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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Thursday, June 4, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Miss Manners: Hubs keeps stealing my subs

By Judith Martin, Nicholas Ivor Martin and Jacobina Martin Andrews McMeel Syndication

DEAR MISS MANNERS: Is it bad manners to finish someone else’s plate without asking?

I will leave half a sandwich to finish later, and my husband will come along and eat it without even asking if I am going to finish it. And most times it is the only sandwich like it. I cannot duplicate it or remake it.

GENTLE READER: Where are you getting these sandwiches?!

Miss Manners does not mean to suggest that your husband’s behavior is not rude, she is only caught off guard by the notion that your meals are seemingly irreplaceable. Because otherwise, she would suggest that in the interest of marital harmony – and knowing your husband’s proclivity – you find a way to procure two sandwiches before sitting down to eat yours. Barring that, you might tell your husband of your intentions to save the rest beforehand. And then quickly wrap it up and hide it from him.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: We have a small house, and family and friends are always welcome. We also have six cats, and their care and comfort are important.

We have to keep our cats separate so they don’t fight (everyone is spayed/neutered; they just don’t get along), so two cats live in what used to be our guest room.

We explain this to our overnight guests, several of whom are allergic to cats and/or don’t like cats, and they still insist everything will be fine. They then refuse to let the cats in the room during the day, while the distressed cats howl and claw the door.

Frankly, I don’t care if the cats take their jewelry, but I do care if the cats choke on it.

There are also simple things that must be done when living with cats, like making sure indoor cats don’t run out the door, keeping toilet lids down, and keeping breakable things out of their reach. It seems our guests simply don’t care, and don’t comply. I don’t see why this is all so hard to understand. The cats need care and consideration; they are not disposable furry houseplants.

To be fair, we stay with these pet-less folks when visiting them, so we can’t ask them not to stay with us. I’ve even tried putting Post-it notes around the house, reminding guests to keep doors and toilet lids closed, etc., which was considered rude. How do we handle this situation politely so there are no hurt feelings?

GENTLE READER: Well, it is too late for the cats, who have already been rudely locked out of their rooms and probably have something to say about it.

Miss Manners does have a certain sympathy for guests who do not wish to be woken up by persistent fur balls looking for fun – or having their belongings gone through in their absence.

However, you must be more forceful in setting the rules when you issue invitations. “You are so kind to say that you don’t mind cohabitating with the cats, but I am worried that keeping them safe is proving bothersome to you. I understand if you need to find another place to stay and of course, I am happy to do likewise when we visit you.”

Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, www.missmanners.com.

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