AIBU to not want to visit my friend because their place smells like cat?

I have a new friend and we’ve been having a great time in our respective group getting to know each other and finding a lot of common interests.

One night we all left the bar and decided we wanted to keep on drinking so he said he lived nearby and we should all come over for continued drinks! We all heartily agreed but as soon as I walked in, I could tell it was an animal house. The smell of “cat” was intense!

He only had one cat, but it was a small apartment with a balcony, so the smell of the cat food, kitty litter, and general cat “small” was like a wall. I thought if I just waited I would get used to the smell, but nope, it was really that strong. I looked around and everyone else seemed fine, so I thought maybe it’s me having a sensitive nose, so I didn’t make a scene, but also didn’t stay as long as I normally would have.

Later I asked some friends and they said they smelled it but it was fine and it didn’t bother them.

Now he wants to have another drinking session at his place and I really like him and want to join my friends but honestly, for me the smell is so bad I won’t be able to enjoy it.

Am I being unreasonable?

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I adore cats. Cats have kept me wanting to live sometimes when nothing else did. If I had to choose between dying at 70 after sharing my life with all the cats I wanted and dying at 100 after never being allowed to have a cat again, I’m really not sure what I’d choose.

That said, cat food and litter boxes smell fucking disgusting.

You’re not being unreasonable.


I dont’ think you’re being unreasonable.

We’ve got a cat now, and I’m scared of our home smelling like it. I’ve asked friends when they’ve visited if they notice anything, because you don’t always notice yourself when you live there. (They’ve all said there’s no cat smell, I hope they were being honest!)

I’d actually be happy to get this information.


Nah, you’re good. Our sensitivities are what they are, and you should respect yourself (in the form of your nose) in this.

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I’m very late to the comment party, but: No, you’re definitely not being unreasonable! As others have said, respect your nose. (I once house-sat for a friend who does cat rescue and didn’t realize how bad her place had gotten, and the smell quite literally gave me a vomiting migraine.)

That said, owners can minimize cat smell, even in a small apartment. Get cats fixed to prevent marking behavior, help keep them hydrated to prevent urinary tract infections (cat fountains are great, and wet food for cats who won’t use those) and get them to a vet right away if they develop one (or aren’t keeping themselves clean), keep the litterbox clean so cats won’t want to avoid it (and if the scooped waste doesn’t leave the apartment immediately put it somewhere odor-containing, not just in a trash can), don’t use heavily scented litter (which some cats find really offputting and which can overlay rather than prevent odor), clean up any messes as soon as possible with an enzymatic cleaner so the cat won’t keep smelling it there and want to re-mark it, store cat food in sealed containers, clean food bowls regularly and rinse all cans out before recycling, etc.

It’s also possible the smell was particularly bad for some reason the day you were there – a mess he hadn’t had time to clean up, maybe he didn’t want to scoop the box with friends there, perhaps the next day was trash day, whatever. You could give his place another shot some time if you’re up for it and haven’t yet. But you don’t have to, and it’s not unreasonable to not want to unless you’ve heard things have changed for the better.

It’s been a couple of months. How have things gone?

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