I (female, 27) am living with couple-roommates—a man and a woman in their 30s. M owns the place, and his partner F moved in around June 2020. And a total of three cats: one cat is a stray we let in before F moved in; the other two cats belong to F. I am getting SUPER frustrated about the litter box duty. We set a schedule, and I made up a chore chart to help remind us. Honestly, I don’t care if others use the chart or not. I just care if the chore is done. After making this statement several times in text and in person to M (I limit interactions with F for personal reasons) and taking off all the other possible chores we discussed so literally, litter duty is the only chore listed, yet there are still issues in getting it done. Most days I scoop (MWF mornings, as we originally discussed). I am scooping two days’ worth of litter, and sometimes three if it’s Monday. After bringing this up with M, it still continues. Lately, F has been using the chart I put up but has also been retroactively marking it done when it wasn’t (i.e. Wednesday I scooped two days’ worth, and there was no “check” under Tuesday… yet this morning a check appeared under Tuesday, and it’s not likely a mistake, as today’s hasn’t been scooped yet either).
The cat I consider most mine (once a stray) doesn’t use the litter box that often, as we let her in and out. The other cats are inside only, so have no other option. I feel bad for them having a dirty potty, but I am so frustrated with feeling like I’m the only one consistently cleaning up after them when they aren’t my responsibility. I am tempted to “stalemate” and refuse to do any litter box duties, but I know this is childish and won’t actually solve the problem. But it doesn’t seem like the conversations with M are helping, and I’m tired of nagging.
What would you do in this situation? How can this be peacefully resolved? I am trying to move out, but in the meantime I’d like to cohabitate here as best as I can.
TL;DR: roommates don’t live up to the basic chore agreement and I’m frustrated with taking care of it. How do I handle it without being passive-aggressive or sowing disharmony?
Help me not stalemate in chore wars!
I have been in your exact position before, and it’s a big part of the reason that I’ve decided never to have roommates again. Navigating household duties and sharing them evenly can turn once-loved friends into old roommates that you never want to speak to again. For real, there are perfectly decent people in this town who are rightfully loved by everyone except me, because they kept trashing common spaces right after I’d clean them. Your best long-term solution is to work towards a solo living space for you and your cat in the future, but I agree that it’s best to nip this in the bud right now.
I don’t have cats, but I know that they are finicky about territory and sharing. Is it possible to train your cat to use a litter box that you keep in your personal space? You could keep your own private litter box as clean or as dirty as you like, and if it’s in your bedroom, I’m sure it’ll always be spotless. Conversely, could your roommates move their neglected litter box into their bedroom? If they don’t want to keep it clean, fine, but they need to be the ones who deal with the consequences of that. I’m sure that may feel like a stalemate as well, but I’ll be honest: These two are way too old to act the way they are about chores, and you are not going to change them. They’re not going to magically become clean people just because you asked nicely, so you need a solution that doesn’t require changing a person’s personal attitudes and desires for house and home. We all just have different standards in that way, and if we won’t even change them for our partners—how many people out there are disgusted by their boo’s home?—then we certainly aren’t liable to change them for roommates.
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