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being invited to eat where there are cats

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smartie Oct 3, 2008 04:41 AM

ok this is not an allergy to cats thread but how do you CHers feel about being invited to someone's house where you know, positively, that their cats are allowed to, and do, roam on the kitchen counters?

I love animals, have dogs of my own and have owned outdoor cats but I cannot bear knowing that cat's feet have been walking around the countertops where the food is being prepared.

We have been invited to a co-worker on Thursday next week to break the fast and I am put off eating there. I know the cats have litter trays in the kitchen and do not go outside.

Do I eat there or eat first?

  1. nofunlatte Oct 3, 2008 04:59 AM

    Since you know the cats are on the counter for sure, I think you should just decline the invitiation. If you go, it'll be uncomfortable for you AND it will be uncomfortable for the host/ess and any other invited guests. I'm assuming that this is a work acquaintance and not a good friend (in which case you can tell your friend the truth).

    FWIW, I have an indoor cat and she doesn't get on the counters (or coffee table or some such). The indoor/outdoor thing is not the issue.

    1. viperlush Oct 3, 2008 06:57 AM

      Do you know for a fact that she doesn't clean her kitchen counters and allows the cats on the counter while she prepares the food or are you just assuming?

      1. b
        beevod Oct 3, 2008 07:01 AM

        Sounds disgusting. I wouldn't go.

        1. j
          jacquelyncoffey Oct 3, 2008 07:17 AM

          Litter box in the kitchen is nasty, would you eat/cook in your bathroom? That being said, that's why I wouldn't go. Anyone who doesn't realize that it's just plain gross might not be too meticulous with cleaning. Cats having been on a counter doesn't bother me, you just have to clean them religiously, especially before preparing food. The germs a cat might bring up there are probably no worse than what's living on our hands, sponges, dish towels etc. As long as they haven't stepped in the food, it's fine with me.

          3 Replies
          1. re: jacquelyncoffey
            c
            chowfamily Oct 3, 2008 09:37 AM

            I do not believe the subject of litter boxes was raised by the OP.

            1. re: chowfamily
              l
              lgphil Oct 3, 2008 09:56 AM

              "I know the cats have litter trays in the kitchen and do not go outside."

              Next to last line of OP.

              1. re: lgphil
                c
                chowfamily Oct 4, 2008 04:07 PM

                You are correct, and I apologize.

                I'm guessing that this is necessary for some reason, but it would not necessarily impact the quality of the food.

                The OP should decline the invitation for the sake of all concerned.

          2. im_nomad Oct 3, 2008 07:17 AM

            I agree with viperlush.....not all pet owners are unclean that way, and you don't know if they clean the counters and what not. I love animals but i'm not a cat lover (allergies) and I have never been a fan of people who allow their animals all over the food or *shudder* give them a lick off something they're eating. I've never understood why cat owners allow them to roam about the countertops either, but it seems they'd be hard to control that way, if they can get up there.

            I have a dog, and even though she's little (thankfully can't reach counters) and not really a bad shedder, her hair does get round the place. I scour my counters before cooking anything for company.

            I'd be more icked out by the litter trays in the kitchen

            1. jfood Oct 3, 2008 07:40 AM

              Bagel, shmear, novey in the glove box. Leave Temple, open glove box, eat.

              Now show up at the co-workers, and do not eat the food if that is an issue. Stay around 30 minutes, shmooze and thank them for the hospitality. Go home open freezer and pullout the cheese blintzes you made. fry them up, a little sour cream, shoes off, feet up, bite and smile.

              Jfood has a very hard time with people who allow their pets to touch their own food and would be appalled if the little varmits crawled all over the counters. Blech.

              1 Reply
              1. re: jfood
                kbjesq Oct 3, 2008 10:24 AM

                This is the best reply, IMHO. OP obviously looking for an answer that will allow her to be polite in response to a gracious invitation but not have to eat host's food because of OP's aversion to the cat situation. Whether you agree or disagree with OP's aversion to the cat situation is irrelevant. Jfood solved the problem effectively. OP can socialize, but need not eat host's food.

              2. q
                queencru Oct 3, 2008 08:18 AM

                Count me in as someone who is more concerned about the litter box location than the fact that the cats can go on the counters. Assuming someone wipes down the countertops and keeps the cats away during meal prep, it's not going to be a problem. However, I'd be concerned if I knew a cat could leap onto the counter within seconds of doing his business. Litter boxes belong away from the food, period.

                12 Replies
                1. re: queencru
                  rockandroller1 Oct 3, 2008 08:31 AM

                  I certainly don't let my cat on any counters or tables, never have. But some of us don't have a palatial palace in which we can choose "somewhere else" to have the kitty box. I am certainly not going to put it in the middle of the living room, I think having my guests watch the cat pee and poop is not very nice. I don't want it in my bedroom and my bathroom is not big enough, it's hardly big enough for me to get in, let alone a cat box. The only remaining room is the kitchen. Why is that so awful?

                  1. re: rockandroller1
                    Glencora Oct 3, 2008 09:33 AM

                    Good point. Thank goodness my cats are old enough to go outside now, but when they were kittens I had to have the litter box in the kitchen, by the back door. It was as far away from the food prep as possible, right next to my desk. Ick. But we had no choice. I think I remember moving it and the kittens into the bedroom when we had guests. And then having to vacuum stray litter off the rug afterward. But you're right, we don't all have huge houses.

                    1. re: rockandroller1
                      manraysky Oct 3, 2008 10:09 AM

                      Same here. The litter box isn't going to go in one of the carpeted rooms. And it won't fit in the bathroom. That leaves the kitchen.

                      1. re: manraysky
                        PurpleTeeth Oct 3, 2008 05:05 PM

                        Litter Box is in the Pantry under a desk and kept clean and neat. Best place for it. And my Cat never gets on the counter's, we trained her out of that long ago.

                        1. re: PurpleTeeth
                          Kajikit Oct 4, 2008 05:29 AM

                          I think litterbox in the kitchen is kind of gross... I understand the lack of room though - we keep the litterbox in the half-bathroom that almost never gets used - that way there's an exhaust fan to help deal with odour issues and handy water for cleaning up.
                          I try to keep the cats OUT of the kitchen for safety reasons - it's too small for me and them as well! Of course they ignore the rules at will, but they generally obey when I'm in there, so at least I know I'm not going to trip over them when I'm taking a dish out of the oven. As for hygiene, that's why they invented dish cloths and germ-killing kitchen sprays. Unless there's some reason to assume that your host is unacquainted with hygiene, there isn't any real reason to avoid eating there just because they have animals in the kitchen.

                          1. re: PurpleTeeth
                            greedygirl Oct 4, 2008 06:31 AM

                            I'm impressed that you managed to train your cat, tbh! Mine don't go on the counters, but they do sit on the kitchen sink and look out of the window. They know they're not supposed to, because when I go into the room they jump down! I have also been unable to prevent them from sitting on the coffee table, which is annoying as it is made of glass/mirror and I am continually cleaning off the muddy paw prints. Grrr.

                            Noone has ever refused an invitation to my house because I have cats, btw.

                            1. re: greedygirl
                              cayjohan Oct 4, 2008 12:31 PM

                              gg, a great way to train cats from going somewhere you don't want them to is to construct a barier of empty aluminum beverage cans. Line the edge of your countertop with them (set back just a wee bit), say, or fill your sink with them, loosely enough so they can rattle around a lot. Persistent kitty takes a leap for the forbidden area and a helluva racket results. It takes some diligence on the part of the owner during the training period, but it really works. My cats won't go near the countertops or tabletops...and disappear even when we sort recycling! Of course, you may have to live with a wigged-out nervous wreck of a puddy tat for a couple of weeks, but the results are worth it. Cat-owners, please don't think I'm cruel - the cats have an aversion to the noise, and I have an aversion to paws on the countertop and tongue-tracks in the butter, so this method has allowed us an understanding.

                              Cay

                              1. re: greedygirl
                                alkapal Oct 4, 2008 05:23 PM

                                yeah, paw prints on the coffee table is one thing, but litter box in the kitchen is entirely a different matter.

                                1. re: alkapal
                                  greedygirl Oct 5, 2008 12:37 AM

                                  We don't have a litter box any more, but I wouldn't put it in the kitchen either. Mind you, the cats much preferred it when they had an indoor toilet, and I'm getting some dirty looks from them at the moment now the weather's not so good!

                                  1. re: greedygirl
                                    Catskillgirl Oct 5, 2008 02:01 PM

                                    And I'm sure your neighbors enjoy your cats using their gardens as a giant litter box as well.

                                    1. re: Catskillgirl
                                      greedygirl Oct 6, 2008 02:43 PM

                                      They don't roam so it's my garden they use.

                          2. re: rockandroller1
                            q
                            queencru Oct 4, 2008 05:33 AM

                            You're free to put the litterbox wherever you'd like, but it's important to understand that some people might not feel comfortable eating in a home where the litter box is in the kitchen. I just don't like the idea of cats peeing and pooping right near the food prep area.

                        2. danhole Oct 3, 2008 08:29 AM

                          I have 3 cats. Their litter box is in the garage. They are not allowed on the counters, but will sneak up there, from time to time, if I am out of the kitchen, but as soon as I walk in they scatter. Therefore, I scrub down the counter with antibacterial soap before ever cooking, or preparing anything. I had a friend who actually fed her cat on her kitchen counter and I did not eat anything at her house, unless it came out of the fridge, and was cold! YUCK! Litter box in kitchen, and feeding cat on counter - NO!

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: danhole
                            b
                            beachmouse Oct 3, 2008 08:35 AM

                            Same here with my cats- they know they're not supposed to be on top of the counters, save for the one between fridge and stove that's the path to the sleeping spots on top of the kitchen cabinets. But every once in a while, they do anyways, and I've had to be vigilant where they are when I'm cooling baked goods ever since the I busted the blue beast licking the tops of the corn muffins.

                            Chlorox wipes are my friends right before I start food prep on the counters.

                            1. re: beachmouse
                              im_nomad Oct 3, 2008 09:27 AM

                              well they are, after all, animals...it's not like you can sit them down for a meaningful talk and not have them try a stunt like that when you're not looking. :D I don't let my dog on the furniture either, but that doesn't stop her when i'm not home to look or when she attempts those stunts with "new people" around.

                              It's the people who actually openly allow their animals to eat, drink and be merry off their own plates and on their countertops that irk me.

                              Clorox wipes rule !

                          2. s
                            swsidejim Oct 3, 2008 08:44 AM

                            litter boxes in the kitchen? that is disgusting by itself.

                            I am a proud cat owner with 2 cats, and there is little anyone can do to keep them from going on the counter, or tables when the owners are not around. We just make sure to clean counter tops, and tables before using them, knowing they have probably been on them while we have been at work. I would hope other owners would do the same.

                            I would eat before going, or after I left.

                            1. Veggo Oct 3, 2008 09:17 AM

                              Your friend has cats. Whoopie. How can you infer that your friend prepares food on unclean surfaces? A bit insulting and lacking in trust. We are a nation of spoiled antiseptic brats, and judging by the responses so far, this thread is a cat hater lovefest in sheeps' clothing.

                              38 Replies
                              1. re: Veggo
                                jfood Oct 3, 2008 09:30 AM

                                Oh Veggo. Bet if you substituted dog in this thread you would get the same result. That's where jfood would come out. In fact he went to a dinner where the little dogs were very unruly and jumped on all the areas where the food was. The jfoods had some really good PB&J when they got home.

                                1. re: jfood
                                  Veggo Oct 3, 2008 10:18 AM

                                  Dogs don't do counters. They do lawns, persian rugs, and upholstered furniture.

                                  1. re: Veggo
                                    MMRuth Oct 3, 2008 10:22 AM

                                    Eh - big dogs can do counters.

                                    1. re: MMRuth
                                      Veggo Oct 3, 2008 10:33 AM

                                      Interesting. They must do sort of an angled approach, like the Fosberry flop in the high jump, so they don't smash face first into the cabinets as they arrive on the countertop. If there are no treats there to be purloined, I would think they would stop.

                                      1. re: Veggo
                                        MMRuth Oct 3, 2008 10:36 AM

                                        "If there are no treats there to be purloined, I would think they would stop." Ah, but there is the rub. Imagine a chocolate lab ingesting a foil wrapped stick of butter left on the counter,near the back splash, to come to room temperature. Not mine, of course, mine is the model (ahem) of good behaviour and a great deal shorter. But if he could, he would.

                                        1. re: MMRuth
                                          Veggo Oct 3, 2008 10:41 AM

                                          Foil-wrapped butter? Easier to imagine a sparkling termination to the dog walk the next morning...:)

                                          1. re: MMRuth
                                            OCEllen Oct 3, 2008 05:34 PM

                                            Oh, and all that butter....imagine the 'results'!?!

                                            1. re: OCEllen
                                              Ruth Lafler Oct 5, 2008 09:04 AM

                                              LOL. My precious Kelpie (see photo) is an unrepentant counter-surfer but the only thing that ever made her sick was butter. She stole a cube of butter I'd set out to come to room temperature and then threw it up on the kitchen floor in the middle of my dinner party.

                                              I've never seen her jump on the kitchen counters, but I know she could, as one of my other dogs did it once -- he was excited and jumping around and boom, there he was on the counter. Fortunately, Kelpie hasn't realized she can do it, so things are still safe if I push them away from the edge far enough.

                                              I have a pretty high tolerance for dog hair in my food, but I'm scrupulous when I'm cooking for other people. A litter box in the kitchen would not fly with me, and neither does the "house is too small" argument. If you don't want it in the bedroom, then why is it better to have it in the kitchen? And can't you at least move it to the bedroom when you have guests?

                                            2. re: MMRuth
                                              b
                                              baseballfan Oct 3, 2008 07:34 PM

                                              My huge Golden retriever can easily swipe stuff off of the counter...butter, foil or no foil, is one of his favorites. Nothing is safe including bread in the bread basket. He doesn't actually get up on the counter of course but uses his huge (apparently telescoping) paw to pull the items down onto the floor. Knowing this, counters are thoroughly wiped down prior to any food prep. Regarding litter boxes in the kitchen? NO NO NO.

                                              1. re: MMRuth
                                                cassoulady Oct 4, 2008 12:40 PM

                                                My kitty assists my two labs in getting things from the counter, she scoots the out of reach items to the edge so they can grab it. In my opinion, If the kitty on the counter bothers you dont go. Personally, kitties on counters dont bother me, mine is often lurking by the stove on the counter seeing whats cooking, but I know this might gross people out. But hey, at least you know there wont be mice droppings in your food, and that I think is far more gross than a counter-kitty. ha

                                              2. re: Veggo
                                                jfood Oct 3, 2008 10:58 AM

                                                OK Here's how it's done.

                                                Enter the kitchen. First youlook left, then you look right. If the people are not around you quietly sneak up to the counter with your nose slightly raised so you know exactly where the good stuff is awaiting. Lift both front paws onto the edge of the counter and take a peak on top. Then you swivel your upper body to the right so your front shoulder is against the edge of the counter. Now you slowly open your mouth and start leaning your head over the edge of the counter and adjust your angle so the mouth surrounds the food like a vice clamp. Slowly lift your head away from the counter and start leaning to the left. Bring the front paws down to the floor. Now here's the important part. Leave the scene of the crime. Find a quiet space and start eating. If you hear a scream from the kitchen you have 2 choices. 1 - eat very quickly, feels better in the short term, but an hour later you may regret it. 2 - run like hell away from the food. Chances are you'll get blamed and yelled at anyways but it's really fun watching the people grab a half eaten roast beef and run around and show every body yelling "look what the stupid dog did." Hey even a pooch needs some entertainment.

                                                1. re: jfood
                                                  d
                                                  Dee S Oct 3, 2008 11:48 AM

                                                  jfood, that's *exactly* what my dog did to get on the counters. Were you watching? Those darned pooches will eat ANYTHING!

                                                  I don't care what animal you own; if it's allowed to roam free, it will go where it pleases. I have had many animals over the years and clean the kitchen from top to bottom before cooking. Yes, I even sweep and mop before I cook. I don't want to find any dust, feathers, animal or human hairs in my food. That's just the way it is at my house. I don't let the animals beg and make them leave the room while we eat.

                                                  If you're grossed out by the normal functions of an animal, then don't go. Be polite as jfood mentioned earlier but don't eat.

                                                  1. re: jfood
                                                    cookie monster Oct 3, 2008 05:28 PM

                                                    That's exactly how it works at my house. And I'm still amazed at how quickly my dog, now 14 years old and not as spry as he used to be, can execute that manuveur. In recent weeks, when I was out of the kitchen for a minute max, he managed to grab and consume an entire cinnamon bun (a huge one that I would have cut into quarters for sharing) and we also had a near-miss with a container of pulled pork - he succeeded in getting it out of the hot food bag and was working on the scotch tape on the lid when I caught him. Thank goodness Whole Foods packs things so well. We also had a butter set out to get to room temperature incident like MMRuth, but my guy decided he didn't want to eat the whole thing at once so he buried 3/4 of it under the couch cushions to save for later. very nice.

                                                    1. re: jfood
                                                      p
                                                      Pampatz Oct 4, 2008 02:34 PM

                                                      Our dogs are little 10-pounders, so the kitchen counters are out. But the big ottoman in the family room is another story. Frank left a turkey and havarti sandwich on the ottoman when we left to answer the door. He and a neighbor talked for a few minutes and returned to an empty plate and Betsy and Layla licking their lips. Very unhappy man.
                                                      As to the litter box in the kitchen, I wouldn't worry. Go, nibble if you must and leave after about 30 minutes to attend another function. Give your friend the benefit of the doubt that she cleaned her kitchen prior to preparing food.

                                                      1. re: jfood
                                                        KaimukiMan Oct 5, 2008 06:22 AM

                                                        jfood, neat trick if you are tall. my mom had a welsh corgi... very short legs. We never did figure out how he got that loaf of deli rye bread down off the counter (in the corner no less). there were no chairs or anything else to ladder up from. But there was the empty bread wrapper in the middle of the floor, with a VERY thirsty (and guilty looking) pooch just outside the kitchen.

                                                        1. re: jfood
                                                          Ruth Lafler Oct 5, 2008 09:20 AM

                                                          Yup -- that's how it's done. The refinement of the technique that Kelpie uses is that she doesn't always pull the whole object on the floor, making the operation more stealthy. The first time I observed this was when I came into the kitchen and saw that two-thirds of a six-pound Costco pack of country-style ribs was missing: while every other dog I'd had would have pulled the whole thing off the counter (making enough noise to alert me in the next room), she'd ripped the end nearest the counter edge open and quietly removed as many pieces as she could reach. Since that was more than she could eat at one sitting, she took the rest of it outside and buried it. Then later that night she hopped up on the bed and tossed this disgusting hunk of dirt-encrusted flesh at me. Joy!

                                                          Dogs are omnivorous scavengers. They will, indeed eat almost anything.

                                                          1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                            Catskillgirl Oct 5, 2008 02:07 PM

                                                            OT, but I had a cat who could steal the ham out of a sandwich. He'd leave the bread, lettuce, cheese, whatever neatly between the slices of bread, but somehow hook out the ham and just poof! disappear. He had me scratching my head many times - how he did it I still have no idea. But when he'd eat something he particularly enjoyed, he'd purr "ham, ham, ham" as he was eating. He was odd. LOL!

                                                      2. re: MMRuth
                                                        greedygirl Oct 4, 2008 06:36 AM

                                                        My parent's old dog was once caught with both feet on the kitchen counter, scoffing a strawberry gateau that my mother had bought for a dinner party! It was the first time he'd ever done such a thing, and my mother was convinced that it was to embarrass her in front of some French guests. He also chewed one of their slippers - again the only time he ever did that.

                                                        My mother is a francophobe - so perhaps the dog thought he was doing her a favour!

                                                        1. re: MMRuth
                                                          alanbarnes Oct 5, 2008 10:38 AM

                                                          Even little dogs can do counters. We have a beagle cross who was prone to counter-surfing. He can just barely get his nose above the cabinets, but his tongue develops a remarkable amount of extension if there's something really tasty near the edge.

                                                          Our Jack Russell Terrorist, on the other hand, has a 4'+ vertical leap. He once jumped onto the dining table and polished off an entire pork tenderloin - 10% of his body weight - in a matter of seconds.

                                                          We finally resorted to mousetraps. A few on the table and the counters with a leftover hamburger patty nearby as bait quickly convinced the pups that keeping all four paws on the floor was in their best interest.

                                                          1. re: alanbarnes
                                                            alkapal Oct 5, 2008 10:52 AM

                                                            alan, i laughed to myself picturing your beagle with the extendo-tongue!

                                                            and mouse traps, ah, that is tough love, my friend. sure cured 'em fast, i'll bet. like water pistol (or the sight of my yardstick) for the cats here....

                                                            1. re: alkapal
                                                              Sam Fujisaka Oct 5, 2008 11:21 AM

                                                              Or a slingshot with balls of vegetable gums!

                                                        2. re: Veggo
                                                          jfood Oct 3, 2008 10:39 AM

                                                          Have you ever walked into a dining room where two small dogs were on the table eating directly from the serving pieces? Jfood has. Now jfood is about a big a dog lover as ever to have hit this earth, but there was no way jfood was doing seconds on the meal.

                                                          And to MM's point. One of jfood dogs (a dobby/pointer mix) in 1970 ate a three pound roast beef off the counter that was resting before slicing (jfood walked in as he was lickingthe juice off his paws) and one of mrs jfood's dogs (a golden) ate 3/4 of a cake off the counter one night and then showed up with icing on his lips in the family room.

                                                          1. re: jfood
                                                            lrostron Oct 3, 2008 10:42 AM

                                                            Or our one hundred pound yellow lab who helped himself to not one, but two tuna sandwiches left on the kitchen counter and then found me in the laundry room getting the tablecloth out of the dryer for the lunch table, lab was completely happy, fish breath and all.

                                                            1. re: lrostron
                                                              jfood Oct 3, 2008 11:00 AM

                                                              Nah, labs are neat. He was just looking to use the tablecloth to wipe his lips.

                                                              1. re: jfood
                                                                lrostron Oct 3, 2008 11:13 AM

                                                                That's sound about right for our Jake, if there was no tablecloth, it was the couch cushion.

                                                            2. re: jfood
                                                              greedygirl Oct 4, 2008 06:40 AM

                                                              We once caught my parent's old cat dragging a bag of frozen mince out of the kitchen - presumably he was going to let it defrost before tucking in!

                                                              1. re: greedygirl
                                                                jfood Oct 4, 2008 07:11 AM

                                                                reading quickly jfood thought you wrote frozen "mice", not "mince". What a thoughtful owner.

                                                                1. re: jfood
                                                                  greedygirl Oct 4, 2008 07:15 AM

                                                                  LOL

                                                                  On the subject of mice, I wonder how the OP stands on decomposing rodents in the dining room? We found one the other day that the cats had hidden behind their cat carrier. It was starting to smell a little.... In our defence, we had been on holiday for two weeks!

                                                              2. re: jfood
                                                                capeanne Oct 4, 2008 02:01 PM

                                                                Cast: one smart rescue Greyhound girl ( Molly...RIP) and DH
                                                                Location: Kitchen
                                                                Scene: Greyhound girl caught in the act of back legs on floor, front paws on counter and mouth wide open removing a loaf of french bread from kitchen counter
                                                                Finale: Greyhound girl realizes that she has been made and gently pushes said loaf back onto counter with her nose....and not a word was spoken

                                                                1. re: capeanne
                                                                  greygarious Jan 10, 2014 11:56 AM

                                                                  I can top that - or, rather, Puma, my late avatar Greyhound, did. Intoxicating aroma 2lb. whole wheat loaf from Great Harvest Bread Co. I knew it would be irresistible, even in its plastic bag, so put it atop my large microwave, which is on the kitchen counter. Went down to the car for the remaining grocery bags - gone maybe 3 minutes. Puma on sofa, head in bread bag, polishing off the last of the loaf. Looked pregnant for days. After that, I put a hook high on the wall, near the ceiling, and began hanging bread like a salami in an Italian deli.

                                                          2. re: Veggo
                                                            Scargod Oct 3, 2008 11:39 AM

                                                            I am in utter agreement with Veggomatic man. What do y'all have against cats? I suppose nobody's ever had mice or rats running around the kitchen? I mean do you hose down the countertops every time a mouse is spotted? What about insects landing on the counter? Let's hear a collective "ewwwwwwwww"!
                                                            I lived with cats for years (beacuse GF raised and bred them at one point). There were always three or four loose in the house. Occasionally the young male would walk the countertops. They are not hard to control. We had dinner parties frequently and to my knowledge nobody complained or stayed away. Cats are generally very clean. What harm are they doing? It's not like you are letting them assemble hors d'œuvres. Don't most people use cutting boards?
                                                            I have a dog and she is my scraps handler while I am cooking. MY SO knows that I don't touch food with the right hand fingers that might touch the dog (though she usually catches everything in mid-air). I wash my hands frequently. So I have my dog in the kitchen while I cook, and while we eat she is laying at my side; and she sheds. Sue me!
                                                            PS: most people I know move litter boxes to a far away place during a party. That would be thoughtful for the ewers.

                                                            1. re: Scargod
                                                              Firegoat Oct 3, 2008 12:26 PM

                                                              I did have a cat on the counter right at the start of winter last year. Couldn't figure it out. That cat NEVER got on the counter... but there he sat.... staring at a cupboard.
                                                              I shooed him off.
                                                              Bad kitty!
                                                              Later that night same cat on same counter... now trying to open cupboard.
                                                              Shoo!
                                                              Bad kitty!
                                                              Yeah..... that cupboard had a lot of dry goods in it.... a look inside found a mouse had come in from the cold through the attic, and decided to start eating on some rice and a granola bar......
                                                              When I opened that cupboard door that cat was in like a flash and on it.
                                                              Good kitty!
                                                              But seriously.... if pets skeeve you out, skip it, because your uncomfortableness will make them uncomfortable.
                                                              I couldn't imagine living without them, but if It makes you uncomfortable, I'm not in any position to complain.

                                                              1. re: Firegoat
                                                                Scrapironchef Oct 6, 2008 12:06 PM

                                                                My method to train cats off any surface was strips of masking tape sticky side up left laying around. My himalayan, while admittedly not the brightest cat I've ever owned, learned quickly and decisively not to get up on any surface I did this to a few times. A roomate I was having difficulties with because of her dog's behavioral problems used to pick up the kitty food bowl and leave it on the counter so her dog wouldn't eat it. I'd come home and find my cat sitting on the kitchen floor staring up at his bowl. Tey can be trained, it just takes persistence and consistency.

                                                                The roomies dog on the other hand was completely untrustable and climbed up on the tables and counter regularly to steal food.

                                                                As far as the OP goes, I've been skeeved out enough by the kitchens of people that don't even own pets. Cleanliness has nothing to do with whether you own a pet or not.

                                                                1. re: Scrapironchef
                                                                  The Ranger Oct 6, 2008 01:35 PM

                                                                  > I've been skeeved out enough by the kitchens of people
                                                                  > that don't even own pets. Cleanliness has nothing to
                                                                  > do with whether you own a pet or not.

                                                                  Bingo!

                                                                  1. re: Scrapironchef
                                                                    Catskillgirl Oct 7, 2008 03:21 PM

                                                                    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

                                                              2. re: Veggo
                                                                im_nomad Oct 3, 2008 01:02 PM

                                                                for what it's worth, i'd rather eat straight from a cat's dish than be called a spoiled antiseptic brat thx

                                                                1. re: im_nomad
                                                                  Veggo Oct 3, 2008 06:44 PM

                                                                  good kitty purrs.....

                                                                2. re: Veggo
                                                                  s
                                                                  smartie Oct 3, 2008 05:19 PM

                                                                  been round to her house, yes the cats sit on her kitchen table and counters. When there is food out too.

                                                                3. c
                                                                  chowfamily Oct 3, 2008 09:34 AM

                                                                  I would hope that any cook would wipe down counters, clean or at least rinse food, utensils, cookware et. al. before proceeding.

                                                                  I would either go and be polite about it, or politely decline.

                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                  1. re: chowfamily
                                                                    Veggo Oct 3, 2008 09:52 AM

                                                                    Another vote that declining a dinner invite, because host has cats, is a viable election?
                                                                    I am numb with incredulity.

                                                                    1. re: chowfamily
                                                                      Firegoat Oct 3, 2008 10:01 AM

                                                                      I think most pet owners that like to cook would by second nature wipe down counters before starting to cook, because even if the pets don't get on the counters, there is always those stray floating cat hairs (or dog hairs) that get wafted around.
                                                                      I wouldn't be concerned about eating there. Odds are she's probably more diligent about cleaning counters and utensils for that reason.

                                                                      1. re: Firegoat
                                                                        MMRuth Oct 3, 2008 10:04 AM

                                                                        Exactly. And I'm particularly careful (dog owner) when I have people over.

                                                                        1. re: MMRuth
                                                                          l
                                                                          lrbarbie Oct 3, 2008 10:12 AM

                                                                          well not everyone is so careful......one year at my ex's mom's house for xmas, i watched the dog lick the uncovered pies!!! yuck, i'm getting sick just thinking about it! and by the way i am a dog owner =)

                                                                          1. re: lrbarbie
                                                                            MMRuth Oct 3, 2008 10:19 AM

                                                                            I will confess to being less careful when it's just the two of us - and I can't promise anyone that they won't eat off a plate that the dog hasn't licked once upon a time, with then, of course, being run through the dishwasher. We do have close friends with cats who get up on the counters and, while I wouldn't want that myself, well, I just don't worry about it. I do think this is all a big issue for pregnant women, of course.

                                                                            1. re: MMRuth
                                                                              greedygirl Oct 4, 2008 06:44 AM

                                                                              And of course I've never found one of my own hairs in my dinner.....

                                                                    2. l
                                                                      lagatta Oct 3, 2008 10:25 AM

                                                                      Of course I'm lagatta, but I also am the honoured friend of an actual fur-bearing cat, Renzo. I have never seen him go on the counter (he has been trained not to) but he is a cat, and cats are contrary, so I have no idea on earth what he does whe I'm not around. I always wipe off my countertops before preparing food.

                                                                      Fortunately, there is a spot in my hallway for a washing machine and dryer, with room for Renzo's (covered) litterbox. However, when I was a girl, my very, very clean and tidy mum did put our cats' litterbox in the kitchen - once again, far away from food preparation and the kitchen table, near the rubbish container. Are people as upset by a trash bin, which no doubt contains putrefying food and simply dirty things you've had to discard?

                                                                      If you put the catbox in your own toilet, that means you must keep the door open at all times, and a lot of people don't like to do that.

                                                                      And why assume that people have a garage? I live in an upper flat, in a typical Montréal triplex (you know, the ones you've seen in pictures, with the outdoor staircases).

                                                                      I also wash the kitchen table (I don't have a dining room - the kitchen table is a nice antique pine table) whenever I am eating or have guests over, even if there is a tablecloth on. Not just cat hair, but ordinary house dust and grime in a city.

                                                                      Personally, I don't see why people would be upset about letting a cat lick their plates after them - I do hope you wash your dishes thoroughly before re-use! (I'm not talking about religious strictures here, just hygiene). Cats are probably cleaner animals than human beings are. No, I certainly would not do that if I have guests over (and don't do it anyway, out of concern for Renzo's own diet, not out of consideration for human feelings). But it is odd to be squeamish about animals as clean as cats are.

                                                                      Cleanliness is important, but there is an odd squeamishness in North American culture that can be very counterproductive.

                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                      1. re: lagatta
                                                                        greedygirl Oct 4, 2008 06:45 AM

                                                                        The amount of bacteria that lives in a cat's mouth is scary though. That's why cat bites get infected so often.

                                                                        1. re: greedygirl
                                                                          Scrapironchef Oct 6, 2008 12:10 PM

                                                                          More bacteria lives in the human mouth.

                                                                      2. BeeZee Oct 3, 2008 11:50 AM

                                                                        Let's separate the two issues:
                                                                        1) cat hater (or at least, not a cat liker)
                                                                        2) cleanliness/hygene

                                                                        I have 2 cats. One is not capable of jumping on a counter. The other has very rarely jumped up, only when she smelled something irresistable and I was stupid enough to leave it unattended. That being said...I understand that a lot of people are skeeved out by the thought that "maybe" the cat jumped on the counter. How many people actually do food prep DIRECTLY ON THE COUNTER? I have cutting boards, food always goes on a clean board. Someone can be suspect in the cleanliness dept without the presence of litter box in the food prep area, I know that as a cat lover I'd feel a bit woozy if I saw that.

                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                        1. re: BeeZee
                                                                          Glencora Oct 3, 2008 12:10 PM

                                                                          Come to think of it, you're right. Food goes onto cutting boards or into bowls, with the exception of unwashed produce.

                                                                          On the other hand, one of my cats has a habit of sitting in the sink when I'm not around, so I always wipe the counter, just in case.

                                                                          1. re: Glencora
                                                                            greedygirl Oct 4, 2008 06:48 AM

                                                                            Snap!

                                                                            And isn't our inability to control them one of the reasons that we love them? Mind you, I do wish Dylan would stop sleeping on the clean linen shelf. He has a perfectly good bed with built in heating, dammit (it hook over the radiator in our bedroom).

                                                                            1. re: Glencora
                                                                              m
                                                                              mlgb Oct 4, 2008 03:15 PM

                                                                              Like this? (Not my cat, but I do take care of him on occasion). He was at the time living in a tiny Parisian apartment. AND he looks good in a hat (see Avatar).

                                                                              1. re: mlgb
                                                                                Catskillgirl Oct 5, 2008 02:10 PM

                                                                                PERFECT example. Would I eat at your house?

                                                                                Absolutely!

                                                                                Would I worry about how clean your kitchen was?

                                                                                Absolutely Not!

                                                                                1. re: mlgb
                                                                                  Glencora Oct 5, 2008 02:20 PM

                                                                                  That's a small sink! Great picture, though. I'm glad I'm not the only one with a sink-sitting cat. She's water-obsessed and also sits in the bathtub.

                                                                            2. alanbarnes Oct 3, 2008 05:03 PM

                                                                              I assume you wouldn't freak out if you learned that your hosts had cut up a raw chicken on their kitchen counter. That presents a lot more health risks than a cat's feet. So long as the counters are cleaned up before food is prepared and/or served on them, it just isn't an issue.

                                                                              On the other hand, if you don't trust your hosts to run a hygienic kitchen, the cats should be the least of your concerns. At least with cats you don't have to worry about whether mice were running across the baked goods or rats were sampling the schmears.

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: alanbarnes
                                                                                BobB Oct 6, 2008 07:37 AM

                                                                                "I assume you wouldn't freak out if you learned that your hosts had cut up a raw chicken on their kitchen counter. That presents a lot more health risks than a cat's feet."

                                                                                Finally a rational response! Thanks, Alan.

                                                                                We have two cats who know that they are not allowed on the food prep counters - but of course, being cats, all that means is that they don't jump up on them while we're watching. So we always clean the counter before starting to cook. It is also true, as stated elsewhere, that food prep rarely takes place on the actual counter, but rather on cutting boards and such. In fact, the only time food directly touches the counter is when I'm kneading dough, and on those occasions I'm extra-careful to clean the counter thoroughly before starting.

                                                                                I think the bigger issue is whether your friends use proper sanitary practices when cooking - if they don't, it makes no difference whether they have cats or not, and if they do, again, cats are not an issue.

                                                                              2. Kate is always hungry Oct 3, 2008 05:50 PM

                                                                                Eat first. Giving your co-worker the benefit of the doubt, I would hope that the cats are not on the counter while she is prepping the food and she has wiped it down. What grossed me out at a party once where there was a cat and a small, very friendly dog, was guests petting them and then sticking their hands in the snack bowls.

                                                                                I've had both cats and dogs and always made sure they were safely elsewhere when I was cooking.

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: Kate is always hungry
                                                                                  l
                                                                                  lagatta Oct 3, 2008 06:34 PM

                                                                                  I don't have an "elsewhere". My flat is not tiny, but the renovation is open-plan. The only door I can shut other than hall and room cupboards is to the the toilet.

                                                                                  Fortunately Monsieur Chat is shy around visitors. But I don't think of him as a filthy thing I have to purify myself after touching, any more than my human friends or my houseplants. You'd hurt his feelings! And he is half-Siamese, and imperious.

                                                                                  I always wipe my counter when preparing food, even if I'm far away from Monsieur Chat.

                                                                                2. s
                                                                                  Sal Vanilla Oct 3, 2008 09:00 PM

                                                                                  If you are going - consider eating things that you are fairly confident have not been prepared on the counter. Like eggs, meat, prepared sweets like from the bakery danish. Steer clear of anything that had to be chopped like fruit or anything with veggies in it. I have a friend who has 8, yes, eight, cats who have the RUN of her home and have the litterbox in the bath near the kitchen. AND she is not particularly clean (she's nice OK!). I sort of use those guidelines and I always bring a goody making sure her cats do not get their little grubby paws on it.

                                                                                  1. ElsieDee Oct 3, 2008 11:20 PM

                                                                                    To answer in short: if you don't think that the cat's owner would thoroughly clean-off all cooking / prep areas before cooking, then I'd understand your qualms and likely wouldn't want to eat there either. But not just because of the cats' walking on the counter - any decent cook is going to clean before prepping food, regardless of whether or not there are cats around - and they will, hopefully, ensure that the animals are kept away from the food before and while it is being served.

                                                                                    I work in animal rescue / rehab, so there's always animals (domestic, exotic, wildlife) in our home - and sometimes in the kitchen. However, the animals are not allowed to roam around while I'm prepping / serving food, and while I like to think that the cats aren't going to get on the counter while I'm not around, I also know that they can reach the counter and likely get up there to explore. Regardless of whether I have animals in the kitchen or not, I scrub down all prep. areas before cooking - every single time.

                                                                                    1. alkapal Oct 4, 2008 01:01 AM

                                                                                      cat litter box in the kitchen? say it ain't so! i love cats, but not on counters/tables -- and definitely not with a stinkin, dusty, cat-#! and #2 in the kitchen. <gaaaacccckkkkk!>

                                                                                      this says a lot about the person's judgment about cleanliness. i would NOT go.

                                                                                      12 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: alkapal
                                                                                        l
                                                                                        lagatta Oct 4, 2008 06:10 AM

                                                                                        Where on earth would you put it? Imagine you live in a city apartment with a tiny bath, a bedroom, a living room used as home office, and a large kitchen/dining room (the latter is typical of Montréal for cultural reasons). Fortunately I don't have to as I have a laundry nook that is also a litterbox nook (the litterbox is the covered type), but if not, the kitchen - well away from food prep and dining table areas - is the only logical place the box could be kept.

                                                                                        I'm thinking of a friend - very clean housekeeper, and no, her fat old cat doesn't jump up onto the counters - and the catbox is indeed in the kitchen, but in the same corner as the rubbish and recycling bins, well away from food prep areas.

                                                                                        Taking cooking classes, proper prep started with making sure all food prep areas were clean - freshly washed before preparing food, even if they had been cleaned after the previous meal or food-prep session. Whether or not there are pets, a smoker or any other source of household contamination.

                                                                                        1. re: lagatta
                                                                                          l
                                                                                          Lizard Oct 4, 2008 07:01 AM

                                                                                          The place you described is palatial compared to what I had back in NYC. I lived in a studio and there was no room in the bathroom for a catbox. The kitchen was the only logical place and, sorry, Alkapal, I am an obsessive housekeeper with a pretty solid judgement about hygiene. Everything was wiped down regularly. My guess is that those of us aware of certain issues in the kitchen become hyper-vigilant.

                                                                                          The choice says more about privilege of space than about a person's sense of kitchen hygiene. Please, there are enough people out there who forget to wash their hands before even starting to handle food. Or those who go from raw chicken to vegetables.

                                                                                          1. re: Lizard
                                                                                            q
                                                                                            queencru Oct 4, 2008 07:30 AM

                                                                                            For some it is about kitchen hygiene. I've lived in plenty of tiny spaces before and would probably choose not to have a cat before putting a litter box in the kitchen. That's just my personal preference based on how I feel about having cats do their thing in the kitchen.

                                                                                            1. re: queencru
                                                                                              rockandroller1 Oct 4, 2008 08:24 AM

                                                                                              some of us have unfortunately been forced to downsize our living spaces. I already had the cat when I moved to a smaller space where there is literally no other place to put it. My personal preference would not be to take my cat to a shelter just because some people find it distasteful for me to have her catbox in the kitchen. It's not like it's right next to the food, jeez.

                                                                                              And my cat has never gotten on the counters or tables. Now that she is 15, there's certainly no danger of that.

                                                                                              I think people should get over themselves. If the owner is a clean housekeeper, which you can tell by looking at other things, it shouldn't be a concern. But it's true, some people just have weird phobias and hangups. I probably wouldn't be inviting those people over anyway.

                                                                                              1. re: rockandroller1
                                                                                                Scargod Oct 4, 2008 09:31 AM

                                                                                                I agree. A person who can't deal with the potential sight of animals urinating and defecating, may not be happy regardless of how sanitary things are.

                                                                                                The box for doing "things" may be relocated for the party anyway. I would find it objectionable if the litter or contents smell was in the room

                                                                                            2. re: Lizard
                                                                                              l
                                                                                              lagatta Oct 4, 2008 11:11 AM

                                                                                              My apartment is a perfectly decent size for one person; there is plenty of room for at least 8 bookcases, two work tables in the home office etc. It isn't cramped (yes, I've lived in far, far smaller in Paris and it would be the same in NYC because of crowding and high rents in those huge cities) but doesn't really have closing doors (except the loo, of course) since the building was renovated.

                                                                                              I'd never get rid of my cat under any circumstances. I was living in a much bigger place when he adopted us, but life changes, eh?

                                                                                              I have a covered litterbox with a carbon filter. It doesn't smell. Of course it would if it didn't change it, but a human bathroom can get stinky too if you don't keep it clean.

                                                                                              I have friends who have worked in restaurants who could tell the O.P. REAL horror stories about hygiene!

                                                                                              1. re: lagatta
                                                                                                Catskillgirl Oct 4, 2008 12:04 PM

                                                                                                "I'd never get rid of my cat under any circumstances"
                                                                                                Thank goodness - someone I can respect in this thread! I have multiple cats, and yes, there's a litter box in the kitchen. It's kept clean as is the rest of my house.

                                                                                                If somebody is so cat-phobic that they can't bear the thought of eating at a house where cats dwell, then I would never invite them to my home. Period. I just don't care to know people like that.

                                                                                                1. re: Catskillgirl
                                                                                                  l
                                                                                                  lagatta Oct 4, 2008 12:40 PM

                                                                                                  Nor the poster's mum who is a francophobe. Elle n'est PAS la bienvenue chez moi!

                                                                                                  I have five housekeys, to catperson friends' houses. We sit each other's cats when one of us is travelling. (These people are all rather foodie, by the way. And none of them has a filthy kitchen).

                                                                                                  1. re: lagatta
                                                                                                    Catskillgirl Oct 4, 2008 01:13 PM

                                                                                                    Now that I think about it, ALL of my friends have cats &and/or dogs. Which is probably why I like them in the first place! I find people with pets are much more relaxed and not as concerned with appearances. Which does not make us pigs in the kitchen...

                                                                                                    1. re: lagatta
                                                                                                      greedygirl Oct 5, 2008 12:43 AM

                                                                                                      What a shame for her that she got a daughter who studied French, eh? I don't understand her attitude either, as we know a lot of very kind French people. It's got something to do with French farmers, blockades and apples. I've given up arguing!

                                                                                                      In mitigation, she is a cat lover. When we had cats when I was a kid they used to go on the kitchen counters and were fed there (because we also had dogs). My mother is the cleanest person I know and you could eat off the floor in her house, seriously.

                                                                                              2. re: lagatta
                                                                                                alkapal Oct 4, 2008 05:34 PM

                                                                                                i do not care where you put it , but do NOT put it ii the kitchen! cat box in a kitchen... no excuse. as i said, i love cats, dearly, but cat box in the kitchen is WAY beyond the pale.

                                                                                                1. re: alkapal
                                                                                                  s
                                                                                                  swsidejim Oct 6, 2008 07:14 AM

                                                                                                  I agree with you,

                                                                                                  I lived in a small(under 700 sq foot) 1 room studio, with my wife and 2 cats back in the day. We found room in the bathroom for the one litter box.

                                                                                                  Now we put the 2 boxes in the laudry/utility room, and everyone is happy.

                                                                                            3. n
                                                                                              NE_Elaine Oct 4, 2008 06:16 AM

                                                                                              Unless you have a real reason to think that this person prepares food in an unsafe manner, I would go and enjoy the party. Any time you eat something that is prepared by somebody else you have to put a certain amount of trust in them. It doesn't really matter whether the cook has pets or children or a SO that might stick a finger in for a quick taste.

                                                                                              I have 2 Great Pyrenees, which are very large, long haired dogs. Whenever I cook, I am always very careful to wipe tables and countertops.

                                                                                              1. thew Oct 4, 2008 09:58 AM

                                                                                                wouldnt bother me much

                                                                                                1. m
                                                                                                  mlgb Oct 4, 2008 10:25 AM

                                                                                                  You're invited there to break the fast and you won't eat there? That's going to be seen as rude. I think you need an excuse not to go, since you're so worked up about it.

                                                                                                  It wouldn't bother me any more than eating in a restaurant where you have no idea what's going on behind the scenes.

                                                                                                  (It should be obvious from my icon that I'm on the cat's side).

                                                                                                  1. Veggo Oct 4, 2008 02:57 PM

                                                                                                    I wear a cheshire cat grin as I observe that kitty people have moved the needle to their side in the 2nd half of this thread.
                                                                                                    Those who would turn down a dinner invite on account of a cat in the house, to me, suffer all the anxieties of a blind man in a dark room searching for a black cat that isn't there.

                                                                                                    1. steve h. Oct 4, 2008 03:24 PM

                                                                                                      like cats. like dogs. i remember a jfood-like moment when my doberman decided a steak resting on the counter would make a tasty morsel. i was young, low single digits, and did a tug of war with my dog. i thought it was fun, my folks, when they found out, were amazed i wasn't part of the menu.

                                                                                                      a long short: i never feed our dogs or cats "people" food. hanging out in the dining room is verboten to the four-legged guys.

                                                                                                      i'm pretty soft-spoken. haven't had too many transgressions. pets seem to have a pretty large vocabulary.

                                                                                                      1. meatn3 Oct 4, 2008 10:29 PM

                                                                                                        A litter box in the kitchen would be my last place of choice. I have noticed that litter boxes in close quarters tend to be well kept. If the box is in the garage or basement, well, out of sight- out of mind can easily happen. Now a box needing attention is not going to increase ones appetite by any means, if that is the case I can see where dining there might not be enjoyable. Same with other objectionable odors such as a dirty dog, gym shoes, etc. A good host will have dealt with these, and other housekeeping matters before guests arrive.

                                                                                                        I would not view the box location as a summary of the persons kitchen hygiene. As others have said, there are many visual clues to gauge housekeeping skills. Hand washing, using clean implements, proper food storage techniques are more critical to my mind.

                                                                                                        Hopefully the OP will be able to go and enjoy the friends hospitality. If things feel dicey once there, avoid the raw veggies and such...enjoy a drink and the cooked or items prepared off site or perhaps say you break your fast gradually...

                                                                                                        1. BamiaWruz Oct 5, 2008 02:32 AM

                                                                                                          I'm a cat lover and I would not go, if that's the case with cats on the counter. It's one thing to have cats and it's another to let them roam and get on the counters and keep the place unclean.

                                                                                                          Our cat hardly goes up on the counters, in fact I don't think any of them did. That sounds really terrible, and what an awkward situation.

                                                                                                          1. danhole Oct 5, 2008 06:39 AM

                                                                                                            Smartie,

                                                                                                            I have been thinking about this and have a follow up question. You say that the cats have "litter trays" in the kitchen, so does that mean that they are open trays, or are they contained boxes? In the case of a very small place where there is no room for the cat box to go, if you had one of those boxes that had the swinging door, and the carbon filter on the top, keeping it diligently clean and in a discreet place it might not be that bad. Now if it is a tray and you can actually see the contents, well . . . We used to live in a small apt. and our cat box went into the bathroom which, believe it or not, was larger than our kitchen! It was a tight fit, but the kitchen was so tiny you could stand in one spot and just swivel around and reach everything you needed. When I was PG I almost didn't fit into it!

                                                                                                            7 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: danhole
                                                                                                              s
                                                                                                              smartie Oct 5, 2008 07:07 AM

                                                                                                              they are icky open trays.

                                                                                                              I have had cats of my own. I am not against cats or dogs or any other pets in a house. I just don't like the idea of cat paws around food. I know all sorts of stuff goes on in restaurant kitchens and people's kitchens. I just don't wanna see it and be made aware of it.

                                                                                                              1. re: smartie
                                                                                                                m
                                                                                                                mlgb Oct 5, 2008 07:42 AM

                                                                                                                Those cat's paws have pretty much been everywhere, haven't they? This sounds like a case of "Feh, feelty Ket" no matter how much your coworker cleans up and puts the box out of sight for the event. My bubby was the same way. Since you are so sensitive to the issue, why are you even going? After all, it's a coworker, not a good friend. Get sick ahead of time.

                                                                                                                1. re: smartie
                                                                                                                  l
                                                                                                                  lagatta Oct 5, 2008 07:48 AM

                                                                                                                  An enclosed kitty loo would make a great gift! I wouldn't want to see little turds in any room in the house either (sure I have to see them when scooping them out, but that is part of the package, like changing a baby or cleaning up other messes that are part of life). Cats, who are fastidious and private creatures, prefer them anyway.

                                                                                                                  I presume cat people know the spray-bottle trick (the ones used to mist plants). Now I just have to point it as Monsieur le Chat and he "forgets" he was going to go after some fish on the counter or my table.

                                                                                                                  smartie, is there any other place you can go to break your Yom Kippur fast? Or are these people friends from your congregation? Because there is no point in going if you'll be uncomfortable, especially after many hours without drinking or eating.

                                                                                                                  1. re: lagatta
                                                                                                                    s
                                                                                                                    smartie Oct 5, 2008 09:20 AM

                                                                                                                    I will go but I will nosh at home first then just have a cookie (that I am bringing). She is likely to use paper plates.

                                                                                                                  2. re: smartie
                                                                                                                    danhole Oct 5, 2008 09:34 AM

                                                                                                                    Oh no! That would be a real deal breaker for me, too, smartie, and I am an animal lover. You are very nice to still even go and have a cookie.

                                                                                                                    1. re: smartie
                                                                                                                      meatn3 Oct 5, 2008 12:53 PM

                                                                                                                      "they are icky open trays."

                                                                                                                      That does change things a bit in my mind....Covered boxes cut back on many of the problems...

                                                                                                                      1. re: meatn3
                                                                                                                        girloftheworld Jan 7, 2014 05:21 PM

                                                                                                                        why are these cats not using the toliet like all smart kitties do???

                                                                                                                  3. alkapal Oct 5, 2008 10:00 AM

                                                                                                                    it is not only what is IN the trays (and there is always some residual you-know-what somewhere in the tray, stuck to the plastic bottom or sides), BUT there is also the dust and possible pathogens stirred up into the environment by virtue of the digging/burying kitty-cat, AND litter tracking. these are problems even with covered trays.

                                                                                                                    oh, and it *just* struck me (DU-UH!) that there is MORE THAN ONE tray!!! double- or triple- gaaaaaaccccccckkkkkk!!

                                                                                                                    1. b
                                                                                                                      Bite Me Oct 5, 2008 02:14 PM

                                                                                                                      You know for a fact that the cats are on the counters and the litter box is in the kitchen, and you know that you are disgusted before even getting there. So, if I were you, I would decline or, if you go, stay briefly and don't eat. I love my cat, and my other cat who died two years ago, but i undertand that my DH is disgusted by them. My husband calls my cat "poopy paws" and that is because, no matter how fastidious you try to be with cleaning the box, busy working people can never quite keep up with it. Multiple cats should have one box per cat, too, because they otherwise get very dirty very quickly. Our kitties were trained to not go on the kitchen counters, but they do go on the dining room table and chairs. I never prepare anything directly on a counter or table top. I use chopping blocks, plates, etc. I clean the table off before company, but not before my DH and I sit down to eat. The litter box is in a bathroom no one uses, but in the early days, in another place, it was in a pantry off the kitchen. Not the best idea, but I felt limited in my choices. I am the first to confess that technically I have an "F" kitchen. My DH will not use our master bathroom which has two sinks because my cat likes to play in my sink. She walks accross the counter, past his sink, to mine, and then climbs in and waits for the water to be turned on. My DH uses the sink in a guest bathroom. I don't blame him. He doesn't want miss poopy paws walking where he puts his toothbrush, dental floss, etc., even though those items are not laying on the counter. I totoally undertand what he says, but I don't mind if she does it on my sink, so separate bathrooms is fine with me! Kitties in the house = F, iMHO, but I love the little goofball. She's 14.5 years old and I miss her brother daily. Wouldn't change it for the world, but I can appreciate how you feel completely. Let us know what you decide.

                                                                                                                      1. Scrapironchef Oct 6, 2008 12:57 PM

                                                                                                                        OK, you probably won't want to eat at this resto either then --

                                                                                                                        http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/7654...

                                                                                                                        1. a
                                                                                                                          Al_Pal Oct 6, 2008 08:21 PM

                                                                                                                          I would never eat there. My boyfriend and I have a cat, and he thinks I'm crazy for freaking out when it jumps up on the kitchen counter. But all I can picture are its feet in the litter box and then on my counter, where I prepare my food. I wouldn't want ANY feet, regardless of who or what they belong to, on the same surface as my food.

                                                                                                                          13 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: Al_Pal
                                                                                                                            alanbarnes Oct 6, 2008 08:27 PM

                                                                                                                            What's wrong with feet? Stock made with chicken feet is delicious. Pig's feet add a great unctuousness to pozole. Okay, so goose webs are getting a little exotic, but you get the picture.

                                                                                                                            Is it just the fact that the cat stands in the litterbox? Seriously, if the potential for exposure to fecal matter is what's worrying you you need to check out the statistics for presence of fecal coliform in ground beef. Or even fresh vegetables.

                                                                                                                            There's nothing wrong with having an irrational "ick" reaction, but if you think about it, a cat's feet are pretty clean. And if you want to keep kitty off the counters, just put out a few mousetraps or strips of doublestick tape. They learn quick.

                                                                                                                            1. re: Al_Pal
                                                                                                                              q
                                                                                                                              queencru Oct 7, 2008 04:37 AM

                                                                                                                              Just out of curiosity, I asked some other people I know about the litterbox in the kitchen and the answer was a unanimous "Gross!" because they do not want fecal matter in the kitchen. Even if a person is clean, they can't be in the house every second of the day to make sure stuff isn't tracked about or onto the kitchen counter after the cat uses the litter box.

                                                                                                                              1. re: queencru
                                                                                                                                alkapal Oct 7, 2008 05:09 AM

                                                                                                                                my niece also thought it yukky --- and made a good point: in "pot luck" settings, you have little idea what the prep conditions were like. in the case here, it would be "POTTY luck."
                                                                                                                                [-)

                                                                                                                                1. re: queencru
                                                                                                                                  Scargod Oct 8, 2008 07:26 PM

                                                                                                                                  I asked my circle of friends and they all said "cool!". My circle of friends like throwing cow patties...

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Scargod
                                                                                                                                    Veggo Oct 8, 2008 07:32 PM

                                                                                                                                    Which travel only half the distance of sail rabbits...

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Veggo
                                                                                                                                      Scargod Oct 8, 2008 07:48 PM

                                                                                                                                      There are jack rabbits, and then there are "flat rabbits".

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Scargod
                                                                                                                                        Veggo Oct 8, 2008 08:09 PM

                                                                                                                                        A sail rabbit is a flattened road-kill jackrabbit almost as thin as sheet metal and desicated more than jerky, with aerodynamic balance and lift that make tournament 175 gram Frisbees seem like whiffle balls. Once while hitchhiking in the early 70's in Webb County,TX, I launched a sail rabbit well over 100 meters.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Veggo
                                                                                                                                          Sam Fujisaka Oct 8, 2008 08:29 PM

                                                                                                                                          Roadkill from a semi is better. The parallel front and back feet, curved spine, and with ears for stabilization give you a perfect boomerang.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Veggo
                                                                                                                                            Scargod Oct 8, 2008 08:56 PM

                                                                                                                                            Mighty tall tale for a non-Texan! Not really that much of an accomplishment, anyway.... I can spit a watermellon seed that far, and knock those sail rabbits out of the air.
                                                                                                                                            Did you know that a jack rabbit will stop and listen if you whistle real loud?

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Veggo
                                                                                                                                              alanbarnes Oct 8, 2008 09:18 PM

                                                                                                                                              Son, you'd be well advised not to use the word "meters" in Webb County, TX.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Veggo
                                                                                                                                                Firegoat Oct 9, 2008 03:28 AM

                                                                                                                                                We can those "skitter kitties" over here in Oklahoma ... which applies to rabbits, possums, raccoons etc..... everything pretty much except for armadillos (speed bumps)

                                                                                                                                      2. re: Al_Pal
                                                                                                                                        l
                                                                                                                                        lagatta Oct 7, 2008 07:00 AM

                                                                                                                                        Yes, we usually use our hands and TP to attend to our ... er ... business. And hopefully wash them thoroughly afterwards. All cats lick their paws and the rest of themselves, spending a large percentage of their waking time on cleanliness. If only all human beings were so scrupulous about personal hygiene.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Al_Pal
                                                                                                                                          JamieK Oct 7, 2008 07:10 PM

                                                                                                                                          So just to clarify, you prep food directly on your counter?

                                                                                                                                        2. m
                                                                                                                                          melly Oct 7, 2008 01:06 PM

                                                                                                                                          We have cats. Their litter box is clean and in the laundry room. When we have guests, our cats are kept in a seperate room. I clean our counter tops very well before, during, and after cooking....I wash my hands often. If this isn't good enough...then don't eat at my house. :)

                                                                                                                                          1. Scrapironchef Oct 8, 2008 10:17 AM

                                                                                                                                            Smartie - what sort of sanitation check do you apply to your non pet owning friends?

                                                                                                                                            1. Firegoat Oct 9, 2008 03:30 AM

                                                                                                                                              It is simply a question of what your personal comfort level is. No reason to feel good or bad about it. If you won't be comfortable in that situation, politely decline. The situation as described wouldn't bother me. However, dining at a friend's house with two kids under the age of 2 would. Not saying that's good or bad, just how I feel about it. If it is beyond your comfort level, you're just going to make everyone else miserable too.

                                                                                                                                              1. b
                                                                                                                                                Bite Me Oct 10, 2008 12:15 AM

                                                                                                                                                Smartie - what did you end up doing??!!

                                                                                                                                                1. p
                                                                                                                                                  pine time Feb 17, 2013 12:45 PM

                                                                                                                                                  Yup, it's an old thread that's been re-opened, but since it was originally written, I've watched a whole lot of House Hunters International, and I've learned that lots of places have tiny apartments and that they have a stacked washer/ dryer in the kitchen. To me, that's close to having the kitty litter bin in the kitchen. Dirty clothes have lots of yuck on them, and to do laundry in the kitchen, and/or folding or dumping loads to wash on the countertops would be the same yuck.

                                                                                                                                                  So, much may be cultural.

                                                                                                                                                  When I had cats (boxes in a separate part of the house, but it was a big house), just cleaned the counters prior to cooking.

                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: pine time
                                                                                                                                                    m
                                                                                                                                                    mpjmph Feb 17, 2013 04:08 PM

                                                                                                                                                    My washer and dryer are in the kitchen (fortunately arranged in a way that allows for a curtain to hide them). I have never dumped clothes on the counters, clean or not. I no more want food on clean clothes than I want dirty clothes on the counter. Clothes go from the laundry basket to the washer, directly into the dryer, then back to the basket. I fold in the bedroom.x.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: mpjmph
                                                                                                                                                      p
                                                                                                                                                      pine time Feb 18, 2013 09:11 AM

                                                                                                                                                      When I typed my post, the keyboard kept freezing, so I was a little more cryptic than I meant: understand about w & d placements, now, but I had never heard/seen it before seeing homes in other countries. I do appreciate your system, and would do the same if my w&d had to be in the kitchen.

                                                                                                                                                      The point I, perhaps badly, tried to say is that it's partly what we're accustomed to, and how the individual handles the complexities of, say w & d in the kitchen, or no where else than kitchen for litter box, but everything kept ultra-clean or disinfected. Make more sense?

                                                                                                                                                  2. p
                                                                                                                                                    pedalfaster Feb 17, 2013 04:14 PM

                                                                                                                                                    Old thread, but fun topic.
                                                                                                                                                    I worry more about human beings.
                                                                                                                                                    Shoes.
                                                                                                                                                    Fingernails.
                                                                                                                                                    Teeth, OMG!
                                                                                                                                                    Ugh.
                                                                                                                                                    But since I don't want to live in a bubble, I take my multivitamins and I take my chances! :)

                                                                                                                                                    1. t
                                                                                                                                                      thesuperfe Jan 5, 2014 09:30 AM

                                                                                                                                                      I try to decline because not everyone keeps clean food preparation habits.

                                                                                                                                                      First, if you allow your cats on your countertops in your kitchen, that's the first strike. I know for a fact cats can be trained to avoid the kitchen and countertops. Animals should not be allowed where you prepare food for OTHER people -- that's my personal rule. If you don't care, that's fine, but when you prepare for OTHER people, you should have stricter habits.

                                                                                                                                                      Second, I observe ppl - do they pet theirs pets in the kitchen while food is being prepared (causing lots of fur to fly), then go back to handling your food? Do they clean the countertops before preparing food (pets or not)? Do they wash their hands, ESPECIALLY after using the toilet?

                                                                                                                                                      Some people, I will not eat anything they prepare, not because I am afraid of getting sick, even though I probably should be, but because I am totally grossed out. Sometimes I suck it up and eat anyway, and I usually get sick (and that may have more to do with human germs than animal germs).

                                                                                                                                                      As a rule, I think people should be more conscientious when hosting meals for other people.

                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: thesuperfe
                                                                                                                                                        f
                                                                                                                                                        foodieX2 Jan 8, 2014 04:12 PM

                                                                                                                                                        How does that work exactly? Your at someone's house and you don't care for their food preperation. Do you say your not hungry? Do you fake an emergency and leave? Or do you tell them the truth-that your grossed out?

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: foodieX2
                                                                                                                                                          f
                                                                                                                                                          foodieX2 Jan 19, 2014 10:32 AM

                                                                                                                                                          Still curious on how you handle this?

                                                                                                                                                      2. foodcompletesme Jan 7, 2014 09:25 AM

                                                                                                                                                        I have this issue too. One of my dearest local friends has cats and questionable kitchen cleanliness standards. I am a nurse so really germ-conscious. My kitchen is sanitized, counters, sinks, stovetops, etc. several times a day. Of course hand washing throughout cooking process as needed.

                                                                                                                                                        My friend on the other hand…motions the cats off the same table that she then leaves appetizers out for guests. She keeps inviting me over and I keep saying, 'no, I'll cook - come over here'.
                                                                                                                                                        I know we feel differently about safe food storage too. She lived in Asia for several years and seems to have adapted a casual attitude about refrigerating food. She once told me that she traveled with fried chicken for weeks without refrigeration. She also scolds me when we are out for dinner & a play that I won't take my leftovers because they will be in a hot car for hours in the summer… "they'll be fine" she says. No shrimp will not be fine! So I can only imagine about the food she serves. ugh.

                                                                                                                                                        9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: foodcompletesme
                                                                                                                                                          greygarious Jan 7, 2014 04:31 PM

                                                                                                                                                          And yet, she's still alive and active..... I sometimes think that those of us Americans who are not germaphobic should have a secret handshake. We seem to be a minority.

                                                                                                                                                          The worried well must retire to their fainting couches if they travel to Japan and come upon this: http://www.pawnation.com/2013/09/13/p...

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: greygarious
                                                                                                                                                            l
                                                                                                                                                            lagatta Jan 7, 2014 04:57 PM

                                                                                                                                                            I love the Burmese place. All those elegant Burmese kittens!

                                                                                                                                                            Foodcompletesme, yes, hygiene is important, but I know some Doctors (and Vets) without borders - medical professionals (doctors, nurses, vets, dentists etc) who have been to some very dodgy places and had to work under them. Makes one a bit more relaxed about conditions in first world countries. The most stupid things people do have little to do with housecats.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: lagatta
                                                                                                                                                              foodcompletesme Jan 7, 2014 05:10 PM

                                                                                                                                                              Yes, I've been to Morocco where the skinned goats and lambs hang in the butcher shop window in 100+ degrees. Obviously the people survive with those conditions because they are used to it.
                                                                                                                                                              Funny you mention practicing medicine in third world countries. We may actually have more to fear in modern hospitals - like where I work - with all of the antibiotic resistant and necrotizing type bacteria that live there! When you work with it on a weekly basis, you are more cautious.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: foodcompletesme
                                                                                                                                                                d
                                                                                                                                                                Dirtywextraolives Jan 17, 2014 07:55 PM

                                                                                                                                                                You're right re: that we may have more to fear here with the rise of resistant bacteria. So why on earth do you abuse the use of sanitizing agents in your own home, "several times a day"??

                                                                                                                                                            2. re: greygarious
                                                                                                                                                              foodcompletesme Jan 7, 2014 05:01 PM

                                                                                                                                                              lol…yes you can handshake, those of us concerned about bacteria will just wave.

                                                                                                                                                              Not surprised by the story; the Japanese love cats. I am a happy cat owner BTW, I just don't let her get on the table or counters.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: greygarious
                                                                                                                                                                t
                                                                                                                                                                thesuperfe Jan 7, 2014 05:08 PM

                                                                                                                                                                People who don't want car fur in their food aren't necessarily germaphobes - we are just people who want to eat food without cat hair and other stuff or people who like cleanliness. People who don't practice better hygiene and clean food preparation especially when serving guests aren't necessarily barbarians, they are probably just ignorant of other people's sensibilities or self-centered and discourteous.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: thesuperfe
                                                                                                                                                                  j
                                                                                                                                                                  Jerseygirl111 Jan 7, 2014 06:03 PM

                                                                                                                                                                  I don't know that people are self centered. People just have different standards of what is acceptable to them. Personally, I have to pass on an invitation for dinner from cat owners. I also skeeve the idea of letting your pets lick your plates clean. I don't mean it an insult, the issue is my own.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: thesuperfe
                                                                                                                                                                    Ruth Lafler Jan 15, 2014 04:51 PM

                                                                                                                                                                    So everyone who is different from you is "Ignorant, self-centered and discourteous"?

                                                                                                                                                                2. re: foodcompletesme
                                                                                                                                                                  MamasCooking Jan 8, 2014 12:07 PM

                                                                                                                                                                  I have three cats. I am also an RN (recently retired). Like you I am OCD about cross contamination so when doing any food prep I also utilize a lot of sanitation techniques. Fortunately for me my kitchen has a door that I keep closed to keep the cats out of there.

                                                                                                                                                                3. p
                                                                                                                                                                  plaidbowtie Jan 7, 2014 06:32 PM

                                                                                                                                                                  I've never thought about a friend's cat or taken it into consideration when I go over to their place. Then again, I give my own cat so many tummy and face kisses, I'm pretty sure it wouldn't even matter.

                                                                                                                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: plaidbowtie
                                                                                                                                                                    p
                                                                                                                                                                    Puffin3 Jan 8, 2014 05:49 AM

                                                                                                                                                                    Ya, each to their own.
                                                                                                                                                                    I have too many 'issues' around how/where food is prepared/served to be a 'good guest' when food is being served.
                                                                                                                                                                    So I spare everyone having to deal with me.
                                                                                                                                                                    Recent observation while having a short obligatory bi-annual visit with a distant family member:
                                                                                                                                                                    Sitting in the living room looking at the next door yard. Big dog in yard tied up. Another family member drives up. Their dog jumps out of the car and goes over and licks the other dogs bum and the favor is reciprocated numerous times. Then the dog runs over to happily lick the hands and face of the family member I'm having a quickly growing even shorter visit with. Then the family member goes into the kitchen and asks if we'd like some of her fresh baked chocolate chip cookies which I see she is then picking up and putting on a plate.
                                                                                                                                                                    I say "I'm fine thank you" while I try to remember where the bathroom is in case I start to throw up.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Puffin3
                                                                                                                                                                      foodcompletesme Jan 8, 2014 03:09 PM

                                                                                                                                                                      That is why I don't participate in office pot lucks - I don't know how clean all of my co-worker's kitchens are.
                                                                                                                                                                      Imagine a co-worker with that scenario above & preparing a dish for everyone to "enjoy"…

                                                                                                                                                                      Not kidding, true story: years ago a colleague brought the plastic silverware to an office party. The box was already open on one end and there was a mass of long, black human hair intertwined with the silverware….like he had scooped it up from a nasty drawer at home and shoved it in the box? I can only imagine. He had a vision impairment, so he probably didn't even realize. But I swore off pot lucks ever since.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: plaidbowtie
                                                                                                                                                                      viperlush Jan 8, 2014 07:01 AM

                                                                                                                                                                      It's funny, we don't know anyone else with a cat, but if I did I'd be more concerned that the cat might touch me and make my cat jealous.

                                                                                                                                                                      However I do try to avoid food within reach of a toddler or dog.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: viperlush
                                                                                                                                                                        Sooeygun Jan 8, 2014 07:47 AM

                                                                                                                                                                        I've never gotten sick from contact with a dog or cat, but I have from contact with toddlers (chicken pox, colds). I'm more likely to be playing with the pets than the kids.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Sooeygun
                                                                                                                                                                          viperlush Jan 8, 2014 07:52 AM

                                                                                                                                                                          Same here. Roommate is currently battling a cough that a niece gave him over the holiday while BF and I are battling colds that the nephew gave us. I'm still plotting my revenge.

                                                                                                                                                                    3. Kat Jan 8, 2014 07:47 AM

                                                                                                                                                                      We have a cat who is not a good jumper and can't make it up on the countertops. My house is clean but I can't stop guests with germ fears from imagining paws walking on my countertops depositing unseen bacteria. I do always ask if they would prefer I keep the cat upstairs during dinner in case they don't like cats. Everyone is different. Potential cat germs don't bother me, but I have to visit hospitals and nursing homes for work quite often and that totally skives me out. I load up my bag with antibacterial gel and wipes. Having to touch medical charts (with those plastic binders that get reused and reused for many patients) YUCK! I see nurses and staff sitting around on the units eating lunch, answering the unit phones with their bare hand and then grabbing a chunk of bread or cookie and eating it with that same hand,
                                                                                                                                                                      YUCK! I guess if they around it all the time, they get used to it, like us cat owners.

                                                                                                                                                                      8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Kat
                                                                                                                                                                        MamasCooking Jan 8, 2014 12:34 PM

                                                                                                                                                                        Wow really? I am an RN and every medical facility I have ever worked in strictly prohibited any food or drink outside of the staff break room. The rules were enforced. Even bottled water had to be kept in the staff break rooms wherever I worked. I am assuming no electronic charts where you visit either?

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: MamasCooking
                                                                                                                                                                          Kat Jan 9, 2014 05:28 AM

                                                                                                                                                                          Some of the info is kept electronically, especially in hospitals, but the majority of nursing homes I visit still keep handwritten records in plastic binders. And many times I have sat at the unit desk reviewing records while staff around me are munching away while they're on the computer or doing work. Eating in homes with pets doesn't bother me, but this stuff does. I even have certain clothes that I always wear when I go to the medical facilities, that I can pop in the washing machine on hot right when I get home. Never clothes that need dry cleaning (not sure it kills the germs). So, we all have our own weird germy phobias!

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Kat
                                                                                                                                                                            p
                                                                                                                                                                            pine time Jan 9, 2014 07:56 AM

                                                                                                                                                                            I'm so old that I remember when nurses smoked while charting, then ate a few cookies, then went straight to a patient room--no handwashing. I always thought it would be fascinating to do a culture sample of those charts.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: pine time
                                                                                                                                                                              MamasCooking Jan 9, 2014 09:41 PM

                                                                                                                                                                              LOL How old are you? That sounds pre 20th century:)J/K:)

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: pine time
                                                                                                                                                                                foodcompletesme Jan 10, 2014 03:32 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                I've heard stories like that too...doctors and nurses smoking at the nurse's station back in the 40's and 50's maybe. My nursing school instructors also told us about working in health care before the creation of disposable gloves!! I'm awfully glad I have a layer of plastic between me and some of the substances I encounter with my patients
                                                                                                                                                                                (this discussion is now not only 'not about food' it is not about eating around cats either....sorry)

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: pine time
                                                                                                                                                                                  s
                                                                                                                                                                                  small h Jan 10, 2014 04:10 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                  In the early '90s, I worked as an administrative assistant to a division chief at a hospital in Manhattan. When she felt like having a cigarette, she would call me into her office to smoke with her, so that she could blame me if we were discovered. Not that I was allowed to smoke in there either, but whatever.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: pine time
                                                                                                                                                                                    p
                                                                                                                                                                                    pine time Jan 12, 2014 08:42 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                    My experience, both in nursing homes & acute care, was in the late 60s/early 70s. Different times.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Kat
                                                                                                                                                                                    MamasCooking Jan 9, 2014 09:34 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                    I misunderstood you about the nursing home environment. I have never worked in one.My experience is ICU's and psych so the rules are strictly enforced in the acute care hospitals.

                                                                                                                                                                              2. Njchicaa Jan 8, 2014 08:04 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                Sort of an aside but at least in this house it is impossible to keep the cats off of the counters. I've been trying for 10 years. I do not allow them up there and am quick with a squirt bottle if I catch them there.... but cats are cats. They aren't like dogs who want to do whatever you want them to do. Cats do whatever they damned well please. If one of my cats is on the counter when I walk in the kitchen, they usually jump down as quickly as possible because they know they shouldn't be there and the squirt bottle is coming. Yes, my cats get up onto my counters but, believe me, it isn't due to a lack of training of effort on my part.

                                                                                                                                                                                That being said, my friends and family come over here to eat all the time. They know that I don't encourage or allow the cats onto tables or counters and they also know that I know how to clean my kitchen and handle food properly.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. k
                                                                                                                                                                                  kdd452 Jan 8, 2014 09:37 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                  I remember a friend of mine sharing a story about eating at another friends house and then witnessing them letting their dog eat the leftovers off the plates. She was so disgusted that she never ate there again. I think we all have slightly different levels of tolerance for issues. As hosts, I guess we need to be as careful as possible to make our guests comfortable. I have a cat, does not go on the counter, and I make sure my guests know she doesn't. Also, I usually wipe the table and set out plates just before we sit down so guest won't have to wonder if the cat was on the table. If you are not comfortable, just eat before going, but unless you are very close, I probably wouldn't say anything. Some people may actually be ok with the cat on the counter.

                                                                                                                                                                                  12 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: kdd452
                                                                                                                                                                                    greygarious Jan 8, 2014 02:17 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                    Anyone who is revolted because pets do the "pre-rinse cycle" is phobic to a level that merits professional treatment, IMO. Those plates are going to be washed. It matters not a whit what happens to them between the table and the sink. Would they prefer the plates sit out, smeared with food, possibly attracting pests, before being washed? I do dishes in the sink. I don't like the idea of dirty dishes sitting in the dishwasher for the days it would take for me to fill it. There are habits which might possibly entail health risks, like not washing counters before food prep, if they are feline thoroughfares. Feeding pets on dishes that people will use after they are washed is NOT one of them.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: greygarious
                                                                                                                                                                                      foodcompletesme Jan 8, 2014 03:02 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                      Ok, but if you notice friends declining invitations to eat at your home in the future - that might be why. Not everyone would be comfortable with that, especially if they are hand washed IMO vs. dishwasher which might be higher temps.

                                                                                                                                                                                      I am not averse to animals. I grew up on a farm and have several family members that are veterinarians. I love all pets, but some people just don't like the pet's saliva mixing with ppl.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Is that a greyhound in your pic BTW? I love greyhounds. They are so gentle & sweet.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: foodcompletesme
                                                                                                                                                                                        Ruth Lafler Jan 15, 2014 04:56 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                        How is the saliva mixing if it's being washed afterwards? And how is it different from using a fork that someone else had in his or her mouth before it was washed? You'll go to a restaurant and use a fork that's been in the mouths of hundreds of people but you object to a dog licking a plate? You do realize your attitude has nothing to do with whether the practice is actually unhealthy, right?

                                                                                                                                                                                        This whole conversation is a good example of the difference between something that is actually dangerously unsanitary and something that you perceive as icky. The former is a legitimate concern, the latter is a personal foible that you shouldn't expect other people to cater to.

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: greygarious
                                                                                                                                                                                        j
                                                                                                                                                                                        Jerseygirl111 Jan 8, 2014 03:58 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                        I am not phobic to a level that requires merits professional treatment, I just prefer not to consume corn muffin tops that the pets have been licking, thank you. It is the idea that if you allow your pets to lick the flatware or dishes, what else might you let your pet do? Sit on the table while you are eating? Or give them a lick from the mixing spoon while baking or cooking?

                                                                                                                                                                                        And if you really believe it doesn't matter to people what happens between table and sink, <snort> There have been threads on here about dishwashers and their sanitizing properties.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Jerseygirl111
                                                                                                                                                                                          greygarious Jan 8, 2014 09:06 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                          I said nothing about pets sampling from food before it is served to humans. Nor did anyone else. The objection made by the germaphobes was to pets licking dishes after the humans are finished eating. Since those dishes will be washed and dried between the pets and the next human meal, it is flat-out ridiculous to worry about people catching germs from those dishes.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: greygarious
                                                                                                                                                                                            j
                                                                                                                                                                                            Jerseygirl111 Jan 9, 2014 10:31 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                            Yes, people in the thread did post about seeing food intended for others being licked.

                                                                                                                                                                                            We will have to disagree on whether it is ridiculous to be concerned about transmission of zoonotic diseases.

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Jerseygirl111
                                                                                                                                                                                            e
                                                                                                                                                                                            ErnieD Jan 10, 2014 10:04 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                            You're comparing apples to oranges here. Letting pets lick plates that will be washed is not at all the same as letting them lick ready-to-consume food. That's like saying that if I leave a loaf of bread on the counter overnight, you won't eat my cooking because I'm probably doing the same with my raw chicken. If you can trust dish washing to kill human germs, it's going to kill per germs as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ErnieD
                                                                                                                                                                                              j
                                                                                                                                                                                              Jerseygirl111 Jan 16, 2014 10:26 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                              I don't want to see them licking apples or oranges either!

                                                                                                                                                                                              It skeeves me to see/know pets are on the counters or dining table. It skeeves me to see people let their pets lick clean their people dishes.

                                                                                                                                                                                              I have no desire to consume any food that has been previously licked by someone's pet. I would hope that yes, the dishes are thoroughly cleaned so there are no traces of old food, pet or people saliva to be found. Hopefully, your HWH is set correctly and you are using an automatic dishwasher. No, I do not require psychiatric assistance (at least not for this) however my husband is immune compromised so I must be vigilant regarding cleanliness. I would pass on the invitation to dine at the cat house.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Jerseygirl111
                                                                                                                                                                                                r
                                                                                                                                                                                                rasputina Jan 17, 2014 09:13 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                When I was on chemo and immune compromised my oncologist didn't say get rid of my pets and I never got sick from them.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                  ErnieD Jan 17, 2014 11:53 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                  You've got two different things going on here, though. If you're just skeeved out by it, then I guess you are, but at the same time you keep referencing that you have health concerns. You understand that I eat off my dishes when I'm actively, contagiously sick, right? If dish washing is going to protect you from my flu virus, it's going to clean off dog cooties too (I actually don't let my dog lick plates because I'm too damn lazy to keep track of whether I'm using pet-toxic ingredients, but hypothetically). They're smooth surfaces that are consistently washed with hot water and soap. Realistically, my doorknob is way more of a concern, germwise.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                    lagatta Jan 18, 2014 10:01 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                    As is the flush on your toilet, since most people flush BEFORE washing their hands, non?

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yes, I rarely let Renzo eat leftover poultry, fish or meat from my own plate, but that is mostly because I'm a fan of the onion family, and onions, garlic, shallots, leeks and all are supposed to be bad for cats. I wash his dishes with mine, why on earth not?

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Renzo has become far too old and arthritic to jump on the counters. He can still jump onto our bed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ErnieD
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                                                                                                                                                                                                      rasputina Jan 18, 2014 03:55 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Lets not forget that most pet diseases are not commumicable to humans anyway.

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                                                                                                                                                                                            rasputina Jan 8, 2014 03:15 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                            Cats allowed on the counters. Doesn't bother me in the least. It wouldn't even cross my mind.

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                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: rasputina
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                                                                                                                                                                                              Jerseygirl111 Jan 8, 2014 04:08 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                              It's true. It doesn't bother many people. But I don't want kitty feet that were digging in the litter box, or who knows what outside, on the food prep areas. After all, I don't take off my sneakers and put them on the counter or kitchen table.

                                                                                                                                                                                              I notice that people with pets are quick to point out how they fastidiously wipe down their counters and tables etc. That is all well and good, but everyone has their own idea of what is 'clean' and Judy's may not be the same Linda's.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                plaidbowtie Jan 8, 2014 04:16 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                somebody said earlier to each their own, which I agree with. Personally, I don't have the time or the the energy to worry about it. Maybe I have a higher squick tolerance than others- I read for instance the other day that a pair of dirty underwear carries on average 1/10th of a gram of fecal matter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                I made a choice a few years ago to not let things bother me unless they really do bother me. We live in a dirty world, and some how, we're all still here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Also, on a personal note, my pets were here before my friends, and they will be there after those friends leave my life for whatever reason. They will get precedence.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                  Puffin3 Jan 9, 2014 05:17 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                  If you want to 'train' your cat not to jump on the kitchen counter there are thin mats you can buy from pet stores that go on the counter and plug in. When the cat jumps up and lands on the mat the cat gets a slight electric shock.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  100% effective.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  After a while you can remove the matt but the cat will never know when it's back on the counter.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  I knew a cat owner who swore their cat NEVER jumped on the counter when the owner wasn't around.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  I put a light sprinkle of flour on the counter top and my friend and I left to go shopping.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Guess what the sprinkling of flour looked like when we got back? You got it one!
                                                                                                                                                                                                  I looked like an animal with paw prints like a cat had been wandering all over the counter. LOL

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Jerseygirl111
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Kat Jan 9, 2014 05:36 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I started a thread here a couple years ago after I was in a new restaurant and saw a server jump on the counter near my table and stand on it with her shoes on while she wrote up the specials on an overhead chalkboard. That grossed me out and I never went back. To my recollection, posters here were worried about the server's safety in needing to do that but not about the germ issue, stating that the food itself doesn't touch the counter because it's in a plate. However, if the staff feel free to do something like that in front of a customer, food safety habits back in the kitchen can't be all that great.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                    rasputina Jan 10, 2014 09:05 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                    So don't be friends with people with pets? It's your choice.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                    Isolda Jan 15, 2014 05:31 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Technically, the cats aren't allowed on the counter in my house, but anyone who has cats knows that cats aren't as trainable as dogs. Although I've never seen them on the counters, I have seen them on the dining room table, so I know they totally cheat and don't follow the rules.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    To deal with this, I just wipe down the counters with a Lysol wipe before preparing food. I adore my cats, but I don't want cat litter or crap in my food any more than anyone else does.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    And when cat-phobic people are over and a cat accidentally hops onto the table (this rarely happens because my cats are afraid of people who aren't family), I just pretend to be horrified. And then I wipe the table down.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Isolda
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Njchicaa Jan 15, 2014 05:50 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                      and, according to this thread, some people will never ever again go to your house because the damned dirty cat jumped up onto the table even though you clearly don't want or allow it to.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                        OCEllen Jan 15, 2014 06:31 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Yes, silly......

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                                                                                                                                                                                                          Isolda Jan 18, 2014 12:41 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I can live without those people, then. But this has never happened, so I must be good at choosing laid-back friends.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Isolda
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Njchicaa Jan 18, 2014 12:48 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                            same here

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                                                                                                                                                                                                      zackly Jan 11, 2014 08:21 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Personally, I'm not bothered by it but I do encounter many more people who are very concerned about germs, some bordering on phobic. I'm old & old school school and probably have a more of a tolerance for bacteria than most Americans. That's my unscientific opinion anyway, I'm like a snake handler who raises his immunity to bites by injecting a bit of the poison periodically.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                        SoFlaSartorialista Jan 12, 2014 11:36 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                        That is a home training situation gone terribly awry. I would have to decline.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I have 2 dogs and a cat. They don't climb counters or other surfaces. Litter box was in the laundry room in my last house, but since moving to Boston am sharing my bathroom space with the cat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        To each his own,
                                                                                                                                                                                                        I suppose.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Sart

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                                                                                                                                                                                                          Atochabsh Jan 16, 2014 11:08 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                          People that live with pets have a different tolerance for those pets and their impact on their day to day activities in their lives. People that do not live with pets are often not accepting of this owner/pet intimacy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          And like one poster listed. They are more old school in that the more germs you are exposed to during your life the more tolerance you build against your basic set of germs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          This is not to say that anyone needs to accept eating out of a litter box. But people with pets, even pets that get on the counter, do not often prepare their foods on the counter. They use cutting boards that are cleaned after use. So even if the pet is on the counter (which I accept as being something only pet people tolerate), food is not necessarily prepared on that surface.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Because I grew up in a multi pet household. I was revolted later in life to learn that people actually prepare food directly on their counter tops. We never did as I grew up, it was never considered.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Litter boxes in the kitchen are a bit strange though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. BobB Jan 17, 2014 09:08 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Hey, dogs can climb on counters too - see video link below. Why single out cats?

                                                                                                                                                                                                            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ym0r...

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. NonnieMuss Jan 17, 2014 01:53 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I don't "allow" my cat to jump up on the counters, but I have not been able to keep him from doing it on occasion. What I do though, is clean my countertops before I prepare any food. Why would you assume they'd just plop the food down right where Kitty just walked?

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I would be far more concerned about eating at the homes of the 60% of people who don't wash their hands after they use the bathroom, or the ones who don't cover their mouths when they cough (countless). Or anyone with small children who run like snot faucets 9 months out of the year.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Bill Hunt Jan 17, 2014 06:55 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Will the cats eat my food? If not, then I am OK with them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Hunt

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                  rasputina Jan 18, 2014 03:58 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  LOL great post!

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Dirtywextraolives Jan 17, 2014 08:37 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Wow, reading this thread certainly is eye opening.....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Seems like many of you (recent responses, not the 5+ year old ones) have some severe OCD issues......and we wonder why the world is being bombarded with resistant bacteria, and more children are being diagnosed with immune disorders that a generation ago just were not prevalent in kids at all. How do you people go out in the world and function without falling to pieces?! How do you eat in a restaurant and use communal tables, dishes, glassware & cutlery? Sure they get dishwashed at hi temps, or so you hope. But I've worked in commercial kitchens, I could tell you stories.....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  We all have degrees to which we will tolerate a bit of uncleanliness, whether it's with your pets or not. Would I draw the line at eating at the crazy cat lady's house where she lets her 10 cats roam free and the place smells like cat piss? Um yea. But just because someone owns a cat or dog or two? Please....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Though I do find it gross that dogs tend to lick their privates and then want to smother your face, it goes with the territory of owning dog(s). My husband & I joke when we see our cat cleaning his privates, and say "now go kiss Mommy/Daddy", but thankfully he rarely does. Nonetheless, my husband was raised by a hyper clean fanatic ( the woman would spend an afternoon sitting on her kitchen floor cleaning the grout with a toothbrush...) but thankfully he's pretty low key about his disdain for filth, usually. Every once in a while he makes a comment, but he knows he is over the top most of the time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Life is too short to be worried about every little germ. We exist with them and should learn to accept the fact that people and animals create filth. It's part of life. Get over it already.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Dirtywextraolives
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                    lagatta Jan 18, 2014 10:09 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    My mum was a clean fanatic too, but also a cat lover, so they got a pass.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. BlueMagic Jan 19, 2014 07:04 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I have two cats and have yet to have anyone decline a dinner invitation because of it.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I host committee meetings in my house once a month..and a couple of months ago one of my cats made an appearance and a couple of the members stated "I had no idea you had a cat"..and one proceeded to make it her mission to befriend him ( mostly the cats just hide when people they aren't familiar with come over).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    My litter box is in my kitchen and I doubt anyone who walks into my kitchen would even know it's there since it is "disguised".
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I probably wouldn't be friends with the type of person who would refuse a dinner invitation because I had cats so it's really never been an issue.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Alternately..I have been invited to the occasional home for lunch or dinner which is very unkempt( that's putting it kindly).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I have found that most people who own cats ( or dogs..etc) are actually better about keeping their homes clean than people who don't.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Monica Jan 19, 2014 07:12 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      My grandma always says, people inside the house and animals stay outside.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                        LeoLioness Jan 19, 2014 10:16 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I hope your grandmother never had pets, if that's her opinion.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Monica Jan 19, 2014 02:13 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          She never had pets. she doesn't understand why people live with animals inside the house. she thinks they don't add anything to the house other than filth, smell and germs which I do agree somewhat. She is very neat herself at her age of 96...still takes bath twice a day, cleans her own underwears herself in the sink everyday to clean them 'properly'.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                            lagatta Jan 19, 2014 02:43 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            My mother lived to 98, and was always very fussy and ladylike (despaired of me...). But she loved cats, and thought they were very clean creatures. (We all sh*t, eh?)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I'd think a bath twice a day would be very drying for the skin of someone that old, but assume she puts on moisturiser afterwards...

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                              LeoLioness Jan 19, 2014 02:53 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I'm pretty sure most pet owners also bathe and wear clean underwear.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Monica Jan 20, 2014 08:02 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                haha, yes,..i am just saying she is a bit of neat freak and there is nothing wrong with it. It's not that she hates animals but she thinks both people and animals shouldn't live together under one roof.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Monica
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                BlueMagic Jan 20, 2014 07:53 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Your grandmother washes her dirty underwear in the sink.???
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Not the Kitchen sink I hope !!!!!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Monica
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                              lagatta Jan 19, 2014 10:57 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Did she live on a farm?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              If Renzo stayed outside here in Montréal on a cold January day, he'd have died years ago.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Barn cats didn't live "inside the house" but they lived "inside the barn".

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                              pedalfaster Jan 21, 2014 07:21 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I know this is an old thread (and I apologize if this has already been posted) but I am guessing the OP would not want to eat here:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              http://landarchs.com/cat-cafes-compan...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Have any of the 'hounds visited a cat-cafe (catfe?). Impressions?

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