OPINION: Pros and cons of adopting a pet in college

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A cat named Robyn prepares to leave her carrier at an adoption event hosted on July 7, 2018 by Cattails, a non-profit, no-kill feline rescue in Manhattan. Local resident Natalie Young created the organization in 2010. (Alex Masson | Collegian Media Group)

College can be very stressful between tests, quizzes and projects. Adding on one more thing to worry about might just make you even more stressed… but what if that one more thing was small, fuzzy and loved you unconditionally?

My junior year in college, my roommate and I decided to get a cat, and there are definitely pros and cons to owning a pet in college. On one hand, I love my cat and wouldn’t want to give him up. On the other hand, it’s important to consider the not-so-fun consequences of pet ownership.

Pro: Pets give you cuddles

Don’t you just love lying on your bed, snuggling up next to your pet and watching a movie? I know I do.

It’s the perfect way to spend your evening, and studies show that pets lower stress and anxiety levels and enhance the relationships in your life. When it comes to fighting off loneliness, pets pack a pretty powerful punch.

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A cat gazes out of its cage at the T. Russell Reitz Animal Shelter on Oct. 3, 2018. (Rowan Jones | Collegian Media Group)

Con: Your housing might not allow it

After adopting our cat, my roommate and I came home after fall break only to find ourselves with a $300 fine for an apartment code violation. Our building doesn’t allow cats, and someone decided to sneak pictures of our cat, Tommy, as he sat sunbathing in the window of our apartment.

Whether you live on campus or off, there are many restrictions when it comes to pets. If you live on-campus, it’s much less likely that you’ll be able to have a pet like a cat or dog, but fish or smaller animals like hamsters might be allowed. Checking out all guidelines beforehand can help you avoid an issue in the future.

Pro: Pets make everything better

Cats and dogs can sense your emotions somewhat, so if you’re upset or stressed out about school, they might know just how to make you feel better, whether with cuddles, playtime or otherwise. It’s science.

Con: You get less sleep

College students barely get enough sleep as it is, and a pet may contribute to the deficit.

Depending on what kind of pet you have, you might find yourself up at the early hours of the morning or staying awake late at night. Dogs need to be walked, birds like to talk and cats like to sit on your face. Be prepared.

Pro: Pets become your best friends

Your pet will do anything for you — and let’s be honest, you’d probably do anything for them, too. They are there for you when you need a good cry, and they are there for you when you want to go grab an ice cream cone without feeling like you have to share it with someone. Pets can be unlikely friends, but that doesn’t make your relationship with them any less meaningful.

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A veterinarian examines the ear of a dog at the Little Apple Veterinary Hospital. ( Archive photo by Hannah Hunsinger | Collegian Media Group)

Con: Money, money, money

Budgets are tight during the college years, and pets aren’t free. Paying for food, accessories, toys and veterinarian expenses will add up quickly. It’s important to consider this before diving into the world of pet ownership.

Overall, a pet can be a great addition to your life, but remember to think everything through. No pet deserves to be owned by someone who can’t take care of them. Owning pets in college is a lot like most things in life: understand the pros and cons, be willing to face them and you’ll thrive.

Gabrielle Albertson is a senior in mass communications. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to opinion@kstatecollegian.com.

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