An essay titled “Cat Person” by Kristen Roupenian has captured the hearts and eyes of the nation and beyond. Published by the New Yorker, the essay contains more than 7,200 words and is accompanied by the audio of Kristen reading the compelling work of fiction. With a cover photo that shows a close-up of a hairy man and a woman preparing to kiss one another, along with the “Cat Person” title of the essay, readers might initially think they are in for a tale about a man who ends up being a shapeshifter that turns into a feline. However, the main character’s shape-shifting is more based on the personality of Robert, an older man that the main character Margot meets one day, after joking about Red Vines candy.
The internal dialogue of Margot as she thinks about her interactions with Robert is what most readers can relate to, as seen in the Twitter Moment dedicated to “Cat Person.” Margot is a 20-year-old college student grappling with the 34-year-old Robert’s behavior in the wake of the duo breaking up. “Cat Person” dances eloquently on the fine line between a woman painting a picture in her mind of the man she wants Robert to be and the reality of who the man really is. Margot’s fear of telling Robert that she changed her mind about their sexual encounter is one that many women are commiserating with, along with her regret at having sex with him.
As reported by Junkee, some men are publishing negative reviews of “Cat Person,” even as many women gush about how well the essay describes their own fears and internal longings and actions. Others are reminding readers on social media that “Cat Person” is a work of fiction, even though oftentimes writers use real-life experiences to include in their works of fiction to make them more relatable and authentic, following the “write what you know” writing advice.
As seen on the Facebook page of The New Yorker in a post about “Cat Person,” a plethora of comments are pouring in about the essay. While some are calling “Cat Person” a cautionary tale about bad kissers, others are deeming the work of art one that is extremely relatable. The final word of the essay is what is being called the most impactful.