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The Truth About Having Pets In College

A common thing I hear college students say to each other is “I would love to have a pet at school.” I know many people who, come senior year, decided to adopt a puppy or a kitten to make this dream come true. As amazing as pets are, there are some important factors to consider before you take the leap and invite a furry friend permanently into your home. As a pet owner in college myself, I’m here to tell you the good, the bad, and the annoying things about having a pet (or pets!) in college.

The Good:

1. All the cuddles

Having a pet is fantastic because you will always have a cuddle buddy. Want to snuggle in bed all morning? Your dog will be down for that. Feeling like sitting on the couch and binge watching your favorite TV show? Cats are all about that life.

2. Unconditional love

This ties in with the cuddles, but essentially a pet will always love you. In the midst of the stress of college, coming home to a little animal that thinks you’re amazing is magical.

3. Stress relief

What is the best way to relieve the enormous amount of stress in the daily life of a college student? Petting an animal. If you have one at home, well, you might still be stressed, but at least you’ll have free pet therapy every day.

The Bad:

1. They need a LOT of attention

This is especially true for dogs, but it is even true for cats. I have three cats in my house right now, and they demand a lot of time and attention from me every day. They are also old cats (they’re family pets who are currently living with me), so if older animals demand attention, just imagine how much attention a puppy or kitten will need. Hint: a ton.

2. They’re expensive

The food, the toys, and the things they destroy all cost money. The vet is also incredibly expensive (not unlike human doctors) and if you have a pet emergency, well, you need to have the funds to take care of your furry friend.

3. They are stressful

I know I just wrote about how a pet will relieve your stress, but your pet will also add to it. Daily walks with your dog, petting sessions with your cat, feeding your fish… whatever animal you adopt, there will be work involved. This is stressful; however, is also rewarding.

The annoying:

1. They will ruin things

Just a couple of days ago, one of my cats found his way into my closet and decided to pee, ruining three pairs of shoes. Animals will do this occasionally, no matter how well trained they are (and my cats are well trained, believe me. If you want a cat trainer, call my dad because he is a pro). Ruined furniture, rugs, clothes and shoes all are realities of being a pet owner.

2. You must take responsibility for them

This is not necessarily annoying as much as a fact of life. You are responsible for another life now and you have to be willing to make sacrifices. This may mean that you can’t take off for a weekend without finding a pet-sitter or a kennel. You can’t stay out all night because your dog will need to be let out and fed. Your life will be tied to your home more than if you didn’t have a pet. This is the trade-off you make for all the other wonderful things about having a pet.

So, is having a pet in college really a good idea for you? Make sure you consider the negatives and responsibilities around it before you adopt. Happy petting!

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