DEAR ABBY: We have a small house, and family and friends are always welcome. We also have six cats, and their care and comfort are paramount. We keep our cats separated so they don’t fight, so two cats occupy what used to be our guest room. We have explained this to overnight guests, several of whom are allergic to cats or don’t like them, and they insist “everything will be fine.” They then refuse to let the cats into the room during the day, while our distressed cats howl and claw the door.
There are simple things that must be done when living with cats, like making sure they don’t run outside (they are all indoor cats), keeping toilet lids down and breakable things out of their reach. Our guests don’t seem to care and they don’t comply.
Why is this so hard to understand?
To be fair, we visit with these petless folks, so we can’t ask them not to stay with us. I’ve even tried putting Post-it notes around, reminding guests to keep doors and toilet lids closed, etc. They reacted like they thought I was rude! How do we handle this politely so there are no hurt feelings?— CAT LOVER
DEAR CAT LOVER: It’s time to end the tradition of staying in each other’s homes. There will be fewer hurt feelings all the way around — your pets included — if, when you visit these folks you stay someplace other than in their home and suggest to them that they do likewise. This doesn’t mean you won’t see and entertain them — it only means they won’t be subject to your house rules, which clearly are not acceptable to them.
DEAR ABBY: My husband and I are divorcing. He has started a new relationship with a woman who is 14 years younger than he is, and he takes our 5-year-old to her house. I feel it is inappropriate because who knows if this relationship will last? My husband and I are still living together. He’s in the basement; I’m upstairs. I have tried to have a conversation about boundaries and doing what’s best for our daughter, and I don’t know what his next move will be. Living with the young lady? What should I do next? — MOVING ON
DEAR MOVING ON:There is a commonsense rule that parents who are divorcing should not introduce a child to a new partner until it’s clear the relationship will be long-lasting. At this point, you can’t control to whom your husband introduces your little girl. This is a conversation you should be having with the attorney who is arranging your divorce..
DEAR ABBY is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.