The Pet Lady


The letter from Darlene Lovelace [The Pet Lady, June 6] really upset me. I didn’t hear anything about playing with or petting that poor little cat. Also, I can’t believe she left the litter box dirty for so long. No wonder the poor thing peed elsewhere. Cats will not go in filthy litter boxes. On top of that, it probably felt the hostility between the roommates. Not only should she move out, but D.L. should give that cat to a more loving and tolerant household and wait until she is less selfish before she gets another pet.

Cat Lover in Belltown


The Pet Lady is sorry that you were distraught by Ms. Lovelace’s account of her roommate/cat difficulties. And while it is not the P.L.’s aim to stand in judgment of her dear correspondents, it does seem that an innocent fur friend here became an extraneous point of triangulation in a conflict between two humans. You note that the “poor little cat” may have been sensitive to the “hostility,” and indeed, felines are known for making their displeasure with the behavior of their people plain by forgoing the designated relief area in favor of beds, chaises longues, carpets, and so forth.

Suffice it to say that matters of human household interaction are delicate ones. Ms. Lovelace, wisely, expressed no interest in laying claim to the cat in question upon termination of the cohabitation; one hopes she has forged forth, soothing martini in hand.

Best to you, sweet C.L.I.B.,

The Pet Lady


I had two parakeets named Ken and Barbie. (Yeah, I know it’s corny. But I had them since 1997 or something, and that “Barbie Girl” song was popular then.) I gave them to my 15-year-old sister when I left for college this past year. Yesterday she called and said that Barbie had died. (I couldn’t believe it, but she was crying.) Now Ken is all alone, and we don’t want him to live such a life. So I was wondering if my sister should get a new friend for Ken or, better yet, another pair of friends for him? Also, is there a mourning period for parakeets? If so, when should she introduce the new parakeet(s)?



The Pet Lady trusts you were empathetic to your sweet sister with regard to her anguish over the death of Barbie. The love of a girl for a bird may seem unbelievable, dear Bill, but there it is, and it is no less true for being a bond betwixt a human and a small, winged being.

Of course Ken should have a new bird friend, and straightaway. Two companions might be a bit much, and you and your sister should seek a parakeet with a few years under her belt to be the new Barbie—a fledgling might just badger and vex dear old Ken. And do not concern yourself with an appropriate mourning period: Ken, with his very tiny, feathered brain, is certainly not.

The Pet Secretary knew the song of which you wrote, apparently by a band by the name of Aqua, and located and played it for the Pet Lady on the hi-fi: Truly it is a brilliant postmodern feminist commentary on the woman-as-doll paradigm. It is also quite catchy.

Best to you, your sister, Ken, and Barbie-to-be,

The Pet Lady

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