I adore animals. And while my grouchy cat isn’t the friendliest kitty, I’m smitten with him and generally most four-legged friends I meet.
I do, however, respect that not everyone shares my affinity for pets and so I’m careful to quarantine him when need be. It means putting my company’s comfort before his, which as a cat he hates, but I think its important to make people feel welcome (and safe from a sneak attack, sad to say).
I wish that more folks shared my sentiment.
Properly training pets is key, as is recognizing that different people respond to animals in very different ways. Your dog’s quirky habits that you relish might not be so cute to someone else. Jumping up, nipping (at skin or clothing), sharing a seat (or becoming a seat, in some cases) are not great pet-iquette. In fact, these behaviours might be downright terrifying to someone.
More than anything, I cannot stand a fabulous meal being ruined by a whining animal begging for food. It’s not cute. And not surprisingly, feeding it to quiet it down simply reinforces this behaviour. If your dog or cat thinks he or she belongs at the dinner table, it’s up to you to tell them that they don’t. Because, well, they don’t.
(First published on She Does The City, April 2008)