Future pet owners: Food for thought


Courtesy of Jade Hurst

Sophomore art major Jade Hurst and her now six-month-old kitten Clover take some time to cuddle at home. Hurst adopted her pet through a local shelter called Saint SPCA.

Considering the workload of college life, getting a pet can be a big decision for students.

Having a pet during college can be enjoyable, but people must keep in mind that pets can be a big responsibility in their everyday lives. If you are thinking about getting a pet, there are plenty of thoughts to keep in mind when preparing for pet ownership. 

Sophomore art major Jade Hurst shared how she prepared to adopt her four-month-old kitten Clover. 

“I prepared for my pet cat by saving up to three months before I got her. I also did research on the best food and toys for her,” Hurst said. 

Hurst figured out she was ready to own a pet because she felt financially stable enough and was aware of the responsibilities that came with owning a young animal. As a college student, Hurst said she makes sure to put aside time to spend with her cat or multitask when she is studying or doing homework. 

Hurst lives off campus, so she was able to have more options for the types of pets she wanted. However, college students living on campus can be more limited.  

Rules can be a bit more restrictive when it comes to the type of animal you can own in dorms. At Southeastern, most of the on-campus residential halls allow students to own a pet fish. Freshman chemistry major Rayna Myers decided to get a pet fish she named Dog shortly after starting her semester and moving into her dorm. 

“I wanted to get a fish to have something that was my complete responsibility, separate from my parents. I had worked pretty much every day leading up to getting my fish so I had a little extra money,” Myers explained when discussing what she did to get ready for her fish. 

Both Hurst and Myers had a similar thought after getting their pet, which was realizing how much cleaning their pets would take. 

For example, cats’ litter boxes must be cleaned daily and their fur and claws must be maintained,  preventing the former from getting too dirty and the latter from getting too sharp. 

While fish can be more low maintenance than a cat, they still have to be cleaned and kept to a certain schedule, which Myers does in order to keep her college and pet-owning life organized. 

A recent graduate of Southeastern’s spring 2021 class, Madison McHugh, reflected on her time as a pet owner and college student.

Freshman chemistry major Rayna Myers takes a selfie with her pet fish Dog shortly after getting him. Myers lives in the on-campus dorms where students are allowed to have a pet fish. (Courtesy of Rayna Myers)

“Multitasking animal care and college is pretty easy if you are careful to get a low maintenance pet like a cat, snake or fish. My roommates and I also all share the responsibilities with pet care which takes the load off quite a bit for people with odd or constantly changing schedules,” McHugh stated. 

McHugh and her roommate looked into getting a trained older dog that would not need as much attention compared to a puppy or kitten.  

Overall, when it comes to owning a pet during college students should keep in mind what is best for their situation. If they are going to be at classes or work more often than they will be at home, maybe a pet is not the best option or they should choose a kind of animal that does not need a ton of attention or maintenance, such as a fish. 

Hurst said, “I recommend that if college students realize the responsibility of having a pet and they are financially stable, then pets are wonderful to have.”

If you are looking to get a fish like Myers, she got her fish from PetSmart. If you are wanting a furry friend to adopt, Hurst and McHugh both adopted their animals from shelters. 

Clover, Hurst’s kitten, was through a local cat shelter called Saint SPCA that rescues and looks for good homes for cats and kittens. You can also find Saint SPCA cats up for adoption through local stores such as Petco.

The app and website PetFinder is another way to look for a new pet close by.   

If looking to adopt from Saint SPCA, click here. Click here to check out PetFinder.