How To Have A Cat In College

Smart Cat Writing With Books On WhiteSo, you’re in college, and you desperately miss your cat from home. If you’re used to having pets, going from a fur-filled household to a college campus can be a huge change. It’s important to get that animal interaction that you’re so used to, and there are a variety of ways to make it happen. If you are in desperate need of feline affection, we’ve got some great ways to have a cat in college right here.

1. Volunteer at the local animal shelter: If your campus is in or near a city, there will likely be more than one animal shelter to look into for volunteering. Volunteering not only benefits you by giving you some animal-time, but also helps the shelter with their daily activities. If you volunteer to help with the cats, you’ll likely have to help with feeding, brushing, and cleaning, but you’ll also get to socialize with the kitties.

If your campus is in a more rural setting, you can probably find an animal shelter or a group cat home that you can help out at. This is a great way to get your cat time in while doing a good service for the community. Some colleges or college groups require community service hours in order for you to graduate, and volunteering at the local animal shelter might just be the perfect way to quell your pet-sickness.

2. See if your campus has shelter days: Lately, it has been a trend for colleges to invite shelter animals or service animals onto campus. This is in an effort to help relieve stress off of the students, and often takes place around finals time. You can check with your local organizations or your RA if you live in a dorm to see about any shelter days at your school. If this isn’t happening at your school, student leadership may be able to set it up, so talk to a member of your student leadership board and see if they like the idea.

3. Find a friend: It would behoove you to find a friend with pets that you can spend some time with. If your friend has a cat or cats, let them know that you’d love to help cat-sit if they ever need someone. Go over to your friend’s house and enjoy time with their cats. It may not be the same as having one of your own, but if you’re missing your cats from home, simply getting some feline interaction might make you feel better.

4. Adopt a cat: If you’re in a living situation that would allow a cat, you may want to make the decision to adopt your own cat. If you live in a loud building with lots of roommates and people coming and going, you may want to hold off on adopting a cat. However, if you have a calm home-life or live alone, this might be the perfect time to bring a cat into your life.

Cute little cat with books on light backgroundIf you’re adopting one and live with roommates, make sure that it is okay with everyone and spend some time establishing ground rules. Make it clear who gets to keep the cat when you all split up eventually so that it won’t turn into an argument later down the road. Establish responsibilities, like who pays for the food and who helps out with the kitty litter. Having a cat around can reduce stress for an entire household, and college is a very stressful time for many people.

No matter how badly you want a cat, never bring an animal into your dorm room or apartment if it isn’t allowed by the building manager or landlord. If you do this, you are putting the animal and yourself at risk of eviction, suspension, and your cat could end up at the pound. Most campuses take this very seriously, and most dorms don’t allow pets of any kind. Patience is key here, and you want to give any pet that you have the best quality of life possible. Having to hide a pet is stressful and won’t end well.

If you’re not sure that you want to adopt a cat, you may also want to try out being a foster home. This way, you’ll get the excitement of a pet without the lifelong commitment. Many shelters even provide the food and litter for you to take care of the animal, so you wouldn’t be spending much money. Fostering can be an emotional rollercoaster, and you’ll want to make sure that you’re prepared to handle it while being in college.

College is a crazy time full of growth and experiences, so make sure that your cat-quest isn’t holding you back from all that college has to offer. If you intend to study abroad, adopting a cat isn’t the best idea right now. If you do decide to adopt a cat, you might want to establish a backup home just in case things don’t happen how you expected them to; for example, if you have to move and your new home doesn’t allow cats or if you can’t bring your cat with you when you transfer. Your parents or a good friend may offer to take care of the cat in circumstances that you can’t.

Adopting a cat is a huge responsibility and shouldn’t be taken lightly. However, many college students have adopted cats and had a great experience the whole way through. Just remember to be responsible with your situation and make the best decisions for you and the cat. Try out volunteering first and if that doesn’t cut it, you can think about adopting.