5 Reasons That Cats Are Perfect For Graduate Students

5 Reasons That Cats Are Perfect For Graduate Students

By the time someone completes a few years of college, there’s a good chance that they feel ready to add a furry (or scaley) friend into their home and life. It is my belief that the only pet suitable for a (responsible) college student is a cat. Here’s why:

  1. Convenience

    The more convenient you want a pet to be, typically it means that you lose out on other traits. That could mean less affection or intelligence, or just lack of a personality. Fish, for example, don’t seem to have a lot of personality. Personally, I think that cats shouldn’t be picked based on being ‘easy’ or ‘convenient’ because my cat is way more than just an easy, cool thing that I added into my home. However, I can’t deny that it’s really, really easy to take care of a cat. If you can’t handle a cat, I’m concerned about your ability to even take care of yourself. At minimum, a cat needs a couple good hours of social interaction a day (having more than one cat or animal that it can play with lessens the need for your presence pretty significantly). With a 1-2 litter cleaning, replacing the litter entirely every 1-2 weeks, and regular feeding with clean water available cover basically everything. The only thing you may need to deal with at that point is the scratching. That’s kind of a pain, although necessary to save your futon.

  2. Affection

    Anyone that says cats are jerks is totally biased, and only a little bit right. Cats can be incredibly affectionate, but I think you need to treat them more like dogs in order to get that from them. A lot of people get a cat and let it do its thing, which is totally cool in its own right, but limits their ability to bond with that cat; a lot of people also think that cats don’t show genuine affection or create real bonds with their owner(s). Is there a correlation between those two things? A causation, perhaps? Whether there is, or isn’t, I can say from my own experience that putting more time into understanding your cat’s language (verbal AND nonverbal) and being responsive to what it’s telling you will always pay off. When you respond in the right ways, the cat starts to dig you a lot more in a real way, not a being-used way.

  3. Nature

    By nature, cats are pretty weird. I can’t even count the number of times that I walk into my apartment, and the cat is sitting on the fridge meowing at me. Either that, or he has taken the dishtowel and pushed it Zamboni-style down the entire hallway. He’s a big fan of perching on things, instinctively likes to hunt anything that catches his attention (literally anything in motion), and scratches things pretty consistently. Although I think the affection you show a cat should be more like what you would with a happy puppy, you need to be conscious that cats have a very different nature and can be lovable within their own behavior. You can take care of the scratching and the jumping and the hunting by giving a ‘yes’ thing with every ‘no’ you want the cat to stop. Jumping on the counter? Give it something to jump on that’s at the same height in the room. Scratching? Put cat nip on a scratching post, and the cat won’t look at your futon ever again. Hunting your feet? Every time it attacks your foot, distract it with a fluffy, jingly thing. Your foot isn’t so fun anymore.

  4. Personality

    Beyond their nature, cats have really distinct personalities. As a child, I had two cats: one of the cats was very outgoing and playful, whereas the other was more independent and moody. The kitten that I have now is playful, affectionate, and very vocal about pretty much everything. Just like not every dog likes new people or being scratched by the ears, not every cat does either. Every cat has its own interests, play preferences, and moods. A cat will have its own personality when you get it, but you can take the time to foster the qualities that you’d like to see more of. If you do all of the things I’ve already mentioned, I think your cat will show you some real love.

  5. Intelligence

    I truly think that cats are the smartest domestic animals. Your cat is definitely smart enough to be very conscious of what its doing. It will figure out where you’re hiding the treats and will use every resource it has to get them when you’re not there. If you tell it to get off the counter but don’t provide an alternate option, it’s going to jump back up when you’re not home. Cats can’t be trained like other animals, because their independent way of thinking makes their relationship with you a choice. Providing what the cat needs and responding to it make it more likely to want to love you and be around you. If you treat it like a dog and scream at it when it does a bad thing, it’s not afraid of doing the bad thing at that point, it’s only afraid of you.

However smart and mischievous cats can be, they can also give you all the things you need as a stressed out student. Beware though, you may never leave your house again once you bring the little cutie in.

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Garrett Calton
S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications | Advertising Master's '18