Advice from Amy: Roommate Gets Litter-Boxed In
A smelly surprise awaits...
Dear Amy: I recently moved into a new house with new roommates in a new city. I moved in after only a short Zoom tour of the place.
Oops, I won’t make that mistake again.
When I was talking with the roommates, one of the things they mentioned was how they liked not having a chore chart, preferring to live a more go-with-the-flow method of doing chores.
I didn’t realize that meant not doing chores at all. I’m in my 20s, so ultimately this isn’t too surprising.
I have resigned myself to look for a new place, do some cleaning where I can, and to spend most of my time in my room.
However, there is one thing I just can’t adjust to: The cat’s litter box is in the bathroom. It emits an ungodly smell.
I’ve cleaned the bathroom three times now (I suspect I’m the only person who has ever cleaned the bathroom), and the smell just keeps coming back.
I don’t want to lecture this woman on how often you need to scrub out a litter box, but it’s gotten so bad that I’m avoiding showering.
I know I should just man up and talk to her about it, but I used to have a roommate who would scream at me endlessly if I even brought up problems concerning her cat.
I’m desperately hoping I don’t smell like the litter box now.
How do I get past my issues with my old roommate and address the pungent lifestyle of my current ones? How do I delicately tell the people I live with that they literally stink? Please help!
– Stinky Situation
Dear Stinky: A litter box should be cleaned and scooped out every day. It takes literally moments to do this and it’s better for the cat, and the people who live with the cat. A dirty litter box can cause serious health problems for a cat and is a big stressor for both cats and people.
Yes, you should address this issue: “Carly, could you please clean your cat’s litter box? The smell is really intense.” You should assume a neutral attitude and keep your request brief and specific.
No, you don’t want to be screamed at, but you’ll have to be brave, calm, and assertive.
You could also ask your current roommates to have a “house meeting” in order to try to establish some basic guidelines. They’ve already marked you as tidier and more hygienic than they are, and they might anticipate some of your concerns and dismiss them – but you might also make some headway.
Brickunderground.com hosts a helpful website and podcast for city dwellers, including a list of questions to ask perspective roommates.
Interview future roommates and encourage them to interview you!
Given that you have had repeated negative experiences with a cat owner, when looking for future housing, you should make sure to only live in a pet-free household.
In the tradition of the great personal advice columnists, Chicago Tribune’s Amy Dickinson is a plainspoken straight shooter who relates to readers of all ages. She answers personal questions by addressing issues from both her head and her heart. A solid reporter, Dickinson researches her topics to provide readers with informed opinions and answers. Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068
© 2021 by Amy Dickinson