DEAR MISS MANNERS: My cousin Dora lives an hour away from us. On the rare occasions when she comes for a visit, we have allowed Dora to bring her dog, even though we are not particularly dog lovers. We consider it a small price to pay for my cousin’s company and her peace of mind (because she can take the dog out on schedule).
Then we got a cat. When I mentioned it to Dora, she expressed revulsion and demanded that if she were to come for a visit, we lock the cat away so that she wouldn’t have to interact with it. She made no mention of an allergy, or of any history of her dog’s not getting along with cats, so it’s just that she doesn’t particularly like them.
Our cat is friendly, and will approach a stranger but then go away if she doesn’t get any attention. Do good manners require keeping her in another room when Dora visits?
GENTLE READER: They do, although Miss Manners recognizes that doing so will be doubly unappealing after your cousin’s behavior. Her reaction to your news was rude, and it seems unjust to lock up Snooky in her own home while the guest, Chester, runs free.
But such are the rules. Even the best-behaved air-breathing pets sometimes sniff or sit in inappropriate places, so a polite host will either quarantine them or obtain guests’ consent to some other arrangement.
For readers inclined to chide Miss Manners that Snooky has the same rights as the human residents of the home, she answers that she should then also have the same responsibility to make guests comfortable.