Editorial: College isn’t for kitties

By Staff Editorial

Checklists of things to bring to college don’t generally include a litter box for… Checklists of things to bring to college don’t generally include a litter box for Fluffy.

But some colleges offer pet-friendly dorm rooms, such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Washington & Jefferson College in Pennsylvania, according to The New York Times.

This seems like a good idea, since many college students miss their family pets just as much, if not more, than they miss their families.

And while some insist this is a way to ease the transition from home to college, others admit being pet-friendly is a way for colleges to stand out in a competitive market.

Despite possibly easing the transition, some still worry that allowing college students to keep pets will prevent them from going out and meeting people, as noted in the article, because they will have to stay in and take care of their pets.

In the article, psychiatrist Dr. Harold S. Koplewicz says, “By having your pet there, you could have an excuse not to go out and talk to people.”

Keeping a pet other than a fish at Pitt is next to impossible, as no dorms and few off-campus housing options welcome animals.

And it should probably stay that way.

The negatives seem to outweigh the positives when it comes to having lax pet policies.

In addition to being disruptive to socializing, owning a pet would also likely be disruptive to students’ studies. How effectively can a person study for his or her history final when Checkers won’t stop barking?

Sanitation is another issue.

College students are dirty enough as it is. Why add animal feces to the mess of old pizza boxes and dirty laundry? University janitors have hard jobs, even without having to clean up half-spilled bags of soiled cat litter from the trash rooms. There’s also the probability that students wouldn’t clean up after their pets outdoors, either, making for an unpleasant campus environment.

And while having a pet might make some students antisocial, neglecting the pet isn’t any better. Even if Fido has been locked up in your tiny Towers dorm room all day while you were at class, do you really want to miss that party tonight just because he needs a walk? We’re guessing not. And if the pet happens to get sick, a lot of students probably wouldn’t have a way to transport it to the veterinarian, let alone the money to pay for the bill.

Which brings up another important point to consider: the cost of keeping a pet. Most college students live on extremely tight budgets. Do they really need the extra and unnecessary expenditures that having a pet entails? Probably not.

Ultimately, college students are just learning to take responsibility for themselves. They don’t need the added cost or responsibility of caring for another living creature, and university employees don’t need the extra chore of cleaning up after them. And with the possibility of neglect, we’d rather not risk the safety of the animals.

So while pets are enjoyable, often stress relieving and comforting, college dorms are not an ideal environment for them.

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