With three boys in college, I have learned that sometimes the only way to find out about what they are doing is via social media. This morning I saw a photo one of my sons posted that was of a cute little kitten. When I read the caption for said photo, it informed me as follows: We got a new kitten!
My son has three other roommates, and I wonder if this was a joint decision or one of “Hey, I found this little kitten and thought he would make a good mascot for the house.” Either way, having a kitten roommate within shared living quarters will require a team effort to make it work, and I found some valuable information on petfinder.com to support my beliefs.
When you have a kitten roommate, here are some points to consider:
- Who will be responsible for veterinary care? It’s important to determine who will transport the cat to the vet and who will cover costs for the medical care.
- Who will be responsible for daily routine tasks such as litter box maintenance? Animal disputes may and will arise, especially if the litter box is rarely maintained. Make a schedule for litter box maintenance and determine how others will know the task has/hasn’t been done.
- How will the feeding schedule work? Decide how to track who will be feeding the cat, and determine how to know if the cat has been fed during the day. Failure to do so can lead to no feeding at all, or double feeding, which can leave you with a very overweight cat.
- How will you handle advising your landlord and fellow roommates? Be upfront with your roommates and with the landlord about your pet. Everyone needs to be on board.
- Who will pay for supplies such as food, litter and toys? This are ‘must haves” for cat guardians, so it’s important to work out how these items will be obtained on a regular basis.
- Who will be responsible for cleaning? Keep the common areas of the residence clean, especially if some of the roommates do not prefer pets. Also, when guests arrive, they can have a clean and comfortable place in which to relax. When having visitors, check first to be sure no one has a severe allergy to cats.
- Who will care for the cat when all roommates are away? If you plan to go away for a weekend, make sure someone is around to care for the cat. One important aspect of being a responsible pet owner is to keep the cat’s best interests in mind. If you need to find someone to take care of your cat while you are away, and no one else in the house can do it, find an alternative…such as a great pet sitter!
- How will be responsible for any damage the cat may do? Take responsibility for any damaged items. If the cat scratches up a roommate’s chair or damages anything in the house, own up to it.
- Is everyone still on board with having a pet? Is anyone bothered by him? Keep the dialogue open between all residents of the house. Have regular, simple conversations to avoid more challenging ones after resentment has been allowed to build up.
- What happens if it isn’t a good fit? If the new addition to the “family” is not working out, you may have to find a new place to live or find a way to keep the peace until the lease expires and then look for a living situation that will be better for everyone – including your new pet!
- Who will be the cat’s permanent guardian after graduation? How will that be decided?
Yes, I am somewhat nervous about this new addition to my son’s collegiate home. Hopefully, all the guys will remain responsible for the kitten. Having a pet is not like having a toy. You can’t be excited about it for a few days and then ignore it. It is a commitment. Put your heart and soul into it.