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Ask a Cat: Death, free will, and cat business

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.

Devoted Cat Fans,

This week Cat suspects that one reader in particular (who has made no secret of their distaste for superficial questions) is to blame for sending in not one, but TWO perturbingly broad questions for me to ponder. Our third question is unrelated (although equally valid and entirely practical.) Cat is not in a particularly philosophical mood, but I will do my best to illuminate you all with my furry wisdom. 🐾


Hi Cat!

What do you think happens after we die? Thanks!

Dear Human,

Cat thinks that what happens after we die depends on the individual. Ask ten different cats, get ten different answers. Purrsonally, this Cat thinks they will be greeted by a giant golden cat basket in the sky. Eternally surrounded by kibble that overfloweth and abundant catnip. Cat thinks that the only creatures that truly have it wrong are those that ascribe to strict and unyielding religious beliefs. Cat suspects that when all is said and done, there will likely be one big giant universal answer that encompasses a deep and varying breadth of beliefs. To reduce the power and beauty of the universe to manageable snippets that allow humans to control, harm, and judge one another is undoubtedly not the answer.

If you believe that your version of eternity comes with a velvet rope, you may find yourself on the wrong side of it. The point Cat wishes to make is that you humans are a very small part of an immensely complex and intricate creation. Do you cease to exist if your human form stops functioning? Or do you carry on in another form? There are some that ascribe to the “9 lives” theory, which is also a distinct possibility. If you humans are lucky, purrhaps you will get to spend your next incarnation as a cat.


Dear Cat,

Do we have free will? Does it make us free or feel more isolated as it introduces us to the futility of our being?

Dear Human,

The way you phrase your question makes it sound as if you already believe that humans do not possess free will. Is your very being futile if your destiny is predetermined? Cat suspects that’s something you’ll have to determine for yourself. For some, I think great comfort is found in the idea that a Great Cat in the sky has already planned each aspect of our lives. Maybe it gives you an excuse to feel like a victim and pardon yourself from personal responsibility. We all find purrpose in different things.

As you asked me, I will share that I do think all creatures great and small have free will. Exercising that will does seem to yield predictable results in some cases, and there are certainly experiences that seem to be universal. Cat tends to believe that there are an infinite number of paths and possibilities reaching out before us at all times. Our choices shape each potential destiny, which is an ever-evolving journey. Cat suggests you don’t spend too much time naval gazing about free will or the futility of being. You will miss out on all the fun- predetermined or not.


Dear Cat,

I just figured out my Tabby cat has been peeing in one of my house plants. She has easy access to a litter box, what gives?!

Dear Human,

There are numerous reasons why Tabby might be doing this, and several options to try to prevent it. You don’t mention if Tabby is a new addition to the home or if you have any concerns about her health. If this started out of nowhere with a plant that has been in your home for years, it might be a good idea to visit your local vet to rule out urinary or kidney issues.

If Tabby has previously been an outdoor cat or is a kitten, she may just be trying to establish bathroom habits. Outdoor cats are used to doing their business in areas resembling a potted plant. Kittens take a little time to establish their litter box routine. Placing her there after she has her meals will help solidify the habit if that is the case.

If this is a new addition that your cat has taken a liking to, there are some easy ways to curb her from befouling your houseplant. Cats prefer a medium they can dig/bury in when it comes to bathroom habits. Placing some large rocks or pinecones in your potted plant around the soil will remove that element and encourage her to take her business elsewhere. Some folks swear by essential oils – Cat finds citrus particularly distasteful and would happily avoid such an aroma. Once you have found a method that works, repot the plant so there is no lingering odor.

Lastly I’d recommend that you make sure Tabby’s litter box is cleaned daily. Avoid using scented products that can irritate and dissuade her from the space. She should be able to smell her own scent around the litter box with her keen nose, not the stink of Febreze.

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Actual credentialed journalist (retired)
8 months ago

If that’s about me…it wasn’t me. Seems like I’m being trolled more than Cat is. Good answers though

8 months ago