Dear Tabby is written by Tabs the Cat, commonly regarded as “the world’s first plus-size kitty supermodel.” Founded in mid 2012, it has quickly become the most widely syndicated cat advice column on earth — known for its fresh, feline perspective on lifestyle, fashion and style issues affecting cats and humans.
Home wrecker or house cat?
DEAR TABBY: My assistant has been spending a lot of time with the cat next door…
I don’t know if I should be concerned, but I do tend to worry. A lot. About everything. See, I’m a scaredy cat, and being nervous is in my nature.
Her name is Patches — the cat, not my assistant — and we’re actually all close friends. I’ve always assumed that Patches lives in one of the houses in our neighborhood, but I’ve never met her assistant. In fact, I don’t even know if she has one. Patches spends most of her time hiking and exploring the great outdoors.
Sometimes when my assistant — let’s call her Jane — and I go out for a walk, we run into Patches, and everything seems fine. I feel like we’re all friends, but then Jane spends a good 10 minutes petting Patches and scratching behind her ears.
Right in front of me!
This last time, Jane even gave Patches some treats from her pocket! The same treats Jane always gives to me!
I just don’t know what to do. Jane and I have been together for more than six years, and she’s so much more than an employee to me. We’re also best friends.
What do you think, Tabby? I know that you and your assistant (Karen, right?) have also been together for a long time. Should I be concerned, or am I just being a scaredy cat?
— Not Loving My Neighbor
DEAR NOT LOVING: I feel your pain. The bond between a feline and his/her pet assistant is sacred, and while I think you should be a little concerned, it’s probably too early to bare your claws.
Yes, your assistant’s actions are highly suspicious, but there may be other things going on. Jane may not be doing anything wrong. Sometimes cats like Patches who spend a lot of time on their own get very lonely. Maybe she’s just looking for a little love and attention. I’ve known many outdoor kitties like that.
Until you have all the facts, it’s too early to assume that your assistant is looking for a new job. Keep your eyes and ears open, and if Patches comes home with your assistant one of these days, that’s your cue to overreact.
Three problems with boundaries
DEAR TABBY: I pet assist for three very lovely Siamese kitties, and I love my job. I love working for all three of them, but they have no respect for boundaries. I can’t even take a lunch break without one or more of them strolling into my office unannounced.
I’m not sure what to do…
I could be sitting there at my desk eating a sandwich — so obviously I’m taking a break — but they act totally unaware. They hop up on the desk, walk all over my sandwich and even have the nerve to purr.
Tabby, I take my job very seriously, but by the same token, I also need my breaks. Am I being unreasonable to expect a little courtesy? Isn’t their behavior rude?
— Working Hard for the Money
DEAR WORKING HARD: You must be an amazing pet assistant because it sounds like your three kitty employers really, really love spending time with you.
My personal philosophy? Humans deserve breaks and boundaries, too. But not all felines feel the same way.
I think you need to have a conversation with your employers. Be firm with them, but don’t yell. If you yell, they’ll just run away. Tell them that you love assisting them but need a break during the day. An hour of alone time at lunch shouldn’t be too much to ask.
Single Maine Coon (husky) seeks kind companion
DEAR TABBY: I’m a single 3-year-old Maine Coon cat looking for a personal assistant of his own. I’m also 25 pounds, but a lot of that is fur.
Many would-be assistants make fun of my size, but I’m used to it now, so I just meow and purr to put other pets and people at ease. I wouldn’t mind so much, but you see, I also live at a shelter, and the humans always seem to gravitate toward the kittens in the cubicle next door.
I know that my size intimidates smaller humans. Either that, or they’re intimidated by my wealth, as I’ve made some very lucrative investments on the international gravy trading market.
Tabby, all I want is someone to pet me and take me home. Do you think I’ll ever find my own pet assistant? Someday? Maybe?
— Lonely in Los Angeles
DEAR LONELY: Yes, Lonely. Absolutely, I do.
Have you ever heard of Husky House Cats International? It’s a non-profit organization specializing in placing extra large kitties (at least 18 pounds) with like-minded pet assistants. Founded in 1992, HHCI provides networking opportunities and arranges social meow-ups for cats and prospective assistants, both in-person and online.
Remember this, Lonely: you’re a good cat. I can tell, and you have a lot of love to give. Keep your tail high and your chin up. Those kittens won’t win every time.
Your friendly neighborhood beauty addicts,
Karen and Tabs