I need a word/phrase to describe something that is part of a routine and guaranteed to happen. It's kind of hard to explain but hopefully, the example will help clear things up :)

I'm writing a story, which is from the perspective of a pet cat, and in this particular section, the owner is leaving to collect groceries and the cat is at home, waiting for the owner to return and with cat food.

"The isolation and sorrow I experienced every week for these lonely thirty minutes was only made bearable by the [word/phrase]"

Originally I had "only made bearable by the promise of cat food" but I felt like it wasn't quite right. Any suggestions will be appreciated.

  • "expectation of cat food"?
    – Barmar
    Commented Aug 31, 2021 at 5:22
  • I might suggest: "imminent arrival of". I wouldn't say "cat food" as to a cat it's just "food". Perhaps "dinner" or whatever meal it is works best. Commented Aug 31, 2021 at 19:52
  • You may want to describe the specifics, e.g., “. . .was only made bearable by knowing that I would soon hear the key turn in the lock.”
    – Xanne
    Commented Sep 1, 2021 at 4:19

2 Answers 2


I don't know if there is a humorous slant to your writing. If so, you might use something like:

... only made bearable by my dogmatic belief that cat food would materialize.

  • 1
    The fact that you included 'dog' in it is simply great!
    – m-Xylene
    Commented Sep 6, 2021 at 12:24

When I had only read the first sentence, "something that is part of a routine and guaranteed to happen," the word that fits that description best is "predictable." In your specific context, though, that might not capture the positive connotations the cat is associating with the food ("predictable" can be at best neutral, often negative). I would probably choose "... by the certainty of food." "Reliability" could be a synonym. "Expectation" has been suggested; "anticipation" could kick it up a notch. You could use "by the promise of food" in a generic sense, not to mean that the owner made a promise, but that an outcome is so certain as to be "promised" by fate.

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