Guests Don't Read - My First "Didn't Know About the Cat"

I changed my cancellation policy to strict and immediately got my first guest who didn’t read. I have my SH badge (inexplicably tickled), IB on (upped my bookings, esp. a long way out), and decent pics, competitive pricing (market average).

Guest booked Saturday for Monday, within the 48 hours. Cat is disclosed in the text of the listing and in 2 pics. The saved message I send mentions the cat in the first sentence and the final sentence. The message is 4 sentences long.

I think he wants to cancel because I have a meeting from 4-7 and disclosed that in my immediate follow-up messages to try and arrange a check-in time. I offered early check in to drop bags and get a quick tour. Suddenly he’s got allergies and “didn’t know and does it go in the apartment?” Not an apartment, clearly listed as a private room and bath without a separate entrance.

I’ve told him to call Air. I hope they honor my strict cancellation policy and don’t reward his inability to read or his desire to wriggle out of paying for something on a strict policy.


Hi, Congratulations! Thank you for your request to stay in the private room in my home, which is owned by the cat. Please confirm you’ve read the house rules, agree to them, and understand there is a cat on premises Now that your reservation has been accepted, please send me the actual name(s) of the person(s) staying along with a photo ID for each person. This is an insurance requirement. Please let me know your arrival time so we can be ready to greet you. Prepare to pay the toll of scritching the cat behind the ears. Thank you in advance.

EDIT/UPDATE: The congratulations was because he’s buying a boat. Yay him.

And now he won’t cancel.

We won’t cancel. You are right at the images. I see the cat now. If the hair and dander aren’t pervasive In the bedroom I will be ok.
We really are all about getting this boat out to sea. I don’t expect to do much other than sleep at your place. The proximity to where we will work on the boat is too good to pass up.
I’ll invest a couple nights to see if it works.
Ok with you?

That would be enough that I would cancel had I not read it, guests have 48 hours to cancel unless the booking is less than two weeks out I think. I wonder why the guest did not cancel the minute they read that? Oh, he did not read it… Lol.

Be careful this does not drag on too long, the guest will be able to review you if cancelled within 24 hours of check in.

Keep us posted as to the outcome.


The only thing they cancel on and refund their money is that you can’t check-in him from 4-7. It was after he already booked …I would be pissed as a guests if I has to wait for 3 hours for checking after I already booked .
This is one and main reason why I prefer to stay hotel when I can afford it . The check-in process.
Though originally he said it was his alergies

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Congratulations? ok, I would reconsider that, unless staying with you and the cat is like winning the AirBnb lottery?




He didn’t mention his allergies until 5 messages into the Instant Booking.

Why would this make you cancel? All my guests have loved that and always play with the cat.

Because I am allergic to cats, and I really do not like them. But I would never book a shared listing for many reasons so it would not come up for me.

I read everything before hitting the instant book button!


Many of us work and often have to set check in blackout times.

I offered self check in and early check in since they have to drive past my house to get to the boat yard. Once I did that, he mentioned allergies.

Of course you do!

Even cat haters love my Bengal, but the breed is special.


I keep telling him to cancel and he now says they booked “with a similar cat” on the way down (from the Midwest) “…and a zyrtec seemed to sort it out” and not to worry about my rating. I asked why he booked with pets if he has allergies.

There is only 1 other listing within 2 miles of the boat yard and that one is more expensive, has kids, and dogs. If he goes 3 miles out, there are no-pet listings at similar or cheaper price points.

He also assured me that my 5 stars for cleanliness were secure. I could give a toss about my rating - I don’t need a hospital bill or someone threatening that or going into anaphylactic shock.

I keep telling him to call Air and cancel. I’m not comfortable.

And I don’t feel that I should take the financial hit because he didn’t read.

He has 1 review and none from his drive down.

YOU can cancel no penalty since this was a IB and you can do it online.

I would not though, he seems contrite and willing to put up with the cat.



A ok i didn’t realize you offer self check-in

I don’t think Air likes when one party asks another to cancel .

Why is this fellow already talking about your ratings? Did he bring it up first? Or he is just responding in conversation to something you brought up?

This sounds weird that he’s discussing your rating with you prior to arrival.

Then you should call Air and tell them you are not comfortable. Or just go online and cancel him and say you are uncomfortable.

I completely understand this. I have had a couple of people do a similar thing with my pet pre-approval. However, it only worked out for me because they did cancel. If they decided not to cancel and I felt uncomfortable then I would call into Air. The financial hit you will take for this guy messing with your ratings (if he’s already talking about them…) is much larger than a 2-night stay.

If you believe him that he’s made a complete turnabout then fine, but if you are truly uncomfortable, just call it in. It’s not worth the extra drama for a couple of nights rate.

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It’s getting better - Now he says that he won’t go into hospital or shock and that he’s got Zyrtec on hand and GET THIS - they had a Balinese cat for 8 years.


Then why bring up your allergies?

I’m calling Air to cancel. This is too much.

Great idea! I would do the same. I have a cat too and am very hesitant to take people who state up front that they have allergies. You never know the degree of their allergies or how they’ll react to your specific cat, and the last thing you need is someone to get anaphylaxis from being around your cat. This guy sounds like potential to be big trouble and flaky.

One other thing…maybe it’s just me, but there’s a couple things that I don’t particularly like about your welcome message. Why say congratulations as opposed to thank you for booking? Is that part of the humor that’s weaved throughout the message? Also, for people who aren’t familiar with cats, they might not understand the joke about the cat owning the house (or does the cat own the private room as I first interpreted it?). AirBnB should back you as you make it very clear that there’s a cat, but you never know these days with the oddities of the CS agents. Clearly the guy didn’t read, but one thing you might consider (which I do) is to specifically ask guests to confirm that they don’t have any issues living with a cat.

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He did not state up-front. It was only after the 5th request for him to confirm he’d read HR that he said he didn’t see the cat.

EDIT: I normally say thank you, this time it was congratulations on buying a sailboat.

Cat owns everything. I’m allowed to serve. :wink: Most of my guests book because I have a cat.

I’ll tweak.

Canceled. Gave them full refund just because. No hit to my SH status, no hit to my 3 SH cancellations. Both CS reps said “Guests are responsible for reading and who would be dumb enough to not read an entire listing or a contract they’re signing?”

'bout fell off my chair. Took 30 minutes, but at least now I don’t have to deal with a difficult guest.

Now to work on my welcome messages.


I don’t buy this allergy talk also. I have no allergies at all so I don’t really care if there animals …I’d there is no smell all is good with me . But alergies are very serious issues . If you are alergic I would assume these people would be super cautious and ask before hand about this or that .

Exactly. $116 isn’t worth the hassle. And I’ve just raised my rates for the week because my neighborhood is booked out and the other listings aren’t as nice as mine.

Now to get guests to not drag coolers across the hardwood into their bedrooms and violate the “no food in the bedroom” rule.