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Etiquette visitors and pets?

chemgirl

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We are having a few small gatherings over the holiday season. We also have 3 cats.

What does everyone do with their pets when they have company; specifically children?

I prefer to just let the kitties roam free as per usual. They are fairly social so they like staying in the same room as us, but will find some out of the way spot to chill.

Usually all 3 are peering out at the group from under the Christmas tree. They are safe and happy so I'm happy.

We have a few friends with kids who want us to "do something" with the cats. They seem to think that the cats are going to maul their children or something.

So what do you do with your pets when you have company?
 

lulu

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I let my guys do whatever they want.It's their house. They have never attacked anyone and I doubt that yours have either.If kids mess with them the children will learn a valuable lesson.
 

chemgirl

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lulu|1450110497|3961255 said:
I let my guys do whatever they want.It's their house. They have never attacked anyone and I doubt that yours have either.If kids mess with them the children will learn a valuable lesson.

Exactly my thoughts. They have never attacked anyone ever. They might swat at someone if they were cornered, but then IMO the kid deserved it and better they learn with my cat than something bigger.

I just wasn't sure if I was normal or not haha.
 

momhappy

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I would be cautious with any pets around children and/or strangers. A pet can act differently under different circumstances and since you can't guarantee that nothing could go wrong, I'd probably keep them away from guests (especially small children). I have known a few instances where a bite or scratch from a pet led to a nasty infection. A friend of ours got a tiny cat scratch (from his own cat) and ended up with a horrible infection in his hand. I can't imagine how I'd feel if my pet caused any harm (by accident) to a child visiting my home.... I certainly wouldn't think that they somehow "got what they deserved" or that they needed to be "taught a lesson." I have pets and they are sweet as can be, but I can't completely control how my guests will behave, just as I can't control how my pet reacts to them. I can understand that you might feel that it's your home and your pets deserve to roam free, so I can respect that choice too.
Personally, I try to keep my pets away from a house full of guests, or at the very least (if it's a small group and/or people who have been around my pets before), I introduce them slowly until I know how they will react. I would feel absolutely terrible if one of my pets caused any harm to a guest in my home, so I prefer to be safe, not sorry.
 

Jambalaya

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Jeez, they're only cats, not Rottweilers! What is with some parents?

When I was a very small toddler, we were at my parents' friends house, and their Irish wolfhound leaped at me and pretty much landed on top of me. I wasn't hurt and don't remember it. My point is, nobody was being that precious about me! When I think that people back then were quite happy for a massive dog and tiny toddler to be in the same room, it seems silly to worry about cats. But I don't think that people were so precious about their kids back then as they are now.

A few years later, we were at their house again, and I guess I was about 13. They had another massive dog, which promptly lay down behind my chair at the dinner table. They asked if I was comfortable with that and I said no, at which they totally ignored me, acted as if I hadn't spoken, and carried on!

This is kind of like the sofa etiquette thread - my house, my rules. In many people's houses, the pets are on a par with humans, it's their house, and if their guests are uncomfortable they can leave. I have been treated like this many times in someone's home, and it was only a problem when I was a child and couldn't leave. No harm came to me though - I just am nervous around animals as I'm not used to them.

I think the cats should roam. I could understand it if they were large boisterous dogs, but they're not.

I had a friend with a small dog that could get snappy, and to her credit she put a muzzle on the dog when children came to her house. I'm not suggesting that you should muzzle the cats though! :lol:
 

Jambalaya

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Posting at the same time, Momhappy. I'm surprised your friend got such a bad infection from a cat scratch. My friend's cats used to scratch her all the time but it never harmed her. I did have an ancestor who died of an animal scratch but that was a couple hundred years ago before modern vaccinations and before antibiotics. I think with an animal scratch, the wound should be cleaned and antibiotics given as I have heard that infections can happen, but the person should get the appropriate treatment and the infection shouldn't get that bad. Perhaps they delayed getting treatment.

I can understand shutting three dogs away from children, but not so much cats.

ETA: My friend's little girl was bitten at pre-school by a little boy, and she had to go to the ER to get antibiotics and a tetanus shot. It's not only pets that can give a child an infection! You just can't protect them from everything. I'd shut dogs away, but probably not little kitties, who will likely just be peeping out from under the tree anyway.
 

stracci2000

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One of my cats is very social, and likes to be involved when we have guests. He may even jump on a guest's lap.
We always make sure a new guest is OK with this, and if we have any doubts, he (the cat, LOL) will be sequestered in one of the bedrooms until the visit is over.
I love my cats, but I understand that not everyone is a cat lover.
 

momhappy

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I had another friend that spent several weeks in the hospital for a life-threatening infection following a dog bite.... They both received medical treatment, but there are some infections that can get particularly nasty and difficult to treat. I'm certainly not saying that these types of things are common. I'm sure we've all had scratches and/or bites from family pets, etc. and everything is fine. Like I said, I prefer to be safe than sorry when it comes to guests (like small children) around my pets.
 

jordyonbass

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chemgirl|1450111227|3961260 said:
lulu|1450110497|3961255 said:
I let my guys do whatever they want.It's their house. They have never attacked anyone and I doubt that yours have either.If kids mess with them the children will learn a valuable lesson.

Exactly my thoughts. They have never attacked anyone ever. They might swat at someone if they were cornered, but then IMO the kid deserved it and better they learn with my cat than something bigger.

I just wasn't sure if I was normal or not haha.

Same here, my two little guys are kings of the castle and do whatever they want to do - which is usually lay around and do nothing or beg for a belly rub. If someone has an issue with being around them then they can find alternative arrangements as I would never ask them to do the same with their pets.

The only time I would possibly do something is if someone were allergic to cats, but even then I'd only put the boys in a bedroom for a few hours. Anything long term and the person will have to use medication as I don't feel it's fair to lock them up in a bedroom long term.
 

rainydaze

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I have always had cats, growing up as well as on my own. I've never needed to 'do something' with them as they all have tended to 'do something' with themselves! :)) For the most part, they have gone off and found a quiet place to themselves so THEY won't be bothered. We've had friends come over who are allergic, in which case we do confine the cat to a space farthest away from where we are visiting, and we make she s/he has water and a litter box in there. I'd find it odd if someone who wasn't allergic asked me to do something with my cat because in my experience they've always been innocuous, but I'd want my guests to feel comfortable and I don't know what history they might have with cats, so I'd oblige.

For me personally, it's dogs that have presented more of a concern. I have always been uncomfortable with dogs and have had several bad experiences with them (attacked as a kid). I find it unpleasant when I am visiting with someone who has dogs and the dogs try to get my food, bark the entire time we're talking, lunge or snap at me (yes, it has happened), lick me, or jump up at me. I think my body language is clear that I'm not comfortable and don't welcome attention from dogs, yet more often than not my friends won't find a way to remove the dog so I can relax and enjoy myself. Now that I have a dog, who barks a lot at people who come into our home and is unpredictable as to whether she'll stop or keep doing it whenever they're near, we let her outside or set her up comfortably in a confined space so that our guests are comfortable. Usually they'll want to make friends, in which case I read their cues and adjust accordingly.
 

Jambalaya

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momhappy|1450112713|3961273 said:
I had another friend that spent several weeks in the hospital for a life-threatening infection following a dog bite.... They both received medical treatment, but there are some infections that can get particularly nasty and difficult to treat. I'm certainly not saying that these types of things are common. I'm sure we've all had scratches and/or bites from family pets, etc. and everything is fine. Like I said, I prefer to be safe than sorry when it comes to guests (like small children) around my pets.

Really? Gosh, that's terrible. I had no idea that animal bites and scratches could turn so serious these days. :shock:

I'd definitely shut dogs away. With the cats, if I saw the children approaching the cats I might kneel down with them and teach them how to interact with them - i.e. point out how small the cat is and how important it is to be gentle when stroking the cat, and that if the cat's tail swishes it's best to leave them alone. Etc.
 

telephone89

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As far as etiquette, your guests have no right to ask you to 'do something' with them. They are coming to your home, they know you have animals, they can decline an invite if they so choose. I don't know your animals, but I know mine get very overwhelmed with people - especially children always trying to catch/play/etc with them. I put my animals somewhere else for THEIR protection! If your animals are fine with parties, or don't like being confined (my in-laws dog will scratch up the wall and door if locked in a room alone), then I'd say leave them out. I'd give the guests who asked a heads up. Depending on how you/they view animals I might approach it differently. You can always change plans midway through if you think they are getting ornery or the kids are being too annoying for them.

eta - I only put them away when we are having a large gathering, like 20+ people. If it's a few people over for dinner, they usually stay out. It is the hosts job to make guests feel at home, but not at the expense of the rest of the family. You'd never ask someone to 'do something' with their children before coming to their home. You should also not request that they cook you rack of lamb. Certain things you just don't do.
 

Jambalaya

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Rainydaze, your post brought back some childhood memories. Both my friends and I were cornered or threatened quite a number of times by dogs when we were children. One dog grabbed my friend's arm and she was wearing a winter padded coat. It really bruised her arm even through the coat. I had my own bad experiences, too - quite a handful of them. What it boils down to is that people just weren't as concerned about children back then, which was wrong. I do think the pendulum has sometimes swung the other way a bit too far these days, but people really weren't as nice to children back when I was growing up as they are today, and that included not protecting them from dogs. I knew a girl at work who had a massive scar on her cheek from a dog bite which happened when she was two. I think these things tend not to happen so much now.
 

lulu

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My cats really tend to hide out when people are around unless they know them well. The dog can be overly friendly so on occasion he goes into the bedroom. Not everyone likes being licked to death. Ditto if we're eating dinner and he starts the soulful looking the guest in the eyes to get a handout.
 

Jambalaya

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I just want to say that it also depends on the child. Some children are scared and won't go near the animals anyway, and some genuinely have a connection with animals and try to interact appropriately with them. And then there's the kind of child who thinks it's funny to tease them.
 

Niel

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I expect people to put their animals away for parties.

Not everyone likes my pets. I don't like everyone's pets.

You don't know why the kids will do unattended. Maybe they pull the cats tail?

Maybe someone is allergic?

Maybe they are afraid of dogs?


Too many variables.
 

Puppmom

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Depends, with family and close friends, my dog is free to do his thing unless he starts grubbing food at which point he gets a few warnings and he's banished to his luxury set-up in our playroom. :lol:

If we have a kid birthday party usually the same as above but I'm full disclosure with all parents etc. that I have large dog. If anyone is scared or really allergic then off to the doggy penthouse he goes. He would rather be there with his jar of peanut butter than be groped by toddlers.

I don't expect anyone to do anything with their pets for a party though. Whatever works for them. It's their house. If I had that much of an issue with pets or theirs in particular, I just wouldn't go.
 

chemgirl

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Thanks for the different perspectives!

Putting them away somewhere isn't a real option for us unless it is very short term. Our house is very open and there are only 2 bedrooms plus bathrooms that can be closed. One of our cats is epileptic and has injured himself by seizuring under the bed. We don't allow them in the bedrooms for this reason, so they would need to all be in a bathroom. Not much space for them.

My take on children and animals comes from my childhood. We had a cat who was very good with children. However, I had a cousin who would terrorize the poor thing. He would chase her and throw things at her. One Halloween he was dressed as a devil and thought it would be fun to chase her around and poke her with his plastic pitchfork. Eventually she defended herself. His parents were very upset, but my mindset was they should have told him not to bug the cat.

So my view is that parents should teach their children how to behave around animals.
 

Niel

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chemgirl|1450114355|3961289 said:
Thanks for the different perspectives!

Putting them away somewhere isn't a real option for us unless it is very short term. Our house is very open and there are only 2 bedrooms plus bathrooms that can be closed. One of our cats is epileptic and has injured himself by seizuring under the bed. We don't allow them in the bedrooms for this reason, so they would need to all be in a bathroom. Not much space for them.

My take on children and animals comes from my childhood. We had a cat who was very good with children. However, I had a cousin who would terrorize the poor thing. He would chase her and throw things at her. One Halloween he was dressed as a devil and thought it would be fun to chase her around and poke her with his plastic pitchfork. Eventually she defended herself. His parents were very upset, but my mindset was they should have told him not to bug the cat.

So my view is that parents should teach their children how to behave around animals
.

This is true, but do you really want your cat to be the test subject on which the kids learn this?
 

telephone89

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chemgirl|1450114355|3961289 said:
Thanks for the different perspectives!

Putting them away somewhere isn't a real option for us unless it is very short term. Our house is very open and there are only 2 bedrooms plus bathrooms that can be closed. One of our cats is epileptic and has injured himself by seizuring under the bed. We don't allow them in the bedrooms for this reason, so they would need to all be in a bathroom. Not much space for them.

My take on children and animals comes from my childhood. We had a cat who was very good with children. However, I had a cousin who would terrorize the poor thing. He would chase her and throw things at her. One Halloween he was dressed as a devil and thought it would be fun to chase her around and poke her with his plastic pitchfork. Eventually she defended herself. His parents were very upset, but my mindset was they should have told him not to bug the cat.

So my view is that parents should teach their children how to behave around animals.
For this reason I would not bother putting them away then. If someone asks, say they have medical needs and you need to keep an eye on them. Seriously, anyone who would flip out at the possibility of your cat having a seizure is a jerk.
 

chemgirl

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Niel|1450114712|3961292 said:
chemgirl|1450114355|3961289 said:
Thanks for the different perspectives!

Putting them away somewhere isn't a real option for us unless it is very short term. Our house is very open and there are only 2 bedrooms plus bathrooms that can be closed. One of our cats is epileptic and has injured himself by seizuring under the bed. We don't allow them in the bedrooms for this reason, so they would need to all be in a bathroom. Not much space for them.

My take on children and animals comes from my childhood. We had a cat who was very good with children. However, I had a cousin who would terrorize the poor thing. He would chase her and throw things at her. One Halloween he was dressed as a devil and thought it would be fun to chase her around and poke her with his plastic pitchfork. Eventually she defended herself. His parents were very upset, but my mindset was they should have told him not to bug the cat.

So my view is that parents should teach their children how to behave around animals
.

This is true, but do you really want your cat to be the test subject on which the kids learn this?

Very true. I do keep an eye on them when we have company so the kids don't mess with them. If the kids are really curious about the cats and their parents are game I usually introduce them and explain how cats don't like to be startled, but they can pet them gently if a grownup is present.

So far there hasn't been any issues beyond one kid who is terrified of cats. The cats left her alone, but she freaked out every time they so much as looked her way. I sort of feel this one isn't my problem?

I was just sort of taken aback that 3 different parents texted me about doing something with the cats so their children are safe during the visit. I sort of want to ask them what they plan on doing with their kids so my cats are safe.

Then I caught myself because maybe it's just an expected thing that animals go away somewhere when people are over.

Eta: I wouldn't actually say that to a parent, I just think it.
 

momhappy

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Niel|1450114712|3961292 said:
chemgirl|1450114355|3961289 said:
Thanks for the different perspectives!

Putting them away somewhere isn't a real option for us unless it is very short term. Our house is very open and there are only 2 bedrooms plus bathrooms that can be closed. One of our cats is epileptic and has injured himself by seizuring under the bed. We don't allow them in the bedrooms for this reason, so they would need to all be in a bathroom. Not much space for them.

My take on children and animals comes from my childhood. We had a cat who was very good with children. However, I had a cousin who would terrorize the poor thing. He would chase her and throw things at her. One Halloween he was dressed as a devil and thought it would be fun to chase her around and poke her with his plastic pitchfork. Eventually she defended herself. His parents were very upset, but my mindset was they should have told him not to bug the cat.

So my view is that parents should teach their children how to behave around animals.


This is true, but do you really want your cat to be the test subject on which the kids learn this?


Yes, I agree that kids should be taught how to respect animals, but I also agree with Niel on this one - my pets are my pets and not somebody's teaching tool...
 

lambskin

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Did you ask why the visitor wanted you to bannish the cats? Allergy? Prior cat or child misbehavior? Our cat typically hides when visitors come over. If there are a lot of people coming in and out I put our cat upstairs so he does not escape as he is an indoor cat.
 

momhappy

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chemgirl|1450115800|3961300 said:
Niel|1450114712|3961292 said:
chemgirl|1450114355|3961289 said:
Thanks for the different perspectives!

Putting them away somewhere isn't a real option for us unless it is very short term. Our house is very open and there are only 2 bedrooms plus bathrooms that can be closed. One of our cats is epileptic and has injured himself by seizuring under the bed. We don't allow them in the bedrooms for this reason, so they would need to all be in a bathroom. Not much space for them.

My take on children and animals comes from my childhood. We had a cat who was very good with children. However, I had a cousin who would terrorize the poor thing. He would chase her and throw things at her. One Halloween he was dressed as a devil and thought it would be fun to chase her around and poke her with his plastic pitchfork. Eventually she defended herself. His parents were very upset, but my mindset was they should have told him not to bug the cat.

So my view is that parents should teach their children how to behave around animals
.

This is true, but do you really want your cat to be the test subject on which the kids learn this?

Very true. I do keep an eye on them when we have company so the kids don't mess with them. If the kids are really curious about the cats and their parents are game I usually introduce them and explain how cats don't like to be startled, but they can pet them gently if a grownup is present.

So far there hasn't been any issues beyond one kid who is terrified of cats. The cats left her alone, but she freaked out every time they so much as looked her way. I sort of feel this one isn't my problem?

I was just sort of taken aback that 3 different parents texted me about doing something with the cats so their children are safe during the visit. I sort of want to ask them what they plan on doing with their kids so my cats are safe.

Then I caught myself because maybe it's just an expected thing that animals go away somewhere when people are over.

Eta: I wouldn't actually say that to a parent, I just think it.

I must say that I find that very odd - that they would text you asking that you take care of the cats :confused: I would never ask a host/hostess to "do something" about their pets. If I had real concerns about an animal, I honestly would decline the invitation. Otherwise, I'd talk to my kids prior to the visit and tell them that the animals were not to be touched (and then I would properly supervise my kids). I can see why you were taken aback because I would be too.
 

chemgirl

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momhappy|1450116567|3961305 said:
chemgirl|1450115800|3961300 said:
Niel|1450114712|3961292 said:
chemgirl|1450114355|3961289 said:
Thanks for the different perspectives!

Putting them away somewhere isn't a real option for us unless it is very short term. Our house is very open and there are only 2 bedrooms plus bathrooms that can be closed. One of our cats is epileptic and has injured himself by seizuring under the bed. We don't allow them in the bedrooms for this reason, so they would need to all be in a bathroom. Not much space for them.

My take on children and animals comes from my childhood. We had a cat who was very good with children. However, I had a cousin who would terrorize the poor thing. He would chase her and throw things at her. One Halloween he was dressed as a devil and thought it would be fun to chase her around and poke her with his plastic pitchfork. Eventually she defended herself. His parents were very upset, but my mindset was they should have told him not to bug the cat.

So my view is that parents should teach their children how to behave around animals
.

This is true, but do you really want your cat to be the test subject on which the kids learn this?

Very true. I do keep an eye on them when we have company so the kids don't mess with them. If the kids are really curious about the cats and their parents are game I usually introduce them and explain how cats don't like to be startled, but they can pet them gently if a grownup is present.

So far there hasn't been any issues beyond one kid who is terrified of cats. The cats left her alone, but she freaked out every time they so much as looked her way. I sort of feel this one isn't my problem?

I was just sort of taken aback that 3 different parents texted me about doing something with the cats so their children are safe during the visit. I sort of want to ask them what they plan on doing with their kids so my cats are safe.

Then I caught myself because maybe it's just an expected thing that animals go away somewhere when people are over.

Eta: I wouldn't actually say that to a parent, I just think it.

I must say that I find that very odd - that they would text you asking that you take care of the cats :confused: I would never ask a host/hostess to "do something" about their pets. If I had real concerns about an animal, I honestly would decline the invitation. Otherwise, I'd talk to my kids prior to the visit and tell them that the animals were not to be touched (and then I would properly supervise my kids). I can see why you were taken aback because I would be too.

Exactly what my mom would have done and what I just assumed most parents would do.

We do find some of our acquaintances are a little out there regarding their kids. One parent texted me before DH's 30th birthday party to ask what activities we had planned for the kids. Um what? It's a grown man's birthday. Sorry, but i won't be hiring a clown.

I'm not sure what is normal and what isn't anymore when it comes to kids!
 

momhappy

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^Well, therein lies the problem - there really is no "normal" when it comes to parenting. I like to give parents the benefit of the doubt and hope that they are just trying their best to raise their kids, but it's certainly not uncommon for a parent to overstep a boundary (like asking you to "deal" with your cats). I guess in your case, I'd explain that your cats can not be confined and therefore, kids should be supervised appropriately. As a parent, I wouldn't have an issue if a host/hostess told me that upfront.
 

Niel

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momhappy|1450116567|3961305 said:
chemgirl|1450115800|3961300 said:
Niel|1450114712|3961292 said:
chemgirl|1450114355|3961289 said:
Thanks for the different perspectives!

Putting them away somewhere isn't a real option for us unless it is very short term. Our house is very open and there are only 2 bedrooms plus bathrooms that can be closed. One of our cats is epileptic and has injured himself by seizuring under the bed. We don't allow them in the bedrooms for this reason, so they would need to all be in a bathroom. Not much space for them.

My take on children and animals comes from my childhood. We had a cat who was very good with children. However, I had a cousin who would terrorize the poor thing. He would chase her and throw things at her. One Halloween he was dressed as a devil and thought it would be fun to chase her around and poke her with his plastic pitchfork. Eventually she defended herself. His parents were very upset, but my mindset was they should have told him not to bug the cat.

So my view is that parents should teach their children how to behave around animals
.

This is true, but do you really want your cat to be the test subject on which the kids learn this?

Very true. I do keep an eye on them when we have company so the kids don't mess with them. If the kids are really curious about the cats and their parents are game I usually introduce them and explain how cats don't like to be startled, but they can pet them gently if a grownup is present.

So far there hasn't been any issues beyond one kid who is terrified of cats. The cats left her alone, but she freaked out every time they so much as looked her way. I sort of feel this one isn't my problem?

I was just sort of taken aback that 3 different parents texted me about doing something with the cats so their children are safe during the visit. I sort of want to ask them what they plan on doing with their kids so my cats are safe.

Then I caught myself because maybe it's just an expected thing that animals go away somewhere when people are over.

Eta: I wouldn't actually say that to a parent, I just think it.

I must say that I find that very odd - that they would text you asking that you take care of the cats :confused: I would never ask a host/hostess to "do something" about their pets. If I had real concerns about an animal, I honestly would decline the invitation. Otherwise, I'd talk to my kids prior to the visit and tell them that the animals were not to be touched (and then I would properly supervise my kids). I can see why you were taken aback because I would be too.

My father's grandparents adopted a rottweiler. The dog is fine, but snaps easily, as I've seen it "get into it" with one of his aunts dog. It was somewhat scary, even to me, one who has had 120+lb dogs. I do not trust that dog, period. They insist on bringing it to my mother in laws for holidays. I'll be damned if I'm going to let that dog anywhere near my 1 and 3 year old.

I text her when I am coming so that dog gets out alway.

And I teach my children how to treat pets.
 

Matata

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My cats are either out on their catio or locked in the master suite. When there are kids running around, usually in and out of the house and people coming and going, I want to be sure the cats don't escape the house. And, my crew of 4 fur demons would be walking across the dining room table, tipping over glasses and literally pulling food out of people's hands.
 

CJ2008

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monarch64|1450114205|3961287 said:
Keep the animals safe from the humans--put them away.

This...

I don't want to worry about kids pulling on their tail, or chasing them, etc.

And if they were older children and tail pulling or anything like that was not a concern I'd put them away if I knew someone was allergic or was afraid of cats, or if I thought anyone would find the cats annoying.

But I'd make sure the cats were comfortable and in no way would it be a punishment, you know? They'd have their scratching post, comfy bed, cat litter, water, etc. They'd just relax in there.

ETA: forgot to mention the door opening/closing that matata just mentioned - for that reason too - we are super cautious with the door but I never trust that the guests will be or won't forget, etc. So I find it less stressful for me if I know where they are, and I know they're safe no matter what the guests do.
 
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