bella thorne's 19 cats

In Defense of Bella Thorne and Her 19 Cats

From one cat mom to another, I understand Bella Thorne. Photo: Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images

In 2014, I, Dee Lockett, rescued two kittens from the wilderness and officially assumed the title of Cat Mom. And as any human who has entered into cat parenthood can attest, the urge — no, obligation — to multiply your furry progeny as fast as they can breed is strong. For a time I lived with four cats and felt my purpose fulfilled. Which is why when Vulture happened upon the news today that Bella Thorne, former Disney star now internet person, is the proud cat mom to 19 cats, I did not flinch. (Yes: 19. Nineteen. One. Nine.) While the rest of my colleagues gasped, gawked, and guffawed, I felt a calmness wash over me. They wanted the authorities called; I pleaded for her love not to be policed. They judged; I accepted. They had many questions; I had the only answer.

Earlier this week, I wrote about French conceptual artist Sophie Calle, who adored her cat Souris so much that, after he died in 2014, she resolved to commit the rest of her life (at least so far) to the memory of her dead cat the only way she knows how: Briefly, she faked being pregnant with Souris so she could feel as though she had birthed and nurtured him with her own body the way she had with all other means. Now, she’s commissioned an entire album dedicated to Souris featuring contributions from Bono, Pharrell, the National, and plenty other musicians who felt the power of her love for her cat companion. Bella Thorne is no different.

Some might accuse her of negligence — and in all fairness, I do not advocate for not spaying or neutering your animals as she has, which is how she spiraled from two cats to 19 in less than a year — but who are we to judge a mother’s love? (She’s at least built them a castle for their luxe accommodations.) Some hearts are just too big; some passions too great. If the state of Arkansas can’t keep Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar from procreating, California is no match for Bella “St. Francis of Assisi” Thorne and her feline dynasty. As we speak, Thorne is raising generations of pussies for the eventual cat takeover and, quite frankly, that’s the world I’m prepared to settle in. Anyway, here’s a photo of my cats when they were kitties. Now, really, try to tell me you wouldn’t clone them 17 more times.

In Defense of Bella Thorne’s 19 Cats