Dear Annie: I am hoping you can help me sort this out. I am an avid animal lover, and I have had animals all my life. I am now on the brink of turning 65 and have no pets. I am in very good health. Also, I am on the autism spectrum (high functioning). Despite 30 years of counseling, I have no friends (and no family). I am yearning to adopt a cat! However, I have reservations because of my age.
What if I suddenly had to go in the hospital for a few days or even a week? I have no one to look after my pet. What happens to my cat if I pass away? I have no one to take care of her/him. I am so worried about this that it has delayed my going to the shelter to bring home a precious friend.
Do you know of any programs available for people like me? Perhaps there is a service that I can call (or they call me) to make sure I am alive and well, tending to the needs of my cat. If you or your readers have any ideas, I would be quite grateful. I really love animals, and I have had veterinarians tell me any animal I adopt will be "lucky indeed." — Missing Out on Friends
Dear Missing Out: It's a wise idea to have a system in place so that someone will know if you're in a bind — not just for your future cat's sake but also for yours! It would be beneficial to get plugged in to some form of community, even if human company isn't something you crave (based on your letter, I'm not sure). Perhaps volunteering at an animal shelter would be a good option: You'd be working alongside people who also love animals and would be likely to check on your cat for you, should you run into obstacles.
Also, you might consider adopting an adult cat (i.e., 5-6 years old) instead of a kitten if you're worried you might not be able to care for a cat for 16 years (the average lifespan of an indoor cat). Adult cats have a harder time finding homes than kittens — only 60 percent of cats older than 18 months get adopted, while more than 82 percent of kittens do — so you'd be doing an extra-great thing.
I'll let you know what other tips I hear from readers on adopting pets as a senior. But I don't think you should wait to hear those tips to proceed with adopting. I concur with the veterinarians: The cat who lands in your lap is a felicitous feline indeed.
Dear Annie: I was bullied in high school. Recently, I was messaged through social media from someone I knew in high school, and I made the mistake of responding. It turns out that she is on the committee for the reunion, and she will not stop pestering me about it. When I politely told her I had no interest, she should have moved on. Instead, she keeps pestering me. Her prodding makes me determined never to attend any reunions.
There are hundreds of reasons why people might not attend, but none of these reasons are owed to anyone. — Living My Life Forward
Dear Living My Life Forward: Food for thought not just for your old classmates but also for anyone hosting an event. A declined invitation is not a personal attack. Thank you for writing.
"Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie" is out now! Annie Lane's debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to [email protected]