Since You Asked…

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Dear Caroline,

The other night as I was driving home late, I accidentally ran over my neighbor’s cat and killed it. I was horrified. It occurred to me to knock on their door and tell them, but it was well after midnight, their house was dark and the thought of getting them out of bed with such bad news set me into a panic. Instead I gathered the cat up in an old blanket and put it in the corner of my garage thinking I’d tell them in the morning. By the time I was awake, dressed, showered and ready to confess, there were already “Lost Cat” signs on the telephone poles! I felt so guilty I didn’t say anything. That was yesterday. Today the cat is still in my garage. This is such a weird situation. What should I do?


Dear Guilty,

This column is called “Since You Asked…” not “How to Qualify for Sainthood” for a reason. The poor cat has already used up all of its nine lives. Telling your neighbors you killed it and hid the body for a couple of days won’t do anyone any good. Simply say you found their cat in the street the other night. Sadly, it had been hit by a car. You have it wrapped in a blanket in your garage. Comfort them in their loss. Offer to bury it for them if you possibly can. Help them take down the “Lost Cat” signs.

In a perfect world, outdoor cats would enjoy great adventures without the risk of traffic and predators. Birds would flutter and perch with no need to be wary of outdoor cats. People who made mistakes would have the wherewithal to come forward immediately with just the right words, and so on.

In an imperfect world, all we can do is our best. You messed up. We all do from time to time. Give your neighbors the closure they need, forgive yourself and move on, driving more carefully.

Truthfully yours,


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