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EasyBake Kitties: How to Have Your Own Cat on Campus

What it is actually like to have a cat on campus:

It is typically assumed that animals are not allowed on campus, but with the popularization of ESAs (emotional support animals) it has become much more common to see a furry friend in a dorm room. Beloit College is a good example of a school that supports students who need extra support in the form of a fuzzy companion. In my own experience having a kitty at my side while studying, and dealing with the hurdles of life on campus has been extremely beneficial. When I am too tired to go to class, feeding Lenny (my cat) helps get me back into my schedule, and when he bites it gives me a jolt of energy that helps me get through the day. Taking a break with your feline is much more rewarding and you tend to go back to your work faster, and with a greater sense of purpose. What I am getting at is that a campus cat is freeing, rewarding, and downright purrfect. 

How do you keep your cat satisfied in a small place:

Typically cats are described using extremes. A cat is either a straight menace or quite apathetic… according to non-cat owners (mic drop). I’m here to give you the real scoop on caring for a cat and their many different moods. There is quite a range and although some cats are just simply annoying, others might be all up in your space because they are not getting the attention they need (and deserve). Especially when living in a cramped space such as a dorm room it is very important to properly attend to your cat’s needs. I recently acquired a kitten named Brisket, and because she is a kitten she is often overflowing with energy. When I head off to class for the day I always make sure that at least two or three toys she’s obsessed with are scattered around my floor. Know that you don’t need to go out and buy super expensive cat toys; usually the ones that they like most were the cheapest. Ping pong balls are a great cat toy by the way. If your cat likes dangly toys, it could be a great idea to hang something unimportant to you (such as a scarf, shoelace, etc.) somewhere high up so that they can attack and play with it while you are away at class. Moving on, make sure to always greet your cat and give them lots of love and attention. Human companionship is very important to them. When receiving too little of this basic need, cats usually get sad and less active. Your cat may be registered as the emotional support animal, but remember you should still be a proper support back. Try to make feeding time as regular as possible, keep fresh water available, set aside time for playing with them, and last but not least, don’t forget to clean out the dreaded box of stink.

Is having a cat expensive:

When you are preparing for your kitty’s arrival you should know you might spend a fair bit. With essentials such as food, a litter box, and vet visits your bill might rack up. Not to mention toys, treats and other things that will keep your furry friend stimulated. Spending up to $200 dollars is not uncommon if you order extra trinkets for kitten, but if you are thrifty and visit things like give and take, or go thrifting for cat toys you can cut that in half. Most cat owners at Beloit College go to Walmart or Walgreens to buy their pet supplies because of convenience but also the good prices. We are college students afterall, but even on a tight budget a cat can be manageable. Just keep in mind you will have to keep buying litter, food and the occasional toy or treat.

How to get your cat registered:

Once you have your cat and it has all of its shots you can start filling out all of the necessary paperwork to get it registered! The first thing you need to do is email leads and ask for the ESA paperwork or find it on the college website under the emotional support animal document. Keep in mind you need a trained professional to say that you would benefit from having an emotional support animal. Turn those in, let them bake and voilà! Your kitty is ready to eat. People are approved more than not but if you are told no then how about a cookie.

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