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We Build Alaska

Ask a Cat: New romance, grace vs. mercy, and lip work

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,

I’d really like to set my step-dad up with someone, he’s been a widower for three years now and I want to see him happy and with a companion. The problem is he’s really into Trump and has super conservative views, and honestly I wish he’d meet someone with less extreme views that could even him out a little. Do you have any ideas?

Dear Human,

Cat thinks it’s thoughtful that you want to help your step dad find love and happiness again. Purrhaps one of the most tricky aspects of navigating match-making is ideological and political differences. Depending on the strength of his persuasions, it may be im-paws-ible to find a match based on your preferences. From what Cat understands, those enamored with Trump are a bit on the “extreme” side of the spectrum. Right now Cat thinks the best you can do is glean what he is really looking for in a partner…come to think of it, is he even looking for a partner?

Cat will infer that if he is widowed and your step dad, it is your Mom that has passed. Hopefully you were given quality time with her and know what traits made her a great partner. It sounds like you two are very much a part of each other’s lives. Purrhaps the only way to expose him to different types of folks is to engage in social activities with him where friendships (or romance!) might naturally occur. At the end of the day, you’ll have to respect his preferences and autonomy in choosing a partner. If he’s ready, the decision must be his own.


Dear Ask a Cat,

First things first: I adore you! Can you please explain the difference between grace and mercy?

Dear Human,

How you flatter Cat! Compliment graciously accepted. Moving on to your inquiry:

Certainly grace and mercy are related concepts, but I will do my best to share the difference as I see it. Mercy is when we show compassion or forgiveness to someone that is vulnerable, helpless, or maybe a bit dumb. This is purrticularly relevant when they have done something to elicit a negative consequence. Say your stinky Samoyed destroys your curtains: showing mercy means not banishing him to his den of guilt without kibble, even though he has been a very bad dog.

Cat reckons that grace is a level beyond mercy. Grace can be seen as kindness or favor that is also undeserved, but not necessarily in the context of a nefarious act. This would be like bringing home a new squeaky toy and a treat for your very bad dog. Not because they deserve it, but because it is a nice and gracious thing to do. Both grace and mercy are undeserved, from what Cat understands, but one is more about withholding punishment and the other is about bestowing some sort of kindness. Cat thinks the details are easily convoluted. 


Dear Cat:

How do I tell my friend she’s gotten way too much lip filler in the last two years? She’s really pretty but she’s totally overdoing it!

Dear Human,

The answer is likely that you do not. Unless your friend has explicitly said to you “let me know if I over do it!” she is likely not looking for your feedback on her appearance. Unless she is visually impaired, she knows exactly what her lips look like. You may feel she is interpreting that reflection wrong, but purrhaps when she looks at you she interprets that your lips are a bit thin.

Presumably this is a close friend if you are even considering broaching the subject with her. Although Cat advises against it, here are some ideas if you absolutely insist on telling your friend she is looking over-inflated: Be mindful of the time and place. Do not make a rude comment in front of others or at the end of a very stressful workday. If and when the topic comes up, ask her how she feels about it, and genuinely listen. You may find that she already knows others perceive her as having too much work done, but that she enjoys it anyway. If you absolutely must and she asks for your opinion, try to keep your comments more curious than judgmental. Often what we perceive to be lacking (or overdone) in others is our own self-criticism at the core. At the end of the day, Cat hopes this is a passing issue. Here’s hoping you can enjoy your friendship and leave your judgments in the litter box.


Cat Chat:

This week let’s embrace our differences. Whether you identify far left, far right, svelte Siamese or overstuffed Persian; we all have a redeeming quality or two. Remember to reach a gracious paw across the aisle and extend mercy and grace to your fellow creature. 🐾

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Mick Jagger
8 months ago

If your friend is overdoing the lip filler thing, tell her. You wouldn’t let your friend starve to death from anorexia No matter how she thought she looked. She’d have seen herself everyday in that case too, Cat. Let her know she has a vanity issue.

8 months ago
Reply to  Mick Jagger

Dear Mick, your lips are looking a little over done. -Cat