My fluffy little nightmare

Tiffany Low discusses having an unpaying, extra furry little housemate at uni

16th November 2015

While you scroll down your Facebook news feed, you will literally be bombarded with umpteen cute dog/cat/other assorted fluffy animal videos. Do you ever get that wave of nostalgia for your pet at home?  Animals are inescapable; they seem to be everywhere; they even have their own Facebook and Instagram stuffed full of pictures that make you want to cry.

When you are hanging around in the city, you might see people taking their dog for a walk. When you are going back from uni, you might see an errant cat in the less student-y part of Jesmond. Don’t succumb to the urge to stick it in your backpack and take it home to your grateful flatmates, instead question whether it would actually be worth the hassle. Let me to help you analyse the pros and cons of uni housepets…

Yes because...

1 It can comfort you no matter what the issue; they can help physically and mentally. When you feel sad, stressed, or just want to find somebody share with, pets are always loyally by your side. In the sad case that you might have an argument with your friends, or housemates, it might be the only one you can talk to at home and you can express your feelings to your pet and they will just let you hug them until your heart’s content.

"Don't succumb to the urge to stick it in your backpack and take it home to your grateful flatmates"


2 A pet is always a good conversation starter. I do not mean having a pet can help you to make friends (although it may help your pulling technique if you wap out a picture of  your fluffy friend), but it is easier to make new friends when they have a pet as well. You can talk about how to take care of your pet, and show your pet’s funny videos to your friends.

No because...

1 Pets aren’t allowed in student accommodation.If you are living in uni or even private accommodation, you are not normally allowed to keep pet, end of. If they find you keeping a pet, they may ask you to move out or pay for a fine. Think of the mayhem in first year of your pet escaping into the room of that lesser-well-known housemate. Some private accommodations might let you (or be less observant) but remember to ask them for permission.

2 It depends on what pet you have, but it will still not be cheap since you are not simply just buying a pet; you need to buy your pet a home and the general maintenance that is needed to keep it alive. Pet’s food cost, which you need to buy every week, will have to be incorporated into your own student budget food shop. It is essential to check whether you have enough money to keep a pet. Can your student loan handle it?

"pet's food cost, which you need to buy every week, will have to be incorporated into your own student budget food shop"

3 You need to take time to care, if it feels sick you need to bring them to the vet no matter whether you are dealing with your deadlines. You cannot hang out with your friends for the whole day, because you need to spend time to take care of your pet. And every time you want to go for a trip, you need to ask your friends to take care of it, just remmeber you can’t leave it for a week or even for a day!

4 How will your drunk friends treat them? In the event that you host a house party (or just a bit of a rowdy pres), how can you guarantee your pet will not be involved? Pets need normal rest, unlike humans, they can’t play overnight. So the main issue… Don’t let your drunk friends think your pets are play toys! Everyone knows how quickly a standard game of ‘Ring of Fire’ can deteriorate into an absolute frenzy.

After the PROS and CONS analysis, can you now answer the question? If you can deal with place, cost, time and your friends, having a house pet is a potential choice to accompany you in your uni life. But maybe a stick insect or those Sea Monkeys that you can grow from powder (magical in itself!) as opposed to a fully fledged animal that will make more demands on you than your deadlines. Remember, a pet is for life, not just for uni.

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