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Stats & Cats: The Holiday-Guest Warning Edition

These highly scientific pie charts on cat behavior at the holidays will help family and friends know what to expect when they stay at your house.

Lauren Oster  |  Dec 18th 2015


The holidays at my place were a smashing success last year, if I do say so myself. My sister and her husband were visiting from Los Angeles, my other sister and her husband and baby daughter were visiting from San Francisco, and we made the collective decision to have a giant grown-up slumber party at our apartment instead of paying obscene amounts of money for a couple of inhospitable little New York City hotel rooms. We stayed up talking long into the wee hours, my husband and I got to realign our backs on the remains of the AeroBed our cat Matty ate last summer, and our cat Steve got to harass seven sleepers in one night. (Feliz Navidad, Steve!)  Everyone enjoyed themselves immensely. Of course, we’ve all crashed with each other (and with each other’s animal pals) for decades. What about holiday cohabitants who are sharing space for the first time?

In this installment of Stats & Cats, vital statistics from the domesticated animal kingdom (Part 1 is called Stats & Cats: The Actions of Felines Illustrated in Pie Charts), we’ll address What to Expect When You’re Expecting (to Spend the Night in a Household with Cats).

My older cat, Steve, loves strangers at the front door much more than he will ever love me; he once rolled over and fell asleep on a plumber’s feet while said plumber snaked our tub. You could say all visits are holidays for Steve, really, but the actual holidays — when new-smelling people roll in and then stay for days at a time — well, they’re the most wonderful time of the year. He wants to wish you a Merry Christmas from the bottom of his heart.

FIGURE 1:

Prospero año y felicidad.

Prospero año y felicidad.

A traveler with experience in truly wild places will tell you that molestation from local fauna is not inevitable; in mosquito-infested tropics, for example, sleepers can shroud their beds in fine netting. Huts on stilts in national parks protect guests on safari from curious wildlife. Surely your sister-in-law can put a door between her and Chairman Meow, right?

FIGURE 2:

You can run, you can hide, but you can't escape my love.

You can run, you can hide, but you can’t escape my love.

As pickup artists, amateur philosophers, and Tao of Steve fans are fond of saying, we pursue that which retreats from us. This means of course that a guest who’s leery of cats is a cat’s favorite guest of all. Philosophy, in fact, is a useful approach to initial encounters with hosts’ beasts (not to be confused with hose beasts).

FIGURE 3:

Sometimes you eat the bear, and sometimes the bear eats you.

Sometimes you eat the bear, and sometimes the bear eats you.

Happy holidays, hosts, cats, and guests, and best of luck to all of you.

Next time in Stats & Cats: A national poll, standard deviation in litter boxes, and the geographical distribution of stolen goods.

Read more by Lauren Oster.

About the author: Lauren Oster is a freelance writer and editor in New York City. She and her husband share an apartment on the Lower East Side with Steve and Matty, two Siamese-ish cats. She doesn’t leave home without a book or two, a handful of plastic animals, Icelandic licorice mints, and her camera. Follow her on Twitter or Instagram.