What would Miss Manners do?
October 6, 2008 1:12 PM   Subscribe

How can I (very politely!) beg off future visits to my boss's house?

My boss likes to invite me over to his house every four to six weeks. Usually we watch TV and have a few beers, and we sometimes play pool.

I like his company and don't mind his pets, but they all go in and out of the house as they please. And they all have fleas.

I have a strictly indoors cat and check him regularly for fleas and ear mites. He never has any except on the day after I've been to my boss's house (four times running now). So I comb off and kill the three or four I find, then give my cat a flea treatment and vacuum the house. After the third day there aren't any more fleas and continue not to be any more until the next visit to my boss's house.

I've suggested in past that we meet at a bar or restaurant instead, but my boss doesn't like the expense and I can't hear very well so that hasn't worked.

Short of taking a flea bath in the street, I don't know how to prevent bringing the fleas home with me. I suppose I could strip in the garage, but if they got that far with me then they'd just be there waiting for the next time I pass through.

Is there an unoffensive way I could arrange to visit my boss less often at his house? How would a very clever polite person go about it?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Invite him to your house?
posted by piedmont at 1:26 PM on October 6, 2008

Does he know you have a cat? Pet allergies would be a great excuse here. If he knows, but has mixed pets, maybe you're allergic to his dog.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 1:27 PM on October 6, 2008

Invite him to your house?

Yeah, but then the boss would probably bring the fleas over.
posted by All.star at 1:30 PM on October 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

I suppose I could strip in the garage, but if they got that far with me then they'd just be there waiting for the next time I pass through.

The fleas won't have a lot to live on in your garage. If you stripped and put your clothes into a plastic bag for a week, that should do it.
posted by mikepop at 1:31 PM on October 6, 2008

Strip in the garage? What?

Four times is well beyond coincidence, much closer to definite causation. If you're cool enough with your boss to hang out, drink, and shoot pool, you're on good enough terms to clue him in to the fact that his dogs have fleas, which he may not realize (you'd be surprised how out-of-touch some well-meaning pet owners are).

I'd bring it up directly, outside the confines of him inviting you over- don't wait for that. Just say, "Hey, [BOSS], the last few times I've been over, my cats got fleas right afterward. Have you checked your dogs recently?"
posted by mkultra at 1:42 PM on October 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

I wouldn't sacrifice your boss-bonding time for this. You should either tell him, or if you're afraid that he'll take it badly, invest in your flea cleaning routine after each visit. Pissing off your boss is a bad idea.
posted by zhivota at 1:47 PM on October 6, 2008

Flea collar bracelets and anklets.
posted by smackfu at 2:02 PM on October 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

Maybe as a thoughtful gesture you could tell him about Revolution or whatever the product is in your area? I've been amazed at how this keeps the fleas off my cats, my vet recommends it and it does ear mites and heartworm too.
posted by b33j at 2:05 PM on October 6, 2008

Inadequate veterinary care is considered neglect, and in many places it is against the law to allow pets to come and go as they please. Someone needs to inform him that there are things he needs to do to protect his pets both ethically and legally.

You could tell him that your vet just had you switch to a new product, and how great it is, and he should try it right away.
posted by jesirose at 3:01 PM on October 6, 2008

Next time you see him:

You: Hey, Boss--I noticed that Miffy had a couple of fleas a couple of days ago. I'm not sure where she got them from or how long she's had them, but having dealt with this once or twice before I know that I might have inadvertently exposed your dog Fido to them. I hope not, but you should probably check him for fleas to make sure he didn't pick them up.

Him: Oh, no! How do you tell if an animal has fleas? I've never had to check before!

You: Oh, it's easy. You blah blah blah, then if you see blah, treat them with blah. It's not a big deal, but worth checking out so your poor Fido doesn't suffer if some of the nasty buggers hitched a ride on me last time I came over.


He saves face, you can tell him about how to check for fleas and how to fix it, all is right in the world. Win-win.
posted by iminurmefi at 3:29 PM on October 6, 2008 [4 favorites]

His dogs will get fleas again immediately, when they next trundle outside, unless he has them don flea collars AND replaces them on a timely basis, as well as treats them for fleas when they recur...they're getting them from the grass, etc. outside, where it sounds like they live and move and have their being. Unless he takes a long-term and consistent interest in the issue you'll have the problem come up over and over, so perhaps it could become a regular conversation starter whenever you're over... checking them for fleas, discussing flea treatments, having another beer, giving a couple of flea baths, playing some pool, checking the channels for flea movies, flea-combing the dogs ...or not?

I like mikepop's suggestion best-- "If you stripped and put your clothes into a plastic bag for a week, that should do it."
posted by mumstheword at 7:18 PM on October 6, 2008

Seconding Revolution, I guess, though I've used a similar-sounding product called Frontline. One application of this to my cats killed an entire flea infestation in my home. Throw it on your cat, and even if you do get fleas in the house, they'll die.

That was my experience, ymmv.

I'd say don't try to sneak it on his pets though. Two cats I've had didn't seem to mind the application, and a third turned around and licked it and spent the next ten minutes tearing all over the house screaming and foaming at the mouth.
posted by FortyT-wo at 8:00 PM on October 6, 2008

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