Miss Manners: I don’t know where his cat is. Should I tell him now?

DEAR MISS MANNERS: A friend of mine is staying with me, and he went home for Thanksgiving, leaving his cat here. Well, I woke up the first morning after he left, and the cat is gone.

It is common for us to leave the doors open during the day, but the cat has never run off until now.

So what do I do? Do I call my friend and tell him over the phone? Or do I wait till he gets back, hoping the cat will return in the meantime? But if the cat doesn’t return, will he be hurt that I didn’t inform him right away?

GENTLE READER: Have you thought of something to say when your friend returns and says, “Thanks for taking care of Tinkerbell. I bet he’ll be glad to see me. Where is he? Tinkerbell! I’m back! Tinkerbell, where are you? TINKERBELL!!!”


Then Miss Manners suggests that you get busy putting up posters around the neighborhood. She will give you a day or two before confessing to your friend, on the grounds that you were hunting frantically, but after that you must break the sad news.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: My wife and I were invited for Thanksgiving dinner at a new friend’s home along with three other couples. We were asked to bring a dish to pass.

At the end of a delightful evening, we were asked to take home the leftover food we brought. We thought that was inappropriate and rude.

GENTLE READER: Funny — the complaints that Miss Manners usually gets are from people whose leftovers were kept by the hosts. Or snatched by other guests.

For a holiday that is supposed to be associated with hospitality and inclusiveness, Thanksgiving apparently inspires a lot of unseemly squabbling.

Nor is it in keeping with the spirit of the occasion to assume that your hosts (who might have had an overstuffed kitchen) were just waiting until the end of the delightful meal for the chance to insult you.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: My husband and I had a party to celebrate a big anniversary. We asked that people not bring gifts, but someone gave us a very nice bottle of whiskey anyway.

The problem is that we don’t drink, and neither do most of our friends.

Because it’s such a nice bottle, I hate to see it go to waste. I suggested we thank the person, explain the issue, and give it back so someone else would be able to enjoy it.

My husband says that would be rude, so it’s sitting in a cupboard.

It will probably never be enjoyed unless we can find someone to regift it to, which may create a host of other problems.

GENTLE READER: Returning a present to the giver is unpleasant, so let’s try to find it a home.

If you don’t have friends who drink, how about a favorite restaurant? (Miss Manners is assuming that you are unlikely to have a favorite bar.)

Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, www.missmanners.com; to her email, dearmissmanners@gmail.com; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

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Author: Judith Martin