charitable organisations and many individuals that try very hard though. Luckily, I found homes for all her kittens but it’s much harder to do the same for an adult cat. I’d have left her where she was because of Scout’s inability to get on with other felines and the fact that you really can’t save them all (the local shelters are all kill shelters) but she was hit by a car and broke her hip so I felt compelled to take her in. She might have planned it that way… She recovered perfectly other than a strange ring of bald skin on her side. She’s now also unbelievably fat.

There’s also Lara Croft, the adventurer. Lara showed up one day about a year ago with a tiny kitten in tow. They were both in my neighbour’s garden so I brought them in. Despite her friendly gratitude for the kibble, she didn’t want to stay. I worked out pretty quickly that it had to be because she had other kittens hiding somewhere. I followed her to an abandoned house not too far away (yes, at around midnight I tracked a cat down my street with the odd car passing by and the occupants staring at me as if I was nuts) but I couldn’t get in because it was locked up. When I went back the day after, she’d gone. I didn’t see her again until six months later when she appeared again with two more brand new kittens. I resisted keeping her for a very long time (I had enough problems between Mavis and Scout getting along as it was) but she’d changed her mind about staying and wasn’t going to let me say no. Not long after I eventually relented and let her stay full time, she broke her leg and her tail one day when I was out. I have NO idea how it happened. How can a cat live on the streets on her own for months (maybe years) and then have a major accident about three weeks after she finds herself a home? My guilt was extraordinary. The vet’s convinced it wasn’t a car. She is, as I said, an adventurer. Her tail had to be amputated but it doesn’t affect her in any way. Other than to shamelessly get even more attention from visitors and passersby.


Finally, there is Black Cat. Black Cat is sneaky. He’s also entirely feral. He pops by twice a day (he knows when feeding time is for the other three, of course). After two years of knowing him, I am now permitted to stand two feet away from him. He’ll still hiss though, especially when I’m trying to give him food. He shows his gratitude by spraying everywhere. Thanks, Black Cat.  If you look closely enough, you can spot him waiting for his moment in the pic above.

My writing is frequently interrupted by the flow of squirrels who come into the house to nab the cat food and then the inevitable chase that follows. None of the cats ever catch the squirrels. It might actually just be one squirrel. I only ever see one at a time. He drops by often enough though. I have also discovered just this week though that if I leave the house and go for a walk instead of getting into the car, Lara and Mavis will come along with me. I’m not sure why. Curiosity? The possibility of more food? The worry that I’ll abandon them? Or maybe they want to protect me from the dangers of the outside world? It’s probably because they’re concerned I’ll pick up yet another cat while I’m out. It’s been known to happen…



By the way, the video below is dull. I get that it’s dull. But it’s Mavis and Lara coming for a walk! I’m a cat lady – I’m hitting at least three, possibly four, of Urban Dictionary’s requirements with this poorly shot clip!



  • Kate • 20th March 2017 at 12:16 pm

    G’day Cat Lady, we have also had 2 cats and once 3 it kept the paddock full of bush mice from coming inside. 2 of my original cats would walk down the paddocks with me to the dam to run the pump. One was quite small went by the name of Nyssa, she was small dainty like a fairy that came for Christmas and that is where her name came from. But she cleared out all the rabbits (some were bigger than she was), never had a rabbit until she retired (rabbits are BAD in OZ) she also laid low our tiger snake population by taken out a nest of baby ones over a couple of days (left the headless bodies for us to enjoy!) but the local Aussie Magpies had her beat. After one walk we realised she was missing, she was baled up in the hollow of a burnt out tree with a Magpie doing a guard job walking across in front of her. Only rescued when we heard her call. Not once but several times did this happen. She stayed with us for 21 years. Still miss her all these years later.

    • Helen Harper
      Helen Harper • 20th March 2017 at 6:40 pm

      21 years! That’s impressive for a cat – thank you so much for sharing the story of Nyssa. She sounds like she was lovely (and I’ve seen Rabbit-Proof Fence – I get the Oz bunny problems 😉 ).

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