Q: We are having a large family gathering for Thanksgiving? Should I include my cats?
A: I often write about cats during Thanksgiving, encouraging readers to keep cats away from holiday festivities because parties and cats tend not to mix well. A large Thanksgiving dinner also involves lots of extra food and fuss — a very tempting scene for curious cats especially those who like to jump up and inspect the preparations. You do not want that to happen on a hot stove, for example.
One cat I cared for, Princess, was so interested in what was cooking in the Thanksgiving kitchen she squeezed herself into an open pantry shelf — with the door shut behind her! With all the commotion her meows went unheard until the cat’s owner needed something in the pantry. You can imagine her shock when Princess leaped out and scrambled away, not to be seen again that day. The cat was fine but her owner needed a few minutes to recover.
Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday but include your cats only if you know they are completely comfortable with company — and that is rare. Also, separate cats and Thanksgiving kitchen prep (you know how they like to help) and count on your guests to be very respectful. Let your cats mingle with guests only if they are willing — never force an introduction, please.
Because most cats are not fond of changes to their routine, during Thanksgiving cats are better off in a cozy spot away from the party. I keep my cats behind closed doors with all the essentials when it’s my turn to have Thanksgiving. I always visit the cats a few times in the course of the day to give them some extra TLC and some turkey-flavored cat treats for being such good cats. When everyone has gone home, I make sure all garbage is securely bagged and out of reach.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and your wonderful cats! As always I welcome your comments and stories. Good News! My new book, “Cat Calls: Wonderful Stories and Practical Advice from a Veteran Cat Sitter” with CAT FANCY editor Susan Logan is now available in stores and online. Please click here for more inform