Ask Alice: Advice for Life at Home

Alice, I’m Allergic to My Neighbors’ Cats (and They’re Everywhere)

updated May 4, 2019
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: Shutterstock / Allard Laban)

Hi Alice!

I recently moved into an apartment building that allows cats. Although I am severely allergic, I never thought it would be a problem— why should a cat confined in a separate apartment bother me? Then, the day I moved in, I met a neighbor who happily told me I moved to the “cat floor.” Uh oh. I wasn’t confused for long: my neighbors open their doors and let their cats roam around the common area by the elevator! Four separate times, I have opened my door to find multiple cats running at me full speed! There’s nothing on the lease indicating where the cats are allowed, but is this normal!? I pay for the use of the common area, too, and never expected cats to be there! I have offhandedly mentioned my allergy to my neighbors, but they still don’t keep the cats inside. I would go to management, but I don’t want them to hate me— I hope to get along with everyone. But I also want to be able to breathe freely without having to visit the ER! I signed a one-year lease, so I can’t simply leave. Any suggestions are appreciated.

Thanks for your help,
Woefully Wheezy

Dear Wheezy,

Oh no! Your poor watery eyes! You certainly shouldn’t have to live in misery for the next year so let’s talk this out.

It’s certainly strange that your neighbors are all in the “free range cat club.” I’d be willing to bet that even though your lease doesn’t specifically say cats can’t roam the common areas freely, management probably wouldn’t be thrilled. Yes, it’s hard to be the tattletale that ends the fun for the cat lovers on your floor but common areas are for everyone and that’s you, too.

I think you need to be a little more clear with your neighbors that, while their cats are cute, they also make your life miserable in your own building so please keep them inside. If they want their cats to socialize, they can always arrange play dates within the confines of their own apartments. If they don’t oblige, I think you have two options: 1. Put your foot down and tell management you can’t take the fur anymore and deal with the neighbor fallout or 2. Ask to relocate to another unit on another floor of your building (presumably with the same rent as you are paying now) away from the “cat floor.”

Good luck, Wheezy. I hope you’ll be able to breathe freely really really soon!


Have a stumper for Alice? Submit your own question about life at home to