Dear Tabby is written by Tabs the cat, widely considered “the world’s first plus-size kitty supermodel.” Founded in mid 2012, it has quickly become the most popular cat advice column on earth — known for its fresh, feline perspective on lifestyle, fashion and style issues affecting cats and humans.
Handling an unwanted gift with grace
DEAR TABBY: OK, I don’t want to sound ungrateful, but frankly, I’m lost. Tabby, my assistant — good chap, calm temperament — well, his parents sent over a gift for the office the other day. Yeah, it’s the ugliest cat tower I’ve ever seen.
Very nice gesture, yes, but not only does it seem inappropriate coming from the parents of my employee, but aesthetically it’s — well, it’s just not my style.
Tabby, at your office, have you ever had to deal with anything like this? This is a first for me, and I’m not sure how to proceed.
— Appalled in Appalachia
DEAR APPALLED: Funny you mention this because, yes, I have had something very similar happen to me before, but it was a piece of exercise equipment.
I’m very close to my assistant’s parents, and one year they gave me one of those long sticks with the large green ball at the end of the string. You know the ones I’m talking about.
So I’m exercising with it one day, and bam! — the ball smacks me square in the face.
I’m like, is this thing broken? I don’t know, but I got rid of it fast.
The next day my employee asked me where it went, but I didn’t want to hurt her feelings, so I just purred and played dumb.
The truth is, I batted it under the couch.
Tact is a tough concept for a lot of cats, and my collar goes off to you for taking it into consideration. I think this is one of those situations, though, that could easily escalate if it isn’t handled properly.
The problem with a cat tower, of course, is that you can’t just brush it under the rug. Literally. It’s huge. It’s there. So you have to deal with it head on.
You’re going to have to tell your assistant something like, you know, I like the cat tower, but I just can’t have it in the office, and then make something up. Tell her that there’s a clause in the contract you have with your interior decorator that expressly prohibits beige cat towers. That way you protect her feelings while getting rid of the tower at the same time.
Tackling a tough issue
DEAR TABBY: Sometimes I just want to scratch my neighbor’s face.
Let me explain. This cat — ugh, I think he thinks we’re still kittens, but we’re not. Anyway, every time I run into him when I’m out of the office, he charges me full speed like a golden retriever puppy and tackles me to the ground.
I think it’s like his version of a kitty hug or something. I don’t know, but it’s just too much, and he’s a husky guy. He’s got at least two pounds on me, and I’m already pushing 20.
Tabby, how do I let him know politely that, yeah, buddy, it’s nice to see you, too, but can we dispense with all the tackling?
What do you think, Tabby? Am I being reasonable here, or do I sound uptight?
— Flustered in Philly
DEAR FLUSTERED: Oh, I know cats like that. There used to be this one cat back when I played football for the Mill Valley Wildcat — this cat loved to leap and tackle, and I know what you mean. Sometimes you’re just not in the mood for it. Well, I started kicking him with my back legs whenever he’d do it, but not angrily. Just enough to get his attention, and pretty soon he stopped.
Cat with an employment concern
DEAR TABBY: It’s so hard to find good help.
Here’s the deal: my assistant keeps changing my food. One day it’s chicken and liver, tuna the next, then salmon with gravy, without. If there’s a pattern, I can’t figure it out.
She should know by now that my favorite dish is turkey in gravy. She’s been working here for three years, so I refuse to spell it out. My diet plan is one of the most important parts of her job. Short of attacking her in her sleep, Tabby, what should I do? Is it time for me to get a new assistant?
— Hungry in Halifax
DEAR HUNGRY: You better not get rid of that assistant, because you could do a lot worse. Some assistants, and I kid you not, will serve the same food, day in, day out, even if you obviously don’t like it.
I’m serious, at least your current assistant is trying.
Do this: if you don’t like a particular meal, hover around your food bowl and meow. Nonstop.
Don’t eat it, but meow, a lot, and sooner or later she’ll get the hint and serve something different.
A cat with a question about security systems
DEAR TABBY: I’ve been having security issues lately at the office, and I’m wondering who you use. Do you work with a human security firm or employ a canine?
What’s happening is that every night another cat appears outside my window and mocks me. If I stare, he stares back. If I charge him, he charges back. I think he’s just playing mind games with me, but it still makes me uncomfortable.
— Insecure in Inverness
DEAR INSECURE: Not to alarm you, but this has happened to me many times. Are you sure it isn’t your reflection?
Don’t worry, I still fall for it all the time, and then I realize, oh! — that cat is much too handsome to be someone else.
Much love, always,