Adopting a Pet in College

Six months ago, I adopted a two-year-old Tuxedo Cat from a local shelter. It was the best decision I have made in college, and I encourage all of those considering adopting to do so! Below are some tidbits from my experience as a pet owner in college.

First, I discussed with my roommates to get the go-ahead (an obvious first step for anyone who lives with people). One of my roommates is allergic to some cats, so she came to the shelter with me to adopt. Luckily, she had no reaction to the cat I decided to take home.

Next, it is important to have a small amount of money saved, in case something is to go wrong. It cost about $100 to adopt and then an additional $50 for all the first-time supplies- litter box, cat carrier, food, and a couple toys. In addition to these initial costs, I spend about $20 a week on litter and food combined. The reason I mention the importance of having money saved is because of those expensive visits to the vet. In the six months I have had Tobi, I had to take him to the vet twice. The first visit was initially after I got him, to treat him for ear mites that the shelter told me about and paid for the visit. The second visit was more recent and required him to get an x-ray which totaled about $200. Luckily, he is fine, but as a college student, this put a dent in my bank account.

Now, onto logistics. I keep his litter box in the hallway outside my room. I clean it at least once a day, usually in the morning when I first wake up. Since he can freely roam the common areas of my apartment, we make sure to keep the front door closed at all times (so he can’t escape). My cat, Tobi, usually wakes me up to be fed every morning around 7. He’s very vocal about when he wants attention and wants to be fed, no matter what time of day it is. However, I try to keep it consistent by feeding him at the same times every day.

Cats are different than dogs in the sense that their personalities fall on a broader spectrum. Some are anti-social and don’t like to be pet unless it’s on their terms. Others, like Tobi, are extremely playful and demand attention. He usually meows for about an hour before I actually get out of bed, and by that time he’s beyond ready to play. I try to play with him every morning for about a half hour to get his energy and exercise in early. This is a good way to tire an energetic cat out- if you have one like mine who sits on my laptop during zoom classes.

While cats require less attention than dogs, I think some people underestimate the amount of work they are. Cats, just like all pets, can get lonely, even though they are fairly self-sufficient. I make sure to snuggle him as much as I can, which is actually mutually beneficial. Did you know cats’ purrs have healing properties for humans?

They are so many benefits to having a furry friend, and I highly recommend that everyone adopt (responsibly)!

2 thoughts

  1. Michaela, kudos for all your responsibility toward your pet. A pet owner needs to be aware of responsibility towards your animal once you decide to adopt. You have taken on an obligation to be a care taker. You seem to be doing all the right things in accepting the fact that Tobi needs food, water, diaper changing or rather kitty clean-up, and doctor visits.

    Again, kudos to you and your new best friend.

  2. I can attest to the fact that Tobi is the best cat. Tobi spent about 6 weeks at our house during the Coronavirus. Tobi and Michaela are inseparable. It’s a beautiful friendship. I am a pet lover myself. I had 3 cats, multiple cockatiels and two little guinea pigs. I had dogs over to our house when family went on vacation and on and on…. For those who have never felt the love of an animal they have never truly loved. Animals love unconditionally.

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