AI: What’s going around and coming around?

In December I put down my eighteen-year-old cat George Burns.  It was awful, and it still makes me tear up to think he won’t be there when I get home from work today. Bah. Now I live in a one-cat household. Abe Vigoda doesn’t seem to mind being an only, and so far, it’s even made him a bit more outgoing. He’s thirteen, portly, epileptic, stunningly scaredy and doesn’t mind having all the catnip to himself.

So, we haven’t “replaced” George so that Abe has a friend. We do this mostly because Abe seems happy to have all the attention and we’re guessing what’s best because he’s a cat.

Recently, a helpful* friend** insisted we should get Abe a pal. I said we were taking our cues from him, and he seemed fine alone.  She then told me I was being selfish and “unfriendly as always” and she hoped it wasn’t too bad when “what goes around comes around to you.”

Um … yeah. What? I don’t mind the unfriendly part, I don’t understand the investment she has in life inside the four walls of my house, but mostly I don’t understand what will be coming around to me. So, since I’m clearly in for it, I’m asking y’all to tell me what “it” is.

What karmic assault is headed my way for making my cat live a lonely life without a cat companion?  How will it arrive?  Will I need to sign for it?


 *not terribly helpful  **not much of a friend

The Afternoon Inquisition (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Skepchick community. Look for it to appear Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 3pm ET.


A B Kovacs is the Director of Døøm at Empty Set Entertainment, a publishing company she co-founded with critical thinker and fiction author Scott Sigler. She considers herself a “Creative Adjacent” — helping creative people be more productive and prolific by managing the logistics of Making for the masses. She's a science nerd, a rabid movie geek, and an unrepentantly voracious reader. She doesn't like chocolate all that much.

Related Articles


  1. First off, sorry for the loss of your George.

    If Karma was real, what you’ve got coming to you is a happy retirement completely devoid of unwanted companionship and busybodies trying to override your clear wishes “for your own good.”

  2. I appears to me that your friend** is projecting what they feel is right on to you. They seem to be trying to make you feel guilty by hexing you with a life of loneliness. Karma has no basis in the natural world. Kudos to you for listening to Abe :)

  3. Firstly, my sympathies for the loss of George. I also put my 16-year-old Floss to sleep in December, and it still hurts.

    Karma doesn’t follow linear time – your karmic punishment for not forcing Abe to adjust to a whole new interloper into his territory at this time of life is to have friends like that.

  4. We got our Penelope a pal when our last elderly kitty died because she’d loved old Momo so much and we didn’t want her to be lonely. New kitty? She hated him. Hate us for a while too, wouldn’t come indoors, just sat in the yard glowering and mad at the world. It’s been two years and although she finally forgave us humans and came back indoors she still hates new kitty and won’t let him get within a meter without hissing.

    Your friend is misguided in her assumption that a new kitty will be accepted and not disruptive to current kitty whatsoever. That she’d think you somehow deserved bad things to happen because you know your current kitty’s needs and act accordingly is really strange and best of luck navigating that! :/

  5. Well, what’s not coming to you is a grumpy old cat pissing on your bed to express his displeasure over an unwanted young scamp infringing on his space. What is coming is . . . a lazy, fat, content housecat?

  6. Sorry for your loss! I think you are justified in thinking Abe Vigoda is just fine being a single cat. What if you got a kitten and he hated it? Many grown cats are kind of “loners” and do not like new cat intruders. That would really get you some bad karma!

  7. I interpret the concept of Karma as a naive explanation for the mathematical probability that life will eventually “try to” kick us in the guts at some point. That “try to” is anthropomorphic and teleological and therefore an incorrect way of viewing it, but nevertheless may be useful as a working model or rule of thumb for some people.

    In general, my approach is that when life does “try to” kick me in the guts, I will try to kick it back even harder. That way of thinking has worked quite well for me so far, even though I laugh at myself for putting it in those terms!
    I am very sorry for your loss – the death of a loved pet is deeply sad.

  8. I’m so sorry for your loss. I remember having to have my own cat put down when I was in college. He was so old, I could not remember a time when he hadn’t been there.

    Some cats really do prefer to be alone, and if they do, that’s what’s best for them. We have one cat who absolutely hates the other two cats in the house, and would be far happier on her own. Generally I think it’s a good idea to adopt pairs of sibling kittens when possible, but I certainly wouldn’t get angry at anyone who didn’t. And once they’re adults, I figure odds are better they’d hate each other.

  9. Her karmic debt will be to come home one day and find out that her mother has moved a strange child into her house because she was worried that she was lonely.

  10. Warning! You are now entering snark-infested waters!

    You haven’t considered the consequences of not getting a new kitty. Your lonely and socially isolated cat will retreat to the basement, ostensibly to hunt mice and other little critters. After a while, you will discover a pile of tattered and well-read military sci-fi books (the Honor Harrington series features a 6-legged telepathic cat who is a highly efficient killing machine) and back issues of Soldier of Fortune magazine. Soon Abe will fall in with a bunch of online FRM* activists. He will buy a trench coat and start staking out canine obedience schools. Then one fatal day, he will show up at one armed to the teeth (with teeth, of course.) You will find a bunch of incoherent journals, written in LOLCAT, rambling on about dogs and obedience and it will be impossible to tell if Abe wants to rescue the dogs from their brainwashing masters, or destroy them, or both. The NRA will demand that all dog schools have armed security guards. And it will be All.Your.Fault.

    Seriously, my condolences, and it sounds like Abe is coping as well as you could hope for.

    [*] Feline Rights Movement

  11. Old cats are like Republicans: the only things they hate more than being alone are change and meeting anyone different from themselves.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back to top button