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Ask an Apocalypse Specialist


Dear Dr. Farley,

In view of the impending financial distress, I’m worried about my cats. Should I stock up on cat food, or will it be available in post-apocalypse America?


Worried in Dubuque

Dear Worried in Dubuque,

No. You should concentrate on stocking up on firearms, clean water, and canned goods. Cat food will most certainly not be available in post-apocalypse America; any housecats will only be a drain on your resources. Your cats should be eaten at the first opportunity, followed by the eating of any surplus cat food. Most such food is edible by humans, and while you may be tempted to “fatten up” your cats, much of the energy in the cat food is lost when its eaten by the cat.

Dear Dr. Farley,

Will they need political scientists in post-financial apocalypse America?

Tenured at Texas Tech

Dear Tenured at Texas Tech,

No. They don’t need political scientists now, and certainly won’t need them after the apocalypse. I suggest you find a new profession, such as trapper, tanner, mercenary, or apocalypse specialist.

Dr. Farley, accredited* Apocalypse Specialist, has a twice-weekly column at lefarkins.blogspot.com. Update here.

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  • Dear Dr. Farley,
    Should I be preparing a boat or a car?
    Distressed in DC

  • Is cannibalism really as bad as they say? And a follow-up: following the logic of the cat example, should we eat the fat people first, or should we eat the skinny people first?
    -Preparing in Peoria

  • d

    Silly rabbit, we’ll be eating rich people first.

  • John

    I’d recommend stockpiling ammo, cigarettes, and liquor. These items have inherent value, and the first two are portable enough to serve as good quasi-currency in a barter economy.

  • NonyNony

    Dear Dr. Farley,
    In the event of an apocalypse, is it more important to save our shotgun shells for the zombies out to eat our delicious tasty brain matter or for the mutants that will arise in the radioactive wastelands that were once our cities?

  • Your answer to Dubuque shows a skewed perspective. Arguably, the survival of your cat is more important than your survival, and your cat is also a better hunter than you are, so it’s really your obligation to open all the cat food cans and then commit suicide in a way that leaves you edible, while leaving a window open for access to the external food supply.

  • I’m gonna be a brewer!
    As in, “Don’t kill me! I know how to make beer!”

  • strategichamlet

    “your cat is also a better hunter than you are”
    If your cat is a good hunter it may be able to provide for you as well as itself. That is, if you can command any loyalty from it and don’t mind subsisting on mice and small birds.
    I don’t have a cat so I’m busy plastic bagging books to bury in the ground for a future civilization.

  • Malaclypse

    Is cannibalism really as bad as they say?
    And what wine goes best?

  • Nick

    Dear Dr. Farley,
    I’m considering one of several locations in which to build my post-capitalist-collapse shantytown full of drifters and criminal scum. I could use some advice:
    Option 1 is the burned-out ruins of a zoo. This would allow me to breed surviving animals for a wide range of uses: e.g., pigs to provide both food and fuel, tigers to guard the entryway of my ramshackle fortress, and monkeys that I can train to steal ammo from the pouches of would-be heroes. It would also allow me cages in which to lock said heroes, or perhaps a polar bear pit that I can toss refugees into after they’re divested of any useful trinkets.
    Option 2 is a gated community near the abandoned shell of some Midwestern town. This would be easily defensible against anyone who tries to end my small-minded and territorially limited reign of blood and terror, and I would appreciate the irony of paving the streets of small-town America with the broken remains of my enemies. Also, easy access to schools.
    Option 3 is an outlet mall, with ample parking for my modified terror vehicles (operational only when I can pillage a source of precious lifesblood gasoline), a large building easily converted into a den of villainy, and a number of shops from which to procure my improbably leather ensembles.
    Which of these would you suggest? Or is there another option that you prefer?
    Thanks in advance,
    Destructive in Detroit

  • stickler

    And what wine goes best?
    With human flesh? I thought everybody already knew: “a fine Chianti.”
    But yeah, I too will fall back on my mad skillz as a homebrewer. Within six weeks I’ll be the master of my cul-de-sac.

  • Simple Mind

    Former Political Scientists would make excellent shamans!

  • mds

    Nick: I’d say, go with Option 3. Take down the maps, and any would-be invaders would wander around in confusion. Plus, it’s already true of the average outlet mall that you will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. Well, except for gated communities. Hmm, I might need to rethink this.

  • Glenn

    By all means, you should keep feeding your cats. The fat cats always come out ahead.

  • Mudge

    Isn’t the Apocalypse some old temple or something the Greeks built in Athens?
    I am so confused.

  • strategichamlet

    Yanni! Live! At the Apocalypse!

  • No, Mudge, it’s a bunch of books that are in the Catholic bible but not Protestant versions. Silly.
    What that has to do with zombies or cats, I don’t know.

  • I thought an “apocalypse” was that up-high comma thing that goes into contractions and possessives. I never could tell why people got so worked up about it.

  • Dr. Farley:
    I think you need to touch base with the Fallout 3 planners re: construction of Vaults and preservation of technology efforts. Also, the correct answer is dogmeat, not cats. Cats are too wiley to be caught.

  • Yanni! Live! Ushers in the Apocalypse!
    Fixed that for ya.

  • drip

    Dr. Farley:
    I am wondering, will the rapture come before or after the apocolypse or after. If the former, I will need to make provision for my pets; if after, the comments here make it sound like it won’t matter. Your followers will eat them or work them to death.

  • HP

    Actually, as obligate carnivores, cats have a very short and inefficient lower intestine. Surprisingly few of the nutrients available in cat food are actually absorbed by the cat during digestion. Most of the protein and all of the fiber are excreted as waste.
    There’s no reason why you and your cat can’t share the same food, provided that you’re willing to eat it after the cat has processed it first. (Just ask any dog.)

  • Hedley Lamarr

    Not a cat lover, but won’t we need them to eat the rats that will be leaving the sinking ship that is America?

  • Barry Freed

    No, no, no. We’ll need to eat the rats. Or fuck them. I’m so confused…

  • Captain Goto

    HP wins the thread.
    And: Ew.

  • crazynick

    Actually, I already am a brewer. I feel it’s a pretty safe job in any sense: If things end up (improbably) going well, people drink lots of beer. If things go poorly, but the apocolypse waits a bit, people get depressed, so they drink a lot of beer. At the end of society as we know it, I can still make beer to drink and barter, and use my knowledge to barter for my life in tight spots. See above your comment about beer makers.

  • But isn’t the first sign of the apocalypse an explosion in hops prices?

  • calling all toasters

    So, is it an apocalypse if the Dow goes below 8,000?

  • Brewing tip:
    In the possible post-apocalypse absence of hops, I shall spice my brew with the copious and bitter tears of conservatives disillusioned by the utter failure of their deeply-held ideology.

  • calipygian

    Who thought that Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road” and James Kuntsler’s “A World Made By Hand” would be how to guides?
    Well, maybe Kuntsler…

  • Indy

    Dear Dr. Farley,
    In the advent of financial apocalypse, will effete coastal elates still be wasting bandwidth debating the relative merits of beer vs. malt liquor vs. pruno?
    I suspect that in coming collapse of all we know and hold dear, the Colt .45 standard will apply: if it works every time, it’s an item of barter.
    I also believe that toilet paper will be the preferred store of value after the collapse of industrial society.

  • Indy

    For the carton of Marlboros, I will give you an entire 35 squares, 0.35% of an entire roll of scott brand outhouse scrap. or, for the longtoothed amongst you vagabonds, “bathroom tissue”.
    //maniacal laughter.

  • stickler

    Matt Weiner:
    But isn’t the first sign of the apocalypse an explosion in hops prices?
    As it happens, yes.
    Thus, the increasingly urgent need to plant hops NOW. Before it’s too late! It takes at least a year before the hops rhizomes produce commercially viable quantities of that lupulin goodness which will keep your family fed and your daughters unviolated. More hints here.

  • Dr. F,
    As a political science grad who became a journalist, obviously I’m screwed when the apocalypse arrives and absolutely must find a new career. Brewing sounds too complicated — how does one become an accredited acpocalypse specialist? Is there a correspondence course?

  • mia

    Don’t eat the cat food. It probably has melamine just like the dog food and baby food from China.

  • atheist

    Silly rabbit, we’ll be eating rich people first.

    Actualy I don’t think we’ll be eating them because they’ll be creating armed compounds, and hiring mercenary armies with all their wealth. Instead I think we’ll be eating each other.

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