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We Build Alaska

Ask a Cat: Gifts, new partners, and division of labor

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,

My long-time boyfriend is a great partner except for when it comes to giving gifts. Every year for our anniversary, my birthday, Christmas, etc. he promises me that he is getting me something great, or promises that he already ordered something, but every single time nothing, and I mean NOTHING, not even a card is there. I always produce gifts that I put a lot of thought into for him at each celebration.

Lately, he has been spending a lot of money on himself with things he doesn’t need and I can’t help feeling upset that he has forgotten about all those empty promises to me. Should I address this to him, if so how do I say it without sounding like a brat?

Dear Human,

Good lord, human men can be exhausting. The purrimary problem cat sees in this exchange is that boyfriend is promising gifts and even going so far as to say he already ordered something. This means boyfriend is a liar. Cat finds that unfortunate. Underneath the obvious concern of lying is either a misunderstanding or lack of care for a partner’s love language. Most humans understand love language simply to be the way they feel loved personally. Cat believes the more important key to applying this practice is that you know how your partner feels loved and have the ability to participate in it. Often we have different love languages than our partner (gifts vs. words vs. physical affection, etc.) and so the challenge is to make sure we are meeting their needs even if it is not how we would necessarily like to be shown love.

Should you choose to keep boyfriend around, I advise you to also examine if you know his love language and if you are able to express love to him in a way that he identifies with.

Your best bet is to have an intentional clear conversation with boyfriend and to lay out expectations, as well as be open to hearing what his are in return. If boyfriend continues to disappoint you after you two agree on what is a reasonable expectation, Cat suspects it is time move on.


Dear Cat,

I find myself in my late 30’s, divorced, not dating, and with no real prospects. I like my job, I can support myself, and I don’t actually NEED a man around. Every time I’ve tried to date, it seems like I remember how annoying men are and I wonder why I even bother. Should I just give up and be single forever?

Dear Human,

Cat advises you to enjoy your life. There is no need to try and force the issue of having a partner. You are in a wonderful place right now being financially independent and happy with your career. According to Cat’s inbox, that is not often the condition of humans.

Cat wonders what your friendships are like. Often society tells humans they should be focused on romantic relationships, but Cat suggests that cultivating friendships is wiser. If you already have good friends, investing in them and growing your relationships will only increase your happiness (as opposed to the frustration of casual dating.) If your friendships could use some rehab, now is a wonderful time in life to pay some attention towards that.

As for dating, Cat thinks these things happen in their own time. Remain open minded if someone comes along, but don’t create frustration and resentment in the meantime.


Dear Cat,

My husband and I have made an agreement that I’ll be the stay-at-home parent and do a lot of the cooking and daytime child care. He’s too sweet to say it, but we both know I’m a terrible cook. I usually eat on the run, but now I feel like it’s my job to be at least a decent chef. I also don’t want my kid to grow up not having any skills to make food for themselves. Does Cat have any advice?

Dear Human,

Cat is pleased to hear of a human couple that has had an intentional conversation and came to a mutually agreed upon division of labor. Cat also applauds you for indicating that daytime childcare is your responsibility, which goes to show that domestic labor is a 24/7 job and just because one is employed 40 hours a week, does not mean they are exempt from participating in parenting. Let’s dive into your ineptness when it comes to kibble prep. Cat encourages you to stick to the basics. Trying to do too much too soon will just leave you with unsatisfied taste buds and a disgruntled family. Dinner is a good place to start because conventional schedules suggest this is the meal all three of you will be sharing. If you don’t already have a crock pot, this is a safe place to start. Even humans will find it hard to mess up a slow cooker meal. This also gives you the flexibility to do whatever else you need to during the day and for the most part, let dinner cook itself over several hours. Start with simple proteins like beef or chicken and premixed seasoning packets. Eventually, you will become comfortable with mixing your own spices and being more creative. Just because a meal is simple, doesn’t mean it isn’t delicious. Cat wishes you the best of luck in your domestic endeavors.



So many readers have been asking Cat for relationship advice this week. In the words of Ernest Hemingway: “A cat has absolute emotional honesty: human beings, for one reason or another, may hide their feelings, but a cat does not.” When faced with complications in human relationships, Cat implores you: be more cat-like. 🐾

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