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Parent's lack of concern


Checking out the neighborhood
I'm a minor who’s a high school drop out, so I of course live with my parents. I have a cockatiel that I love dearly who hangs out with me constantly. My parents however, don't seem to care about their safety as much as I do.

My parents (mainly my stepdad) have the entire house filled with all sorts of plug in air fresheners. They are in almost every hallway, just about every single room (with the exception of mine) & they refuse to listen to my concerns whatsoever. My stepdad has one of the automatic spraying ones because we have ferrets that smell, except he has it in the room directly underneath mine. My room has a floor vent that leads directly to the room underneath. He also sprays cologne to the point where I can literally taste it every time he gets ready to go to work (which is almost every day) & nobody will listen to me when I try to bring it up.

Does anyone know how I could get them to listen to me? They always tell me that I'm overreacting & that it won't actually cause harm but I don't think I am? My bird is very important to me & it makes me really upset that they seem to think their house smelling like chemicals everyday is more important than the wellness of my bird. I'm hoping that the vet may be able to convince them? But at this point I don't even know. I used to take batteries out of the spray ones but my stepdad realized this & gets mad at me when I do it now. I set all of their plugins to low everytime I see them set to anything else but I know deep down it isn't enough. I'm honestly debating just removing the little blue light in all the plugins that tells you when it's running low so they stop replacing them because I really don't know what else I can possibly do.

I'm just tired of feeling like I'm somehow in the wrong here, I just want my bird to be happy & healthy. Am I really in the wrong or are they just making me feel like I am?

anyways, thanks for reading
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Rollerblading along the road
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Welcome to the forum and thank you for caring for the bird who's in your care.

Air fresheners are a problem for our birds so you're right to be concerned.

Like any other air care product, it’s best if you remove a pet bird from the room until the Febreze dissipates. Birds have smaller, specialized lungs and their respiratory systems do not respond well to air care, while your cat or dog can happily get their sniff on (source).

It's often a challenge to control what others do, so focusing on what we can control ourselves can lead to a solution.

Is you bird housed in your room? If so, perhaps you could focus on making the air in that room as clean as possible through filtration and ventilation. If you don't already have an air purifier, you could consider getting one for your room and making a point to shut the door so potential toxins from the rest of the house have a barrier, and the purifier will have less volume of air to filter. Diluting the air with fresh air from the outside will also help, and that's as simple as opening a window. You could also close the vent you mentioned. If you can't afford an air purifier on your own and need to rely on your parents to assist, you could frame it as for your benefit rather than your bird's (since you've already highlighted they have little concern for your little one). Explain that it's for your benefit to manage your bird's dust and if you're successful, then you'll both benefit. An air purifier to filter a single room as also cheaper than a single vet visit, so there's financial incentive to take that path as well.

Speaking of incentives and motivation, if your parents are health conscious, you could start educating them that air fresheners aren't good for humans either, so leverage their own self-interest as an indirect path to helping your bird. If you're interested in things like architecture and buildings, there's lots of information about improving indoor air quality in our indoor environments. Air fresheners worsen indoor air quality and only mask smell problems such as your ferrets -- it's always best to clean the air through reduction at the source (clean the ferrets more frequently), filtration and ventilation (which we've already discussed). Fixing that problem may remove the perceived need for the spray freshener to mask the issue (indirectly benefiting your bird). Your parents may also embrace improving indoor air quality if they associate it with supporting something you're interested in. Lastly, your idea about your vet being able to convince them is great if your parents tend to listen to people who are perceived to be an expert or in a position of authority. Just ensure that your vet shares your concerns before they speak to your parents, otherwise that would backfire if your vet said there's nothing to worry about (if your vet's not concerned, then it's time to look for a new vet).

TL;DR focus on things you can control, and identify things that motivate your parents and indirectly leveraging that to achieve your end goal of protecting your bird's health.


Walking the driveway
Avenue Veteran
I also live with my parents, and I often feel really bad that I had asked them to replace all their pans, cleaners, etc. to bird-safe ones since it is their house. I couldn't just ask my parents to not use pans, so I found bird-safe ones to replace them with. You can give them another option for dealing with the smell, like maybe boiling water/cinnamon/oranges. I think it's important to explain the statistics, what might happen if something were to go wrong, and that it's very serious. I agree with the air purifier, I have one in my room by the cage, and a medical-grade one by the fireplace. I think if they really don't want to change anything, the only other would be to move out. But if you go to an apartment, you could end up with the same issues with neighbors using these things or even smoking.