Allia Zobel Nolan&Nicole Hollander/used with permission
Source: Allia Zobel Nolan&Nicole Hollander/used with permission

I grew up with a cat, I have three cats now and I am a cat fan. I adore my creatures, find them amusing, soothing and, on occasion, inspiring.

Yes, they inspire me. They can amuse themselves for hours with a piece of paper and then take a five-hour nap before searching for food--that's pretty much become my ambition in life.

My pets help my mental health.

There are days--not typical days, but every-once-and-a-while days--when I can't face an encounter with even the best of my friends because I'm exhausted, or too anxious for a long talk, or too upset about some mishap to accept the solace of their company.

But the cats will be welcome to sit on my lap, put their paws on my shoulder and head-butt me until I stop frowning and grizzling and start smiling despite myself.

I have friends whose dogs have similar roles in their lives. There are a couple of bird-lovers who swear that their Tweeties are as prescient as they are precious and one friend with a ferret who believes her furry boy offers her a deeper emotional connection than her current Homo Sapien partner. (She also says the ferret is cleaner.)

Pets are a combination of court jesters and strict Freudian therapists: they can make you feel better about the world while never saying a word.

So while I am NOT a "crazy cat lady" (question: Why is there not a "crazy cat gentleman"?) I am, I'll admit, a woman who loves cats.

But is it possible to love cats too much?

Humorist Allia Zobel Nolan and cartoonist Nicole Hollander have addressed this very issue in their newly published book, "Women Who STILL Love Cats too Much." Nicole Hollander, perhaps best known for her brilliant, creative and insurgent "Sylvia" cartoon strip, provides the images and captions while Allia Nobel, who also collaborated with Hollander on the original version of the book, provides newly-revised and updated text.

The book by Nolan and Hollander poses the eternal questions: "When is enough enough? (Never!) And is enough enough? (No way!)."

When it comes to loving your pets, it's difficult to know when to stop because they claw their way into your heart--as well as into your stockings' drawer--while giving you The Look That Melts Any Possible Longterm Disapproval.

If you..."Feel rejected when your cat sits on the floor instead of the pillows you just fluffed" this book is for  you...

If you..."Cut the handles off visitors' pocket books because you're afraid your cat might get his neck caught in them" this book is for you...

If you..."During intimate moments you rub your boyfriend under the chin and say 'Nice Kitty'" this book is for you...

The fact that I'd like to read this charming small volume aloud to my cats might be a sign that I love them too much, but I'm not going to worry about it.

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