Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Family and Children => Topic started by: kitchcat on June 20, 2013, 09:00:41 AM

Title: Where does the responsibility lie?
Post by: kitchcat on June 20, 2013, 09:00:41 AM
DH and are temporarily living with my mom and dad as I just graduated college and look for a job. It looks like we will only be here a couple of months at most.

DH and I have two cats, both young and active. My parents love the cats...but there is some culture clash between us over the pets. My mom is one of those hoarders disguised as an enthusiastic decorator. Every flat service in the house is covered in breakable knickknacks and frames. As in, good luck finding a place to set down your drink. My cats have naturally tried to jump up on the various accent tables, and inevitably knock something down because the surface is simple so packed with stuff, they can't even safely jump back down. So far they've broken two frames and a lamp.  :-[

After the first accident, I asked my mom if we could help her relocate breakable items to higher/safer places while we're here so the cats don't break anything more. She said "no, just watch them and don't let them break anything."

We would just keep them in our room with the door closed but my father dictated that their litter box go in a certain other room, so we have to leave the door open for them to access it. The floor plan is very open in this house so there are no doors to keep them out of certain areas. Baby gates won't work, they will just hop over them. It's not possible for us to watch them 24/7 obviously.

I understand the cats are our responsibility, but I can't help but feel my parents have some responsibility to protect their breakables. With the last frame they broke, I found it hard to act sympathetic when I've asked my mom multiple times to let us help her "kitty proof" the main common areas.

Am I out of line? Any advice?

EDIT to add:

The litterbox is located in the corner of another room because that room has tiled floors rather than carpet like in our room. My dad is like Mr.Clean's OCD brother, so a litterbox in a carpeted room is something he will not allow, ever. The room that the litterbox is a more open-style room, no doors or any way to enclose them in that room. Not that we would want to, because ironically, that room is the scene of two of the kitty crimes!

Teaching the cats not to jump is not possible. We have tried relentless for months with a squirt bottle. We just ended up with soggy, grumpy cats on tables instead of dry, happy ones.
Title: Re: Where does the responsibility lie?
Post by: camlan on June 20, 2013, 09:06:48 AM
I think it is time everyone sat down together and hashed this out.

Cats are cats and can't be trained in the same manner as dogs, to stay off furniture and not jump up. And I'm guessing that the OP isn't in the house 24/7 to watch the cats with an eagle eye.

The most reasonable solution to me is for the litter box to be in the OP's room. Perhaps if your father could explain why he feels the litter box shouldn't be in there, a solution could be found that would ease his concerns.

Or could the cats be closed up in the room that has the litter box, when the OP isn't there to watch them?

Maybe suggest to Mom that you take pictures of the current arrangement of things, then move breakables to higher ground, and promise to use the pictures to return everything back where it belongs when you move out?

Because the conflicting desires of the two parents have ensured that the cats will be free to break low-lying objects, despite the OP's desire to keep this from happening.
Title: Re: Where does the responsibility lie?
Post by: Pen^2 on June 20, 2013, 09:12:05 AM
They're being a bit odd about this. It's like deciding you want a horse, but insisting it lives inside the main house and then being surprised when it breaks stuff. They have accepted your cats as tenants (as it were) but have dictated that their living conditions are such that the cats will break things. You have tried to find other solutions but they have insisted that the situation remains one where breakages happen. That's not your responsibility anymore--that's just them being kind of weird about it. Possibly deep down they partially don't like the cats, or having to support you and DH, and this is how they let that out. But I think they're simply just being a bit dense here.

Be proactive. I think the easiest solution would be to take the litter box and move it to your room with the kittens. When your father asks why or goes to move it back, explain that to do so means that your mother's things will get broken. Be sure to explain that you will change it daily to keep everything clean etc. If he says you need to watch the cats, explain (politely!) that you can't control them 24 hours a day--you need to sleep, for one thing. If he's unhappy with this, either buy a new litter tray of your own to put in your room, or move the kittens to the room he has decided upon. But don't accept having the tray in a separate room from the kittens--keep reiterating something like, "I don't want mother's things to get broken:"

Father: "No, the litter box goes out here."
You: "But I don't want mother's things to get broken."
Father: "It's fine, just watch the cats."
You: "But that's not possible to do 24 hours a day. I don't want mother's things to get broken."
Father: "It's not that hard, just keep an eye on them."
You: "What you're asking isn't possible without mother's things getting broken." etc.
Title: Re: Where does the responsibility lie?
Post by: WillyNilly on June 20, 2013, 09:14:51 AM
Have you tried training the cats to not jump? Like do you always have a loaded water gun at the ready to squirt a cat on an upper surface? Have you provided other things, like a cat tree, for the cats to climb? I have had cats for almost 30 years now, and I was always successful in training them off certain surfaces, because I put in the effort - and its a lot of effort. Were the cats 100% perfect? No they are cats after all, but it was very very rare they broke the rules.

While I think your parents totally rearranging their home might be the required action, other actions can be tried first - moving all your mom's stuff should be the last resort not the first option.
Title: Re: Where does the responsibility lie?
Post by: kitchcat on June 20, 2013, 09:20:27 AM
OP here, I'll update the first post with this info because I probably should have put it there to begin with.

The litterbox is located in the corner of another room because that room has tiled floors rather than carpet like in our room. My dad is like Mr.Clean's OCD brother, so a litterbox in a carpeted room is something he will not allow, ever. The room that the litterbox is a more open-style room, no doors or any way to enclose them in that room. Not that we would want to, because ironically, that room is the scene of two of the kitty crimes!

Teaching the cats not to jump is not possible. We have tried relentless for months with a squirt bottle. We just ended up with soggy, grumpy cats on tables instead of dry, happy ones.
Title: Re: Where does the responsibility lie?
Post by: MindsEye on June 20, 2013, 09:25:09 AM
The litterbox is located in the corner of another room because that room has tiled floors rather than carpet like in our room. My dad is like Mr.Clean's OCD brother, so a litterbox in a carpeted room is something he will not allow, ever.

Can you put down a large square of linoleum (or plywood or cardboard or something) down over the carpet in your room, and then put the litterbox on that?  Maybe if there was a "barrier" between the litterbox and the floor with enough room around it to catch kicked pieces of litter that would be acceptable?
Title: Re: Where does the responsibility lie?
Post by: Pen^2 on June 20, 2013, 09:27:40 AM
OP here, I'll update the first post with this info because I probably should have put it there to begin with.

The litterbox is located in the corner of another room because that room has tiled floors rather than carpet like in our room. My dad is like Mr.Clean's OCD brother, so a litterbox in a carpeted room is something he will not allow, ever. The room that the litterbox is a more open-style room, no doors or any way to enclose them in that room. Not that we would want to, because ironically, that room is the scene of two of the kitty crimes!

Teaching the cats not to jump is not possible. We have tried relentless for months with a squirt bottle. We just ended up with soggy, grumpy cats on tables instead of dry, happy ones.

Not all cats can be trained like this--some, maybe most, but not all. I taught my cat to say "mama" as a greeting, but could never teach her not to jump on furniture.

Maybe a spot of plastic sheeting would do the trick. When I was staying at my MIL's place for a week with my cat, I bought a large (50cm x 50cm), very shallow plastic tray with a small lip around the edge. I them put the litter tray in this. Nothing could get on the floor--anything that ever spilled out of the litter tray ended up in the big flat tray. It sounds like having the cats in your room would be the easiest solution.
Title: Re: Where does the responsibility lie?
Post by: WillyNilly on June 20, 2013, 09:31:41 AM
Teaching the cats not to jump is not possible. We have tried relentless for months with a squirt bottle. We just ended up with soggy, grumpy cats on tables instead of dry, happy ones.

And no one said you should teach them to not jump. What I suggested was to teach them certain surfaces are off limits. You must provide an alternative place where they are allowed to jump. And then you use negative training on the surfaces they aren't allowed on (squirting them) and positive training on the surfaces they are allowed on (treats, scratches behind the ears, etc). Not providing them a place to jump onto and climb is, IMO, irresponsible pet ownership. And deciding to commandeer your parent's already occupied surfaces as the place for your cats to jump onto is, IMO, irresponsible house-boarder behavior.

One of these:
http://www.petco.com/product/113204/Trixie-DreamWorld-Altea-Platinum-Gray-Cat-Tree.aspx?cm_mmc=CSEMGoogleAdExtProd-_-Cat-_-Trixie-_-1383086&mr:trackingCode=273DC9C6-9EC7-DF11-98FF-0019B9C043EB&mr:referralID=NA&mr:adType=pla&mr:ad=31533080755&mr:keyword=&mr:match=&mr:filter=51515397355
or
 https://www.google.com/shopping/product/8180927328673810263?q=cat%20condo&client=Flamingvixen-a&hs=3Jh&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&bav=on.2,or.r_cp.r_qf.&bvm=bv.48175248,d.dmg&biw=1366&bih=664&sa=X&ei=jhHDUYqvIofH4APFzoGgCA&ved=0CIEBEPMCMAI
along with
https://www.google.com/shopping/product/2942487613610513370?q=cat%20condo&client=Flamingvixen-a&hs=3Jh&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&bav=on.2,or.r_cp.r_qf.&bvm=bv.48175248,d.dmg&biw=1366&bih=664&sa=X&ei=jhHDUYqvIofH4APFzoGgCA&ved=0CHsQ8wIwAQ
or
https://www.google.com/shopping/product/6052326577388285275?q=cat%20condo&client=Flamingvixen-a&hs=3Jh&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&bav=on.2,or.r_cp.r_qf.&bvm=bv.48175248,d.dmg&biw=1366&bih=664&sa=X&ei=jhHDUYqvIofH4APFzoGgCA&ved=0CHUQ8wIwAA

is affordable and fun for cats. And should be something you are providing for your young, active, indoor cats as alternatives to your parents already occupied surfaces.
Title: Re: Where does the responsibility lie?
Post by: bopper on June 20, 2013, 10:41:18 AM
Get plastic chair mat or the like that could go over the carpet but under the litter box and put the litter box in your room.
http://www.amazon.com/Cleartex-AdvantageMat-Chair-Hard-Floors/dp/B003XR7CDU/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1371742841&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=plastic+that+goes+under+desk+chairs

Keep the cats in your room. Tell your dad:

"Dad, we want to thank you for letting us stay in your home...and also taking in the cats.  I want to respect your home, and I want to respect your wish that the breakables stay where they are. I also want to respect that you don't want a litter box on a carpet.  What I am going to do is get a plastic mat, put it in our room and let the cats stay in our room.  That way we won't be stressed at all times about the cats but your items are protected."
Title: Re: Where does the responsibility lie?
Post by: Mikayla on June 20, 2013, 10:45:18 AM
I'm on Team Find-Floor-Covering.  There's all sorts of options.  PetSmart sells large metal trays (2' x 3') that go in the bottom of cages.  My housemate has a couple of cats upstairs that never leave the area, and she used one of these. 

Also, an even cheaper option is those large sheets of hard plastic (??) that office supply places sell for you to put under rolling chairs.

I think your Dad is the one who needs to budge on this one.  It's understandable that he doesn't want the box directly on the floor, but these solutions pretty much gaurantee nothing will remain after you leave.   Your only decision is whether you approach him yourself or ask mom to do it. 

ETA:  Cross post.  Yeah, bopper just found the chair thing I was talking about.
Title: Re: Where does the responsibility lie?
Post by: NyaChan on June 20, 2013, 10:47:14 AM
Our problem wasn't about breaking things, but it was about cleanliness.

We opted to first put squares of linoleum we had lying around from samples someone never came back to pick up, then we put a mat to prevent sliding, then lined it with plastic, added a border of towels, and then a litter box that was covered.  It kept the spread of the litter to a minimum and also prevented the cat from urinating directly on the carpet around her litter box (she had issues  ::)).

Perhaps suggest something similar, but otherwise, try to put it plain, that the only way you can guarantee the safety of their stuff is if the cats are kept in your room - and you can't keep the cats in your room unless the litter box is also in your room. 
Title: Re: Where does the responsibility lie?
Post by: Shoo on June 20, 2013, 10:51:30 AM
I'd get something like this to put in your room and contain any litter that might find its way out of the box.  It's about $23.  It's made for washing machines, but I think it could be used for lots of different things.

http://www.homedepot.com/p/GE-30-in-x-32-in-x-2-in-Washer-Floor-Tray-PM7X1DS/202214668#.UcMkOPm1GSo

Title: Re: Where does the responsibility lie?
Post by: m2kbug on June 20, 2013, 12:40:12 PM
I think one solution could be to see if a friend could take in the kitties for a bit.  I don't know if you have any friends that would be willing to do this.  It is kind of a long time to be asking, but this way the cats won't have to be locked in a room and won't be in a position to break the nick-nacks. 

Perhaps you could purchase a large rug to protect the carpet and get a really large cardboard box.  Cut the edges of the box down so that it, itself is like a bigger litter box with corners and edges that go up and collect any litter that gets kicked up or goes astray.  I don't know what kind of litter you use, but the clumping kind can damage the carpet if it ever gets wet or they want the carpets cleaned and it's not vacuumed up appropriately.  It turns to clay.  Of course any misses on the box isn't the best for the carpet either.  A box that has edges and sides and maybe a rug or plastic mat could be a workable solution to protect the carpet and so you can keep the box in the room and the kitties locked up.

The pet stores and grocery stores often have those really large cardboard bins, and many of the stores are happy enough to give them away to customers that ask.  The plastic mat mentioned earlier would be good, but a box would have the sides that go up so the litter can be better contained.  That tray Shoo posted looks good, but maybe the edges need to be higher.  Plus add a rug to collect any litter that sticks to their feet. 

Your mother cat proofing would really be the best and the easiest and I think your dad needs to bend a little bit  here.  You might need to sit down and have another talk with them and hopefully you can come up with a compromise.
Title: Re: Where does the responsibility lie?
Post by: Amara on June 20, 2013, 12:56:13 PM
I like the plastic floor covering you see under chairs in offices. If you have a private bathroom with a tub that you don't use why not put the litter box in there with a plastic shower curtain under it to protect the tub (and make clean up easier)?
Title: Re: Where does the responsibility lie?
Post by: beezelbear on June 20, 2013, 01:30:48 PM
Something like this :  http://www.petsmart.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2754444&f=PAD%2FpsNotAvailInUS%2FNo  might be a possibility for in your room as well.  My DH made a slightly larger version of this for our study (so it could hold 2 litter boxes side by side) for our study, and it contains the litter really well.
Title: Re: Where does the responsibility lie?
Post by: Bluenomi on June 20, 2013, 07:31:29 PM
Cats will be cats. Our house is cat proof and Isis knows not to jump on things yet last night she still managed to knock something off a bookshelf she shouldn't have been on and broke it (Poor Simba :( )

Your parents need at least attempt to cat proof the place and learn to deal with the fact cats break stuff.
Title: Re: Where does the responsibility lie?
Post by: Shoo on June 20, 2013, 09:53:27 PM
Cats will be cats. Our house is cat proof and Isis knows not to jump on things yet last night she still managed to knock something off a bookshelf she shouldn't have been on and broke it (Poor Simba :( )

Your parents need at least attempt to cat proof the place and learn to deal with the fact cats break stuff.

I really agree with this.  If they're going to allow your cats in their house, they have to take some responsibility for keeping their stuff safe, besides just expecting you to monitor them 24/7.
Title: Re: Where does the responsibility lie?
Post by: cicero on June 20, 2013, 10:53:41 PM
Is this maybe about you living with them? You say they live the cats, but maybe they were unprepared for the actual living with cats having cats that allow humans to live with them. Or maybe they are feeling resentment at having you move back in - you say it's just for a few months but it may be getting to them. Are there other areas of conflict- food, bathrooms, chores?
Title: Re: Where does the responsibility lie?
Post by: Margo on June 21, 2013, 08:07:42 AM
I'm with tream floor covering.

Also, have you considered getting really deep trays for the cats? A friend of mine who does cat rescue doesn't use cat litter pans at all. She uses plastic boxes -  this kind of thing http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B001W97J8Y (http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B001W97J8Y)

They're deep enough that the chances of litter escaping is very much reduced (and also as the lip is above the cat's head, even if their aim is poor everything stays in the box) and they are much bigger, and cheaper, that the kind of purpose made litter trays which come with lids and cat doors.

Combine with plastic sheeting / newspaper to cover the carpet

Title: Re: Where does the responsibility lie?
Post by: Bexx27 on June 21, 2013, 08:23:36 AM
What about anchoring knick-knacks onto surfaces with museum gel so the cats won't knock them over? http://www.amazon.com/Quakehold-33111-Museum-Gel-Clear/dp/B0002V37XY
Title: Re: Where does the responsibility lie?
Post by: Miss Tickle on June 21, 2013, 09:24:14 AM
Cats will be cats. Our house is cat proof and Isis knows not to jump on things yet last night she still managed to knock something off a bookshelf she shouldn't have been on and broke it (Poor Simba :( )

Your parents need at least attempt to cat proof the place and learn to deal with the fact cats break stuff.

I really agree with this.  If they're going to allow your cats in their house, they have to take some responsibility for keeping their stuff safe, besides just expecting you to monitor them 24/7.

Or they could say, "Sorry dear, this isn't working out. Please find somewhere else to stay." So yes, the responsibility is yours, 100%. If you can't come to a compromise that leaves your landlords/parents happy you might have to make the difficult choice to move out and live within your means on your own terms or give up the cats. This shouldn't be something your parents just have to deal with, that's not fair to them.
Title: Re: Where does the responsibility lie?
Post by: bah12 on June 21, 2013, 10:14:59 AM
Technically, I don't think your parents have to take responsibility.  They've basically allowed you and your family (including the cats) to come live with them and have set certain conditions.  While it sounds like those conditions are nearly impossible to meet, they are what they are.  Your mother doesn't want to kitty proof her house and your dad doesn't want the litter box on carpet. 

Is there a bathroom in the house that only you and your husband use?  Can you relocate the litter box there and leave the cats there during the day?  I know it's not an ideal environment for them, but it seems it's either that, or try to convince your dad that a plastic floor covering in your room will alleviate his concerns about litter on the carpet (I hate that too, it is hard to vacuum it all out if the pile on the carpet is looser). 

I think if that suggestion doesn't work, your only other choice would be find them a temporary home until you can afford to move out.
Title: Re: Where does the responsibility lie?
Post by: bloo on June 22, 2013, 12:47:04 PM
Is this maybe about you living with them? You say they live the cats, but maybe they were unprepared for the actual living with cats having cats that allow humans to live with them. Or maybe they are feeling resentment at having you move back in - you say it's just for a few months but it may be getting to them. Are there other areas of conflict- food, bathrooms, chores?

When I read the conditions your parents have set, I'm reading between the lines, "We don't want your cats (or maybe you) to live here but we don't want to have to say that out loud. So we're just going to make things so difficult that you'll leave or lose the cats."

I think the responsibility is yours and since conditions are impossible, find a temporary home for the kitties or all of you move out ASAP.
Title: Re: Where does the responsibility lie?
Post by: FauxFoodist on June 22, 2013, 12:49:03 PM
Technically, I don't think your parents have to take responsibility.  They've basically allowed you and your family (including the cats) to come live with them and have set certain conditions.  While it sounds like those conditions are nearly impossible to meet, they are what they are.  Your mother doesn't want to kitty proof her house and your dad doesn't want the litter box on carpet. 

Is there a bathroom in the house that only you and your husband use?  Can you relocate the litter box there and leave the cats there during the day?  I know it's not an ideal environment for them, but it seems it's either that, or try to convince your dad that a plastic floor covering in your room will alleviate his concerns about litter on the carpet (I hate that too, it is hard to vacuum it all out if the pile on the carpet is looser). 

I think if that suggestion doesn't work, your only other choice would be find them a temporary home until you can afford to move out.

Pod.

In answer to your question, it's THEIR house, and those are YOUR cats.  The responsibility is yours and your husband's absolutely.  In a perfect world, your parents would be totally up for adapting their house to fit your young cats, but that is obviously not the case.  Even if they were up to making the changes you'd like, it's still not their responsibility to adjust to accommodate your pets' behavior.  Given that, if it were me, the choice would be to let you know to either find another home for your cats temporarily or find another home for you, DH and your cats that will work with your needs.

I'm a bit curious about how you worded your first post when describing your parents:

My mom is one of those hoarders disguised as an enthusiastic decorator. Every flat service in the house is covered in breakable knickknacks and frames.

My dad is like Mr.Clean's OCD brother, so a litterbox in a carpeted room is something he will not allow, ever.

To me, these descriptions definitely slant quite a bit to the negative side.  This is your parents' house.  I don't actually get the impression that your mother's enthusiastic decorating exhibits hoarder tendencies, nor do I think your father not wanting a litter box in a carpeted room makes him like Mr. Clean's OCD brother (mind you, I am going off the examples you are giving, specifically).  Basically, I don't think their wishes are at all unreasonable nor are the practices in these examples unreasonable -- it is THEIR house after all; they can keep it as they see fit so if your dad doesn't want litter anywhere on the carpet and your mom's practice to cover all her flat surfaces with knicknacks works for them, then there are no problems there (if you'd said something more like "we all have to eat with our plates balanced on our laps and holding the drinking glass in one hand because the dining table is covered with stuff" or "Dad makes us take our shoes off outside, rinse our feet off with a hose, then stand on a towel and dry them off before coming inside the house" then I'd get more of where you are coming from with the extreme negative descriptions of them).  I will agree, though, that it makes things much more difficult for you, but, really, that's up to you and your husband to figure out how to work around their wishes if you want you two and your pets to continue availing yourselves of their hospitality.

I apologize if I sound harsh.  I'm slightly finding myself in the same boat (as far as trying to rein in cats).  DH and I bought a house last year, and my two senior cats are very messy creatures (one because he's more like a clumsy dog and the other because he will deliberately make a mess when he is upset with me about something).  I love my cats dearly, but I don't want them to take over our house.  The decision I've made (that meets with DH's approval) is that I'll get a large pen for them to stay in when we are not home (people do this with their dogs all the time).  So, anyway, I'm suggesting that, perhaps, you get a pen for your cats for when you are not home?  When you ARE home, well, you really will have to keep an eye on them the entire time; that is the cost of living at your parents' house with your cats.
Title: Re: Where does the responsibility lie?
Post by: NyaChan on June 22, 2013, 12:58:12 PM
SoCalVal - how do you keep the cat from jumping or climbing out?  I've seen one go up what looked like a straight wall but darned if she didn't find a way up.
Title: Re: Where does the responsibility lie?
Post by: FauxFoodist on June 22, 2013, 01:15:22 PM
The pens I've been looking at have a top to them.  One cat is too heavy to jump out (and he's not about to climb unless he could go surface to surface until he reached the top if the top were open).  The other cat would be the concern and needs a full enclosure.  They wouldn't stay in the pen while we are home and awake (yes, they'd go into the pen at night when we are sleeping since we couldn't watch them then).
Title: Re: Where does the responsibility lie?
Post by: snowdragon on June 24, 2013, 10:40:03 AM
surface is simple so ."


EDIT to add:

  My dad is like Mr.Clean's OCD brother, so a litterbox in a carpeted room is something he will not allow, ever. The room that the litterbox is a more open-style room, no doors or any way to enclose them in that room.


    I am as from mr clean as you can get with out living in flith....I would not allow a litterbox in a carpeted room either. You would NEVER get all the litter up out of the carpet.  And if your cats wouldn't train out of jumping on furniture- you'd be told that you and DH can stay but the cats can't, your choice as to how to handle it. 
    I don't see anything that your parents are doing that is unreasonable.
Title: Re: Where does the responsibility lie?
Post by: shhh its me on June 26, 2013, 09:36:35 PM
   People out of love or obligation say yes to things they really can't do. 

Its not rude to not allow cat boxes on carpet , to refuse to move your belonging to accommodate a house guest or to tell a guest do let you pet or child break things.   

So the responsibility is still yours.  I think you can try the suggestions here ...adding a temporary surface to the bedroom , asking a friend to take the cats, crating them , keeping them in a bathroom with the little box when you are not actively engaged with them ect.  You can also speak t you parents and say " I can not keep the cats from jumping on the shelves. If we cant not do  A, B or C . the only way to keep more things from getting broken is to have the cats move"
Title: Re: Where does the responsibility lie?
Post by: peaches on June 26, 2013, 09:53:39 PM
[Or they could say, "Sorry dear, this isn't working out. Please find somewhere else to stay." So yes, the responsibility is yours, 100%. If you can't come to a compromise that leaves your landlords/parents happy you might have to make the difficult choice to move out and live within your means on your own terms or give up the cats. This shouldn't be something your parents just have to deal with, that's not fair to them.

I agree. Your parents don't owe you housing. They are trying to do you a favor. If it's not working out, it's up to you to make it work (to their satisfaction) or to move.

They may not have realized what it would be like living with cats. Sometimes a generous impulse turns out not to be such a good idea.