The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

Ask Life: How do I take care of a pet in college?

Great companions, high responsibility
Penny%2C+Anna+Adams+pet+cat%2C+as+a+kitten.
COURTESY OF ELLIE ADAMS
Penny, Anna Adams’ pet cat, as a kitten.

Dear Life Section,

I am a college student and would love to have a pet — preferably a dog or cat — for companionship during my time here. However, I am worried I may not be qualified to take care of an animal. Do you have any tips on how to be a responsible pet owner?

Sincerely,

Aspiring Responsible Owner

 

Dear Aspiring Responsible Owner,

Congratulations, you are already asking the right questions, and that is a huge step in owning a pet.

Taking care of a living animal that relies on you for food, attention and basic necessities is no small task and must be taken seriously. Here are a few steps to complete and information to know before you take that jump.

Do you have a proper space for your pet to live? When first arriving at college, many students want a pet to meet their psychological needs. However, keeping a pet in a dorm room has some risks and extra responsibilities.

A cat is usually fine staying in one room, as long as their needs are met. Cats should have food and water, toys, a place to sleep and preferably a place to perch because they like height.

A dog can be more complicated. They have more energy, can be larger than cats and react worse to confined spaces. You may want to put them in a crate when you are gone, but leaving them there for long periods can hurt their mental health, and crate training takes time.

Although cats are independent, they do require attention, and depending on their personality, setting aside time in the day to play with it is a must.

A dog must be taken on one to two walks a day for their mental and physical health. This does not include all the times you must let them out to go to the bathroom as well.

Finally, you must have savings or a job with a steady income, because taking care of a pet is not cheap.

Prices vary from clinic to clinic, but you must set aside a few hundred dollars for your pet to get their shots and to be spayed or neutered. You also never know if they will get sick or need surgery for any reason. And finally, you will need money for their food, bed, toys and other basic necessities.

Being a busy college student is not easy, a pet may certainly help with your mental health and happiness. However, it is important to keep them as happy and healthy as they make you. Do your research, save your money and you will be set to have a new furry friend.

Sincerely,

The Life Section

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About the Contributor
ANNA ADAMS, Managing editor
Anna Adams started at The Daily Evergreen her senior year in October 2023 as a life reporter and multimedia editor. Currently, in the spring 2024 semester, she is the managing editor. Anna is a Pullman native and is studying multimedia journalism. In her free time she enjoys reality tv, traveling and trying new coffee shops.