Dear Blake,

My sister and her husband take an annual trip to visit my parents, who live six hours from my family. Because they pass near our town, they stop and visit with us, too. I love seeing my sister, but they bring their large dog and expect us to keep our Siamese cat locked up while they’re here. (Our kitty is terrified of dogs.) They tend to stay at least four or five days, during which time we must keep our cat in our bedroom with his litter box and food. Their dog is sweet, but he makes a big mess when he eats, and they don’t scoop his poop until the end of their visit. Any suggestions on how to deal with these visits? I don’t want to cause a family feud over a five-day visit every year, but I’m beginning to dread them coming.

Signed, Krissy
From Raleigh, North Carolina

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Dear Krissy,

It baffles me that your sister can’t see the problem her large dog is causing. So I think you have to be a little more blatant with your hints, since that empty headed sibling of yours has blinders on in regards to that mongrel. So, here are some tips on how to deal with their mutt. Play “fletch” with a ball with their pet, that leads it farther away from your home. And once you’re far enough away and you’re sure it isn’t familiar enough with the area to find your place, get in your car and drive home, and let your sister try to figure out where it is. If they don’t clean up their dog’s poop within five minutes of it being deposited, shovel it up and toss it into their luggage. Tell them if they want to travel with their dog, your cat will not be inconvenienced, so in the future, it has to stay in their car in your driveway. But if you don’t want to cause any friction, get a different feline, specifically a bobcat who are natural born killers. I assure after a few visits when their canine returns home minus its ears and maybe an eye, they’ll probably start leaving it at a kennel. And if they still don’t get the message, be sure and contact someone in your city that hauls away dog carcasses. I hope this helps.