Gag me with a spoon: What to say to a roommate who uses shared tableware to feed a pet?

By Amy Jamieson
Updated July 14, 2009 09:48 PM
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It’s enough to make even a pet lover’s stomach turn: Your roommate swoops into the kitchen to feed her cat and picks up a fork from the shared utensil drawer. She doles out the smelly Fancy Feast with the fork (which you’ve eaten mashed potatoes with many a time) and plops it into a bowl that held your Cheerios earlier that day.

Not everyone considers a pet a third roommate. So, how do you address the dilemma of sharing utensils with a roommate’s cat or dog? Amy Zalneraitis, the author of Room for Improvement, The Post-College Girl’s Guide to Roommate Living, says you should approach this “sensitive” situation very carefully.

“People are highly defensive and protective of their pets, so I would start off saying, ‘While I think Fluffy is great and love having him around, it kind of grosses me out to have to eat out of the same bowls as him. Even if he were my own pet, I’d feel the same way,’ ” Zalneraitis tells PEOPLE Pets.

She recommends using “I” when addressing a roommate, rather than “you” which could be interpreted as critical. “By talking about the way it makes YOU feel rather than attacking her, you’ll almost always get better results,” she adds.

How would you deal with this situation? Leave your suggestion in the comments below!