Ms. Geek Speaks: Emily Post Institute’s Pet Etiquette Outdated (and Misocynist)

Dear Emily Post Institute:

While I highly respect and even own your “Emily Post’s Etiquette (18th Edition),” this weekend I was alarmed to find that under the chapter “Living with Neighbors” (page 72-73) your subsection entitled “Pets” only deals with how dogs should be controlled. 

Specifically, you detail that incessant dog barking, damaging neighbors’ property (gardens), “pooping on their lawns” or getting into their garbage as well as aggression is problematic and should be given proper attention.

For cats, you write, “The independent feline is not governable like a dog.” This is wrong. Cats also poop on lawns and gardens and can spread zoonotic diseases to people and other animals. A cat can also damage property through scratching inanimate objects or killing other property (such as pet birds and/or other cats). Cats can also endanger lives when a driver swerves upon seeing a cat running across the street. Cats also disturb neighbors with their mating meowing.

I never garden without gloves because of cats. In the past, my neighbors and my gardens have become public litter boxes for cats. Most recently, I cleaned up cat vomit from my front porch. Certainly in the country, one would want a few barn cats, but in the country cats also become coyote appetizers and dogs are often allowed to run loose, too. Both can be shot if they become a neighborly nuisance and trouble other animals such as chickens or larger livestock in the case of dogs.

Just a bell on the collar to protect birds is not sufficient. Cats can also be confined in houses and in cat living facilities. Cats that are so confined will live longer, healthier lives. In today’s modern society, irresponsible cat owners need to be called out and the Emily Post Institute fails to do so.


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