Ask a Cat: Bad Secret Santa, workplace bullying, and post-hookup confusion

Ask a cat is an advice column featured in the Alaska Landmine. Have a question for the Cat? Email or click here to submit via a form (anonymous) to get the answers to any of life’s problems.

Dear Cat,

The office I work in is holiday obsessed. It’s annoying but I’m trying not to be a scrooge. My question is: the person assigned to me for “Secret Santa” is my least favorite coworker and frankly someone I wouldn’t mind if something bad happened to. I’m not the only one who feels this way. I doubt I could pawn them off on someone else.

Dear Human,

It sounds like you aren’t purrticularly enthusiastic about celebrating the holidays with your coworkers. Cat suggests the pro of this situation is that you aren’t being robbed of a beloved pastime. The con seems to be that presumably you have to be nice to someone you’d rather see run over by a reindeer.

Cat feels you can approach this situation in two different ways. You can focus on being kind and try to eschew your negative feelings about this coworker, choosing a neutral or practical gift. If you’re feeling a bit odious and vengeful, you can use this opportunity to give them something you know they’ll dislike for your own entertainment. Cat suggests that in the spirit of the season you err on the side of good vs. evil, but should you choose the dark side, please keep Cat in the loop as to how it goes.


Dear Cat,

How does one deal with workplace bullying, harassment, intimidation, and threat of harm? Law enforcement was called, complaints filed with Alaska and EEOC, but to no avail. I am in a small community, everyone knows what’s going on, but afraid to speak out.

Dear Human,

Cat is not a legal expert, but if you’ve already reported the issues to all the powers that be with no result, I do suspect this is not likely to end anytime soon. It sounds like those doing the bullying are in some sort of position of power, otherwise Cat is not sure why nothing has come of these incidents. For your own sake, Cat suggests documenting incidents, continuing to report harassment as it occurs, and finding a new job.

Cat thinks the mistake most humans make is thinking that life is fair. Alas, you can hope that your employer will protect you to a degree and operate in a way that prioritizes safety, but purrhaps that will never be a reality in this current job. It may take effort, time, and money to find a new job in a healthier environment; but it will also take all of those elements to try to change your current one.

Cat thinks that unless you are actually the one causing trouble, you will find much more peace in a new job. In the interim try to maintain professionalism as long as your safety isn’t at risk. Don’t hesitate to seek support from friends and a counselor to navigate this upheaval in your life. If you insist on trying to stick it out at your current job, you may need to work with an attorney to explore your options. Again, this will be costly, time consuming, and stressful.


Dear Cat,

I met a lady recently at a certain local cidery. We hit it off and let’s just say the night progressed and we ended up hooking up. Neither of us were drunk, but we were definitely buzzed and maybe she regrets it. We texted a few days after and then she stopped responding. I think I actually like this girl, should I send her a friend request on Facebook? Her Instagram is private, but I found her there too.

Dear Human,

Cat is glad you asked, because there is a clear answer and frankly, I am a bit concerned you do not see it. You’ll need to let this be. Lady has clearly stopped responding. If you easily found her on social media, this means she can just as easily find you. Cat would be willing to bet a whisker that you have been on her “people you may know” list and she has chosen not to engage.

Cat does think you are correct in that she may have some regrets. This may or may not have anything to do with you. Purrhaps there were many factors that night that led to your tryst, and for her the primary one may not have been a distinct interest in starting a relationship with you. Cat suspects that it stings to be “ghosted” after what you thought was a meaningful interaction. Keep in mind some of that has to do with you, and some of it has to do with her.

Honestly, you will never actually know the details. The best thing you can do right now to stay out of creeper territory is to graciously leave your encounter in the past. Seek out a date that is equally enthusiastic to be in your presence. You don’t deserve to date an uninterested party any more than an uninterested party deserves to be pursued. 



Cat thinks humans have a funny habit of being stubborn to the point of sabotaging their own happiness. Is life fair? No. In the face of unpredictable challenges, Cat implores you to focus on moving on. Pursuing what does not serve you or seek you generally only leads to trouble. 🐾

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