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How to Throw a New Year’s Bash When Your Co-Host Is a Cat

Ring in 2023 with a party that doesn’t involve your cat pouncing on your pals during their New Year’s kiss.

by Sio Hornbuckle
Updated December 19, 2022
Three women dressed in fashionable outfits sitting on a black couch at a party with blue and silver star balloons in the background while one woman holds a grey Sphynx cat in her arms
LIGHTFIELD STUDIOS / Adobe Stock

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The resolutions are set, the RSVPs are received, the apartment’s clean (or at least presentable), and you’re almost prepared for guests to arrive with champagne and goofy Dollar Tree glasses to celebrate the new year. But there’s one thing left to take care of: the cat. They’ve been chasing stray streamers all day, but they have no idea what’s coming. Below are some tips for keeping your cat happy and safe when you’re hosting a party.

No Escape Artists

You don’t want to bring in the new year with a search party. “Make sure all the guests know do not let any of the cats out of the house,” says cat behaviorist Kristiina Wilson. “That’s the first thing I say to guests when they come over.”

If your cat’s a true door darter, this might mean putting them in a separate room until all guests have arrived. If they’re a chiller who likes to snooze on their cat bed and roll their eyes at all the commotion from afar, it’s probably enough to keep an eye on them and shut the door behind guests as quickly as possible. You may even want to consider putting a sign outside the door saying something like: “Cat inside — please close the door behind you!”

Ask About Allergies

Be super clear with guests that there will be a cat present. Some people have bad allergies, and they might need to pass on your invite or request that the cat be kept in a separate room, where they won’t be rubbing against legs and spreading their dander.

Be Mindful of Food

Parties mean snacks, and lots of them. But some common human snacks can be unsafe for cats —  chocolate, grapes, nuts, and good old New Year’s bubbly are all no-nos. If you’re going to keep food uncovered and unattended, be sure your cat is far away from it at all times and your guests know not to sneak them any nibbles. You can also keep food in closed, sealed containers and allow guests to fill up plates.

Provide a Safe Space For Your Cat

According to Kristiina Wilson, this is an absolute must. “I think this is a good thing to do in any home regardless, just so cats know that if people come over, they have a safe space for themself,” Wilson says. “This would have all the resources they need: a litter box, some toys, maybe a cat tree, some food, water, and a comfortable bed.” Tell guests to keep out of that room — once again, a sign on the door will do the trick. 

“If you really want to go crazy, you can cut a cat door into the door so you can shut the door and only the cats can get in and out.” Wilson adds. “That way the cats can choose whether they want to mingle with guests or not.”

Let Your Cat Be Alone

I know, I know, you want all your friends to meet your adorable bestie, and they’re all begging for an introduction. But, just as with people, it’s important to respect an animal’s boundaries. If your cat is hiding, hissing, has raised hair, or just generally seems freaked out, let them keep their distance. Your cat doesn’t want to feel unsafe, and your friends don’t want to go home with fresh scratches. 

“All of that depends on the personality of your cat,” Wilson says. Some cats love to be social, and you shouldn’t lock them away prematurely if that’s the case. “Like, [my cat] Steve would be so upset if I put him away, because he thinks every party is for him.” 

Even if your cat wants to hang, be sure to keep an eye on the level of activity happening around them. Cats often enjoy being around other people without necessarily being touched. It’s not unusual for a cat to politely endure a few pets but become agitated by excessive handling, especially in places, like their tummy, that non-cat-parents might not know to avoid. Give your friends a quick lesson on how to pet a cat, and closely watch your cat’s body language for signs of discomfort. Don’t be afraid to gently tell guests to back off. Most people would rather have a cat staring at them from a few feet away than one hiding under a bed, watching them out of sight.

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Sio Hornbuckle

Sio Hornbuckle is a writer living in New York City with their cat, Toni Collette.