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Awesome Etiquette: Asking Guests To Respect Your Pet's Space

Dmytro Skorobogatov
Pets are independent creatures with their own personalities. Some pets love new people and others would rather just spend times with familiar faces. If you’re pet doesn’t like strangers, how do make sure house guests understand to leave your pet alone?";s:

All pets, like their owners, have distinct personalities. Some are friendly with everyone they meet and others seem to barely tolerate their owners. If you have a pet that isn't great with strangers, how can you make sure that the animal is respected and visitors understand how to treat your pet.
My husband and I have a very mean cat named Max. He is very sweet to the two people that he likes (the two of us,) and is very aggressive to anyone else. Max is usually content to just sit and watch our guests as long as they do not attempt to interact with him. When someone new comes in our home, we tell them that he is not a nice cat and to please ignore him. Unfortunately, people often do not listen to us. They tell us that cats love them or they think it's funny to try and talk the cat to get a reaction. This of course results in someone getting scratched or lunged at.

After this happens the cat is so defensive that it is nearly impossible for me to move him into a safe bedroom without injury and/or he starts swiping at innocent bystanders. Not to mention it is very cruel to him when these people taunt him, as he feels genuinely threatened. He definitely does not like getting put in timeout but we are happy to do it when it becomes a safety concern. My question is two-fold: Should our cat be put in timeout before anyone comes to our house even though he would not misbehave unless he was provoked by a human and can you tell me some sample language that people will not think is a joke when I tell them he will attack them if provoked?


Cat wrangler or human wrangler

The answer:

It might be best to initially keep the cat in a separate room. Don't think of it so much as timeout but as protecting the cat. It's good to think of it as a safe space for him. Keep the cat in a separate room and until you can gauge whether these guests are going to leave the cat alone or whether they'll try to provoke him.

For sample language, if you are letting the cat out to say something like "please ignore our cat for your own good and truly for his too. It's not fun to watch him get taunted and it's not fun to watch people try and see if he will be friendly with them."

The big thing is getting people to understand that it's not just about their safety but it's also the well-being of the cat. It's a real courtesy to remember that these animals are independent creatures and beings and for their benefit it matters how we approach them.

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