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Dear Tabby column for January 22, 2021

Dear Tabby,

I’m a little embarrassed to ask this–I feel like a cat of my age should know this, but I’ve never felt like I could ask anyone. My question: do humans understand our language? I often ask my human for things–a blanket, to move the sunbeams slightly to the left, for tuna in a crystal goblet like that cat on TV–and they respond with “I know!” But they never act upon my requests. I must ask repeatedly! Am I missing something there? Or do they really not understand?

From Perplexed Persian in Peoria

Dear Perplexed,

I don’t consider myself a great linguist–I only took two semesters of French during my Feline Exchange program in high school. However, I’ve spent enough time around humans to know about their strange personalities and priorities. One of the things humans HATE is to be wrong. They fake their way through conversations with all kinds of people–bosses, first dates, Uber drivers. I know that doesn’t necessarily make your situation better, dear Perplexed, so I suggest trying to get your message across in another way. Have you tried peeing in their shoes? 

Keep it meow-velous,


Dear Tabby,

I’m having something of an existential crisis. I know, that’s nothing new in these unprecedented times. Even though I’m barely more than a kitten, I find myself unable to sleep more than 15 or 16 hours a day because I stay awake, worrying: What if I never catch the red dot? I’ve been trying for a while now, and each time I think that I’ve vanquished it for good, it comes back! I’m starting to doubt my prowess as a hunter. Has any cat ever caught the red dot? I’m starting to feel like my attempts are futile. Right now, all I feel like doing is rolling in some catnip and pondering the red dot and if I’ve missed my true calling–musical theatre. Please help!

From Hoping for Help in Harrisburg

Dear Hoping,

If I had a herring for every time I’ve been asked this question, no cat would ever go hungry. Your letter struck me, dear Hoping, as it used to be that this particular crisis only hit cats as they reach their golden years. It seems to be sinking its claws into younger cats recently. Perhaps that speaks to the difference in generations, but that’s not the question you asked me. Hoping, this may come as a surprise to you, but the red dot is not real in the sense your bed, your food, and your humans are. No, the red dot is a SYMBOL, a symbol of persistence, of challenge, and of crazily bouncing off of different surfaces–and maybe even breaking a few things–in pursuit of one’s goal. The real red dot, Hoping, is the journey and what you learn along the way. Continue to pursue the red dot–hone your hunting skills, jump higher than you have before, annoy your human endlessly. The red dot doesn’t matter–your development as a cat does.

Remain paw-sitve,


Dear Tabby,

My human came home the other day REEKING of OTHER CATS. There were at least FIVE different smells on her. She changed out of her clothes immediately when she got home, but it was enough time for me to pick up their scents. She thinks she’s being clever, but I’M ON TO HER. What on earth would cause a human to stray from a wonderful, perfect, loving cat such as me? Am I not enough? Should I consider dying my fur? I’ve been an only cat my whole life, so Tabby, you’re my only help.

From Vexed and Vicious in Verona

Dear Vexed,

Your letter reeks of jealousy, for good reason. Humans do not understand the sensitivities of our noses and the depth of our devotion. Humans claim to understand this one-to-one connection, but, dear Vexed, their cat surrender and abandonment rate speak otherwise. However, before we rake your beloved human through the cat litter, I want to ask you this: are you SURE your human is fraternizing with other cats solely in a social manner? Could it be that your human is one of those kind humans who volunteer to take care of cats who have no humans? I’ve recently visited your area, Vexed, and there’s a lovely adoption center called Angel’s Wish nearby. Perhaps your human spends time with the cats there–cats who do not have their own humans, who long for the pet of a human hand, the comfort of a human’s lap? You love your human, dear Vexed, this is clear, and if your human is using her talents to help other cats, please love her all the more for it. However, if you find she is simply cheating on you–or, heaven forbid, going to bring home another cat–you have my permission to shred the curtains.

Yours in purr-fection,