Your Cat Etiquette Guide: What to Keep in Mind If You're Hosting Thanksgiving

Cat on dinner table
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Your guests might lose their appetites if you let your kitty on the table. If your cat climbs on counters and tables, consider barring her from the room where you're eating until the meal is over.

Hosting Thanksgiving this year? As you plan your menu and prepare your house, keep in mind that having a cat means you need to do a little extra prep work in order to keep your feline and your friends and family happy and comfortable.

Help your kitty be on her best behavior on Thanksgiving Day with these simple etiquette tips.

Give Thanks for Feline Good Manners

Get your cat’s coat under control. You’re probably used to cat hair on your clothes, but your guests may not be. A thorough brushing can help remove hair that’s waiting to be shed — which means less fur flying around when guests arrive. And just in case, keep a lint brush or hair roller on hand in case guests wind up with kitten fuzz on their fancy clothes. Leave it on the counter in the bathroom so guests can easily locate it. If possible, hang coats so that your cat doesn’t lounge on them. If you have to pile them on a bed, keep the door to the room closed.

Create a cat-free party zone. Carefully clean the areas of your house where your guests will be hanging out. If possible, keep your cat out of the kitchen and dining room, or any space where food is being prepared and served. Guests don’t need to worry that your kitty is walking on the counters or tasting the gravy. And even if kitty doesn’t have her elbows on the table while you are eating, some guests may be bothered if you are feeding her directly from the table. If you just can’t help but sneak her a cat-friendly treat from the Thanksgiving meal, do so in her own cat-specific eating area.

Establish guidelines for your guests. It will be easier for your cat to be on her best behavior if your guests are also on theirs. If your best friend is bringing her toddler, talk with her ahead of time and establish ground rules for interactions before your cat and her child first meet. And be sure guests know about any quirks your cat has, like not wanting to be petted or held. Always appropriately supervise interactions between your friends’ kids and your cat, and make sure your cat has access to getaway spaces where she can safely retreat for a break.

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