03/18/2010 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Who's Really Nuts, 20/20 or the 'Crazy Cat Ladies'?

The ABC show 20/20 recently treated its viewers to an all-out condescending pity-party for the women it calls 'crazy cat ladies.' The segment hosted by Elizabeth Vargas, with an accompanying article online, was so over-the-top that it was almost a parody of itself.

The article begins this way:

"Single. Female. Three cats.

Red flag! For most people, the combo invites the label Cat Lady, says Christie Callan-Jones, a filmmaker."

Vargas interviewed the filmmaker about "Cat Ladies," her documentary of four women with cats. Here are some of the quotes you will hear in the 20/20 piece, or the preview of it, and I swear I'm not making up any of them:

• "shadowy lives of cat ladies"
• "shadowy existence consumed by an uncontrollable connection to cats"
• These women "struggle with alienation, loss, and loneliness"
• She (one of the cat ladies) "feels like society has thrown her away"
• She (another cat lady) is "protecting herself with a wall of cats"
• "I'm starting to fall apart"
• The cats "aren't making it any easier for her to find a man."

Fortunately, the viewers were having none of it. The 175 comments posted (so far) to the online story are overwhelmingly excoriating. They take on Vargas, 20/20, and the filmmaker for the stereotyping of cat lovers, the disregard of the number of strays and the good some of these women were trying to do by caring for them, and much more.

I wrote previously about the bogus claim that singles who love their pets are just "compensating" for not having a spouse. That post was called, "What"s with the cat, and other questions about singles and their pets."

Here I'll underscore just one big complaint about the 20/20 segment, the online story, and what I could tell about the documentary from these sources: They all create a gratuitous link between being single and being a crazy cat lady. All four of the women (continue reading here).

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