My Roommates Insist On Using Air Fresheners

a028

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And I'm LOSING MY MIND.

The morning after they moved in (2 months ago), I woke up to them febreezing and glade-ing the absolute hell out of my apartment. I told them nonono they cannot do that and opened all the windows, but the damage was already done. They put plugin air fresheners in every room. I told them they can't do that, also because they affect me and my lungs (and perfumes are not good for anyone, anyway). I guess to meet them halfway, I said it was fine they keep one in their room but nowhere else. The cats hardly go in their room. But then one roommate brought home essential oils and put them in the bathroom. I moved my cats stuff out of the bathroom and told them essential oils are POISON to cats.

And now I've found they put another air freshener on the bookcase in the living room. Like come on does the place really smell THAT bad?? I always clean out the litter box, I even put up a partition. Cats just have cat smell, you can't perfume it out. I'm too used to it I guess.

Both roommates have never in their lives lived with pets, let alone cats, and it's incredibly obvious now, but I'm really starting to regret this. I feel like it's my fault. I didn't tell them before moving in that they can't use sprays and stuff because everyone else I've ever lived with didn't have the need for them. Clearly, the place not smelling like cat is REALLY important to them.

Anyway, my question is, if the spray is up high on a shelf and on a timer, will it still affect my cats' health? Or else how can I finally convince my roommates that this stuff is not cool?? I love my cats but I hate feeling like an annoying, nagging cat mom. I've been nice to my roommates and I really hate confronting them about stuff. I found out they've been talking to all their friends about how much they dislike living with my cats, so I know this will only make it worse. Maybe I should just move?
 

Kieka

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I hate air fresheners, how does it freshen the air to cover the smell with chemicals? Blah. Doesn't help that most of them will send me into hives or weezing since I am allergic to most artifical fragrances.

Probably reiterate with your roommates that air fresheners, essential oils and chemical based products are not allowed in common areas, including the bathroom. I'd add on that I would throw away any product found in common areas and throw them in the dumpster outside the building. But thats me and I don't give an inch on things that matter because they will take a mmile.It sounds like they moved in with you so house rules. If they don't like it they can move. In the future, I would make sure roommates sign an agreement regarding things like that, that cats smell and they need to accept it, and any other items with a statement that they break the rules you can terminate their stay there immediately. Might not be legally enforcable but it will pause most people and some aspects may still be enforcible.

To accommodate them and their sensitive sniffers, you can put a box of baking soda in each room. The refrigerator type or get the special arm and hammer room fresheners .


I've used open coffee grounds to deodorize before if you are a coffee fan. Your roommates could also purchase an air purifier for their room, a one time cost and they don't have to spend $20 every few months on chemicals so they save money and the environment in the long run (not throwing out containers and chemicals). They would obviously be able to take that with them.

However, my opinion they either moved in or invited you to move in knowing cats were involved. It's up to them to solve the problem in a way that isn't damaging and those chemcials are damaging. If they dislike it so much they complain to their friends and are passively aggressively messing with your home against your wishes, I'd just tell them to leave. They are unhappy and you are unhappy with the arrangement. Under no condition should you be the one to move if they moved in with you, now if you moved in with them then yes you should move. Trust me, things will not get better with people who disregard what you've told them and try to get all sneaky and petty over something like this. Even if you solve this particular problem they will find something else.

Edit: If you have a rental agreement read it over and see if you have cause to break it. If not what is the penalty for breaking it? If it's less then $800 break it because it will cost you more then that to move if you are considering it or offer to pay their moving expenses plus refunding any deposit. Most roommate type situations though are rather informal month to month agreements or whatever the payment period is so you should be able to just say move by date. Check local laws of course.
 
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Furballsmom

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Hi! Gracious sakes. They knew you had cats when they moved in, don't let them make you feel bad about your cats.
Can you get different roommates?
Can you buy an air cleaner and unplug every dang thing of theirs? This is incredibly rude of them to put you and your cats health at risk just because they feel like bullying you.
Does the litter box smell for more than a few minutes right after they poop? If so, maybe change the litter or get a self-cleaning box, but again, make sure the roommates quit with their dumb behavior.
 
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a028

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Thanks for the replies. For more detail, the situation is they moved in with me, I was pretty desperate to get roommates because my sister abruptly left and I don't have a lot of income in a really expensive city, so I was really happy when these two new roommates agreed to move in very fast. They were really nice and close to my age. I told them first thing that I live with cats and they're important to me, and they said cool. I didn't know they never had pets.

Honestly, I don't have the guts to tell them to leave, plus the rent here is too much for me, I'm thinking I should be the one to leave, if it comes to that. But I'd rather them just. Not use their stupid chemicals.

I just hate when people expect cats to be like cute decor, like they aren't really part of the home so they shouldn't have to accommodate for them :(
 

Stinky15

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I just hate when people expect cats to be like cute decor, like they aren't really part of the home so they shouldn't have to accommodate for them :(
Me too and I hate candles, air fresheners and diffusers. Of course I may be overly sensitive since I have severe COPD. People have no idea what these products are doing to their lungs (till it's too late)!
Maybe you can find another room mate and then kick them out!
 

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Here's the thing.... If you don't stand up to them and enforce your homes rules, they will continue to walk all over you. First this and then something else and something else and..... it will just keep going. Before you know it it won't even be your home.

Regardless of if you can't afford to live there without them, you should stand up for yourself and your cat. Try again to tell them no chemicals, no essential oils. They can use baking soda boxes to deodorize if they need to or buy an air purifier. If you find any products you don't approve of you will toss them (outside so they can't pull them from the trash). It's for your health and your cats.

I know you are saying you need them to afford your place, I am not disregarding that. But in your place, if my option was kick someone out who is causing me emotional and possible physical problems with the possiblity of having to move or just moving? I'd tell them to stop or they are gone. When it comes down to it it sounds like you could move or you will move. Why pick the option that essentially is them being rewarded for their bad behavior? It sound like you are renting so if they aren't on a lease with your landlord they have no rights to be there unless you give them it. Even if you moved, they would still have to move to in order for you to not retain legal responsibility for their actions.

They aren't friends if they are doing this and ultimately their opinion of you really doesn't matter. What they say to your friends or theirs doesn't matter. What matters is your well being. Never doubt yourself or your own strength. The bottom line is they moved in with you, if they don't like how you live they move out. If you can't find a new roommate and have to move as a result then at least you tried.
 

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Totally agree with everything everyone else said. I say they need to stop with the chemicals and oils or get out. But, and I'm only giving you this option because of your financial situation, not because I want them to have a nice place to live, but activated charcoal is very good at odor removal. Look it up online, you can get it in sticks or chunks and put it out like you would potpourri. It works sort of like baking soda does, by absorbing odors. You could place it around the litter area. Anything else that stinks other than the litter box area, and you might want to look at who else might be stinking up the joint, lol. You did mention that these odor issues really only started AFTER they moved in right? No one else ever complained? ;) Also, if you want to try to keep the peace (and if it doesn't bother you too much), you could use Nature's Miracle or a similar product. Yes it is a spray, but it is an enzyme spray formulated for use of pet odors (it's safe). You could use it very sparingly and only on "significant cat surfaces" to help with freshening things up. I've never experienced bad roommates like you are, but I think they really need to respect YOUR HOUSE, and the rules that apply.
 
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a028

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Thanks for these tips! Charcoal always seems to be the solution to everything lol.

After posting this thread, I bought an air purifier and a few boxes of baking soda for the room, and moved their air freshener into the purifier's box and closed it up. My roommates were asleep so I didn't get to say anything, and still have not said anything since I work odd hours, but I think they noticed and are giving me the cold shoulder. Didn't say hi to me when I came home. Hopefully they get the point and stop and we can move on, but I do really wish I had the balls to just confront people. I'm just so insecure and I want people to like me ugh. I had already told them nicely 3 times, though.

Yeah before these guys I lived with my sister and her boyfriend, who never ever complained about the cats, but they've also lived with cats their whole lives. But my friends that visit have never complained about anything smelling, either. I've been using a baking soda mix with the cat litter for months but I'm interested to know, what litter might be best for low odor, but is still safe for my cats? Right now I'm using Abound natural litter but if there's something better out there I should get it.

The roommates might just up and decide on their own to leave without me even saying anything, the apartment's lease is month to month now that I've lived here over a year, and they know this AND make more money than me lol. It would suck to find new people all over again though, especially since other than this fragrance debacle, they aren't bad roommates.
 
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a028

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I don't know how to edit posts ughh but I am still worried, back when I asked them to move the essential oils, they only moved them into the bathroom sink drawer and I can still smell them when I go in there. I moved the cats' stuff out of there weeks ago but I worry they might still wander in there, and I don't know how dangerous the oil still could be.

Also the roommates have a plug-in air freshener in their room which was fine since the cats never go in there, but since it's hot in the summer they leave the door open almost all the time now and I can smell it wafting into the hall.

I'm just really anxious as to how much is just 'irritant' and how much is 'toxic' like to the point I actually need to be worried. Hard to tell because I worry all the time over everything.
 

mekkababble

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Oh roommates...

First- as much as it sucks, you need to stand up for yourself. It really sucks when you need to risk upsetting people you share a living space with. One of my personal favorites is when I lived with my brother and he gave me the silent treatment for a solid week because I wouldn't cancel a trip to dog sit for him (I had a trip planned the same weekend he did).

That being said, perhaps you should talk to each roommate separately. Let them know the air fresheners affect your health too and suggest the baking soda and air filters. I think this will get your further (no offense, but changing their stuff out without their permission can be perceived as passive aggressive). Confront them about complaining about you/your cats too as and what specific concerns they have. Sometimes just pointing out to them you know about their behavior is enough to stop it. As a compromise, perhaps you can offer to move essential cat things (like the litter box) to your room so it bothers them less.

If all else fails... they are month to month, so they can move if this is irresolvable. But if they're good roommates otherwise, then use this as your opportunity to practice standing up for yourself :)
 

Tobermory

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I wouldn’t switch litters if your cats are happily using the Abound. I understand that it’s a good litter, and it’s biodegradable. I use a grass clumping litter—Smart Cat—and I think it does a good job of odor control. You and your roommates are already unhappy. If it were me, I probably wouldn’t want to make the cats unhappy, too, by messing with their litter! You know how they can be.
 

silkenpaw

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Wait. Cats smell? Must be something wrong with my nose because they don’t. OK, a litter box can smell but only for a few minutes after a cat defecates. Haven’t these people ever pooped? (Oh, that’s right, they probably spray something equally offensive right after they do.) I have always gotten instant migraines from strong smells (“nice” smells, oddly, never from poopy smells) and I hate room fresheners because of this. Maybe you should have told them you have a problem with room fresheners, though they probably wouldn’t have respected that, either.
 

artiemom

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Personally, I would have a chat with your 'roommates'/tenants telling them that all of this smelly stuff is NOT allowed.

If smells bother THEM, you can advise them to get air purifiers, use baking soda or leave..

Then if they continue to use them, I would just throw them out. It is YOUR apartment. If they do not agree to your rules, then you can give them a 2 week notice to vacate the premises.
 

heatherlcornett

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I agree with what everyone else has said regarding the air fresheners. They're just covering up the smell anyway. I also understand what you mean when you say there is a cat smell. After I got my first cat in many years, I could definitely smell a difference in my apartment, not including the litter box. I found that Chewy.com has a biodegradable enzyme "fabric refresher" called BioKleen. It seems to do pretty well and its supposed to be safe for pets. I also changed from a clay-based litter to walnut litter and that improved the smell in my home tremendously. Maybe you could try some of the pet safe options and just have an honest conversation with your roomies about whether they can actually live with a cat. I don't think you have to be confrontational necessarily, and I think you could just explain how you are concerned about your cat and you didn't realize that having a cat might be an issue. Maybe start by asking them what you can do to help them. I find that approaching situations in this way makes people let down their guard and more willing to find a solution. I don't think you need to approach the situation thinking, " what can I do to get them to stop?," but rather asking, " what can I do to increase everyone's wellbeing (including your cat)?" Hopefully, that will get a conversation going.
 
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