For most students, going to college is the first time they spend extended periods away from their family and home pets. The feelings of homesickness may get out of hand when you miss both your family members and animal companions. It might not be possible to carry your family pet to college, but you can get a new furry pet to keep you company in off-campus housing or dorm room.
The best furry pets for college students should require little time and money to maintain because students have limited time and money. Certain pets require a lot of those two resources as well as responsibility, three things that most college students can’t offer.
Let’s take a look at the role of pets in a college student’s life. We’ll also examine several furry pets suitable for a college student and what makes them ideal.
The Role of Pets in College Students’ Lives
A study conducted by the American Psychological Association revealed that more than 40% of college students report feelings of anxiety after separation from their families. The study also revealed that 36% of college students reported that they had feelings of depression. A pet can provide much-needed companionship for college students and boost their emotional stability.
Critics often argue that a pet, especially cats and dogs, are too expensive to maintain and may take up much of a student’s time, leaving little time to concentrate on studies. Some colleges do not allow students to bring cats and dogs to school. However, there are options for furry pets that are much easier to maintain, making them ideal pets for college students.
Even if it is very rewarding to have a pet in college, some students may worry about taking care of a pet and still attend classes. However, there are several benefits of pets for college students. Studies show that pets are good for our health. Most pet owners experience a surge in their feel-good-hormone oxytocin while in the company of their pet.
It would be great for a student to interact with their pet after a long day at school. A pet can improve their productivity and boost their moods, making every day feel great. Some of the benefits of pets for college students include:
- Provide affection: Whether it is by sitting on your lap as you finish your assignments or playing with you during your free time, pets are affectionate. A pet will offer you love and make you feel loved even while you are away from your family.
- Less feelings of isolation: A pet will keep you company; you will not feel lonely or isolated. A pet would be particularly suitable for a new college student who hasn’t made some friends yet.
- Lower stress levels: Most college students report feelings of depression and anxiety while in college. You can cuddle or play with your pet during your free time or college breaks. Even as anxiety and depression cases continue to rise among college students, a cuddly furry pet can make life more enjoyable.
- Help you relax: While in college, you may get so engaged in school work that you forget to take some time off and relax. Overworking may hurt your grades and increase the likelihood of stress and depression. When you have a pet that requires your attention, you have to take some time off work. A pet will encourage you to take a break and get a breath of fresh air.
Not every dorm will allow you to bring your dog or cat. Needless to say, you can’t bring larger pets like horses to college. The best pets for college students are small animals that are easy to handle and take care of. Some of the characteristics of good college pets include:
- Easy to clean after
- Easy to maintain so that they don’t interfere with your schoolwork
- Allowed or approved by the college dorm
- Orderly, friendly, and able to stay in a dorm
Hamsters are one of the most popular small pets, especially for college students. Hamsters are solitary, and they are easy to look after and handle. A student can keep a hamster in the dorm without disturbing the other students. Some of the factors that make hamsters ideal for college students are:
- Simple to look after: Hamsters are relatively simple and affordable to look after. For many years, hamsters were a core component of the pet trade. A great variety of specialist equipment is available, making it easy to take care of hamsters. Hamster food and toys are also readily available.
- Clean: Hamsters are among the cleanest pets. They often form the habit of defecating at only one corner of their cage, making it easy to clean after them. A well-cared-for hamster is unlikely to have a bad odor. Therefore, a hamster will not make other students uncomfortable.
- Fascinating to watch: Hamsters are fascinating to watch and can bring much-needed relief and relaxation to a college student’s life. It’s entertaining to watch a hamster filling its cheek pockets with extra food and then placing the food into a private “cache.”
Gerbils make great pets for college students and are easy to look after. Also known as a desert rat, the Gerbil is a small rat of the subfamily Gerbillinae. Gerbils make great pets for college students and can provide many hours of entertainment and fun. Even if gerbils do not like to be cuddled, they show affections in other ways. Gerbils are perfect pets for college students.
- Companionship: Gerbils make great companions because they become so attached to their owners. They are cute animals that are interesting to watch and interact with. Gerbils are very sociable creatures that enjoy interacting with their owners. Gerbils do not sleep for extended periods but, instead, take short naps throughout the day. Therefore, students can play with gerbils at any time they please.
- Well-groomed: Gerbils are clean, well-groomed, and pose minimal risks of infections. Gerbils are also very predictable, unlike some pets that may attack other students. No matter how you handle a gerbil or how frightened a gerbil is, they don’t bite or scratch.
- Low maintenance pets: Gerbils are also among the easiest pets to care for. In general, they remain clean, and they rarely soil their living quarters. A student does not have to do much work cleaning after a gerbil.
Guinea pigs, also known as cavy, are rodent species that belong to a family of Caviidae and the genus Cavia. Despite their name, guinea pigs are not related to pigs, and neither are they native to Guinea. Guinea pigs are great pets for college students because they have many exceptional qualities.
They are small, personable, and gentle. Some of the factors that make guinea pigs great pets for college students include:
- Hardy: Students may not have much time to attend to a pet. Guinea pigs are great pets for students because they are hardy. With proper feeding, guinea pigs are very healthy animals. Because guinea pigs are from cool climates, they do well in enclosed spaces and will thrive well in a student dorm.
- Unique: Many people may not realize it, but guinea pigs have many personalities. While some guinea pigs are bold and dominant, others are shy. Before acquiring a guinea pig, a student may interact with it and understand its personality.
- Live longer: Unlike hamsters and gerbils that often live for 1-3 years, guinea pigs live longer and provide constant companionship to a student. Most guinea pigs live for 5-7 years, but some may even live for over ten years.
Compared to ground squirrels, chinchillas are larger and more robust. Chinchillas can make great pets for the right person. Naturally, the creatures are skittish, and they don’t like to be held but tend to become very attached to their owners. Chinchillas are lively, fun, and entertaining. Some of their outstanding qualities are:
- Low maintenance: Chinchillas are perfect for students because they are low maintenance. After incurring the initial cost of obtaining the chinchilla and setting up the cage, the pet’s maintenance costs are pretty low. All that a student has to do is place food and refill water for the chinchilla. Chinchillas love to chew, and as long as you get them something to chew on, they are good to go.
- Can live alone: Even if chinchillas are pretty social animals, they can also live alone comfortably. Chinchillas are fond of living a solitary life and will rarely demand your attention. A chinchilla will be just fine remaining in the dorm while a student attends classes.
- Clean: While choosing a pet, a student must be careful and ensure that the pet does not smell. Chinchillas are a great option because they are clean and do not smell. They have hard poop, and this makes it easy to clean after. Chinchillas are also easy to dust, preferably weekly.
Bunnies (rabbits) are small mammals in the order Lagomorpha. Unlike some pets, rabbits do not require much room and will be comfortable to stay in a cage. Rabbits are clean, easy to toilet train, and very affectionate, making them great pets for college students.
- While living in a dorm room with other students, they are quiet: A student would not like to have a noisy pet that may cause a commotion. Rabbits are quiet and will not cause trouble with your roommates.
- They bond with their owners: Since rabbits have domesticated habits, they are comfortable around humans, making them great companions. When your rabbit warms up to you, it will always be delighted to see you and will love spending time with you.
- Available in many breeds: Because rabbits are available in many breeds, students will choose the ideal breed for a pet. They are available in different sizes, colors, textures, and fur lengths.
A fancy mouse is a domesticated type of house mouse. It is an ideal pocket pet for college students. Some of the qualities that make the fancy mouse a great pet are:
- They love to play: Mice love to play, and this makes them a great source of entertainment, which is what a college student needs.
- Tidy: Mice are easy to keep and take care of in a dorm room because they are tidy. Mice love to tidy their cage, store food, and groom one another.
- Inexpensive to maintain: Mice are inexpensive to maintain and will not be too much work for a college student. They do not take up much space and do not eat much.
A rat is a medium-sized, long-tailed rodent that is usually distinguished from a mouse-based on size. Rats include the large muroid rodents, while a mouse is generally smaller. A fancy rat is a domesticated type of brown rat. It is a common pet and ideal for college students.
Rats make great pets because they are social and intelligent animals. Some of the benefits of pet rats for college students are:
- Smart: Compared to other pets, rats are very smart, making them easy to train. This smartness is the reason why rats are commonly used in scientific studies and think mazes. Rats are intelligent to the extent that they will even learn and master the name you give them.
- Clean: A student may not have enough time to clean after a pet. With a fancy rat, this is not a problem because rats keep it clean. If a rat gets dirt on the fur, the first thing they do is clean it up. Rats also have a habit of keeping their cages neat, organized and they can be litter trained. If you keep several rats in one cage, you will see them grooming one another.
- Responsive: Rats are responsive, and you will know when your rat is happy. Whenever you see rats tapping their teeth together, it is a sign that they are excited. They often bond with their owners and recognize your voice and face. At times, rats may even try to groom their owner, the same way they do to other rats.
Rats are personally my favorite small pets, I have owned a few over the years and currently own 3 males rats, they are great pets and very affectionate.
Before rushing off to buy pet rats please be sure to read another one of our articles 17 things you should know before owning rats.
Cats are ideal pets for college students only if the college allows students to have them in the dorm rooms. A college student may also have a cat if they live in off-campus hostels where they are free. Cats give their owners unmatched love and companionship.
Cats love cuddling, and they will often curl up in your lap after your long day in school. What makes cats great pets?
- Independent: Unlike dogs that require constant attention, cats are a bit independent and will be okay even when a student leaves them behind to attend lectures. A cat will be there when you need them, but they are also used to entertaining themselves. They do not require constant attention, and you will not feel guilty about leaving your cat behind.
- Quiet: Cats are quiet, and you do not have to worry about disturbing other students in the dorm room. A cat will not make noise and prevent you from concentrating on your studies.
- They fight pests: A cat pet offers more than companionship. Cats will keep off small pests that invade your home. Many people are aware that cats love to hunt rodents. However, cats also kill insects and exterminate bugs like spiders and flies.
Here is a video on how to clean a small pet’s cage:
A lemming is a small rodent that is closely related to rats, mice, and hamsters. In the United States and Canada, lemmings are considered exotic animals, and you may not find them being kept as pets. However, they are common pets in Europe. Since they are small and easy to maintain, they make great pets for college students.
Pets that require low maintenance and attention are ideal for college students. A student will not have to worry about taking care of an animal and concentrating on studies. The ten furry pets listed above are easy to maintain and will provide much-needed companionship.
If you are looking for a good pet for teenagers, why not read our latest article 7 Best Pets to Have as a Teenager.