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My Roommate Wants to Get a Cat (Should I Allow it?)

If your roommate wants to get a cat you may be wondering what you should say. I am assuming it’s not an easy decision, or you wouldn’t be reading this, right?

Should I allow my roommate to get a cat if they want it?

Yes, you should let your roommate get a cat if it is allowed in your accommodation and you have no allergies or anxiety around cats. It will keep them happy and increase the chances of your roommate staying with you.

Now that you know it may be a good idea to let your roommate get a cat, let me go on to explain some pros and cons of having the cat in your accommodation to help you decide if you should agree to it.

Does your accommodation allow cats?

Why does my cat follow me to bed?

Opening a bedroom door.

Earlier I mentioned that one of the conditions around your decision is if it’s allowed in your accommodation. This is quite important before going any further.

Rented Accommodation

If you are currently renting a house with a friend/partner, and they want a cat. The key thing is checking with your landlord first. Sometimes it may be clearly stated in your rental agreement, other times it may be vague.

If it is not clear, contact your landlord or agent to confirm where you stand first, before agreeing to get a cat with your roommate.

Student Accommodation

Student accommodation is often the same as rented accommodation. But, in some cases, you need to speak to the college/university directly, rather than a landlord.

Depending on their rules, it may even be common knowledge that pets are not allowed. Often, in designated student accommodation, for example, student dormitories, they have a no pet policy, but you will have to check for yourself.

Government-funded Accommodation

If you have government assistance, you may be living in a house owned by the government. If that is the case you need to check their policy on pets. The problem is, every local area has lightly different rules. So, there is no one size fits all policy, are you with me?

Owned Accommodation

If it is your own accommodation, then you have no real restrictions. It comes down to you if you can cope. If you have any allergies or any major reason like that, then it is a no-brainer to refuse.

But, if that is not the case, you may consider going ahead with the new cat. This is for two reasons:

  • Keep your flatmate happy
  • Make them more likely to stay longer.

Is there more than two people to consider?

So far I have discussed your accommodation and the reasons why you may consider going ahead with the new cat. But, if you have more than two people to decide, this can get more complicated.

Settle it with a vote

The best way to deal with this, in my opinion, is to have a vote. This is the fairest way. This is because unstructured “discussions” can usually lead to who shouts the loudest, or worse case, you all fall out, are you with me?

What are the advantages of having a cat?

Before you even consider saying yes, or no. You need to understand the advantages of owning or sharing your personal space with a cat. Let me help by listing some advantages of owning a cat…

01. Help you through hard times

One of the benefits of owning a cat is their company and unjudgmental presence. What do I mean by this? Well, if you are going through hard times, such as losing a friend or a family member, it can be beneficial to have a cat.

They are unjudgmental because they can’t talk back with an opinion that could make you feel uneasy. In fact, many cat owners love having them for this exact reason. They will listen without a response. Some owners argue that this lack of response is very therapeutic.

Studies have concluded that cats help secrete oxytocin, which is a hormone responsible for love and helps us trust people. Others have also stated that cats can help to calm some autistic children.

02. Find a Partner

In recent studies, it has been confirmed that having a cat can increase your chances of attracting a partner. This is based on a survey done on female members of popular dating websites.

The response was that females were more likely to respond to a male profile that had a cat because it made them feel that the male was more sensitive.

03. Emotional Support

You may have wondered why there is a stereotype of lonely single librarians having a kitten, as a replacement for a partner. Well, maybe there is a reason for this.

Because a study conducted back in the early 2000s concluded that cats provide emotional support. It found that the level of emotional support was similar to having a significant other. This may be helped by cats’ reciprocating affection sent their way.

04. Reduce day-to-day stress & anxiety

Many cat owners have explained that part of their love for cats has been because of their ability to help them get through anxious times in their life.

Simply playing with their cat and open displays of affection (Click here to see why your cat may have stopped sitting on your lap), such as cuddling and holding them have made a big difference in their stress levels and anxiety.

05. Get rid of Mice & Rats

What do you do with injured mice?

A cat next to a mouse.

One of the more obvious advantages of having a cat is pest control. When I say “pests”, I mean mice and rats. Most people are aware of cats’ hate for mice, in fact, it has been played up quite a lot on TV. In particular cartoons such as “Tom & Jerry”, remember them? Or am I just showing my age, ha!

06. Keep you active

I understand that cats are not as needy as dogs. They still need physical exercise (Click here for my 3 best cat playpens to help your cat get more activity and exercise) and stimulation. And, a small portion of this is required their owner’s assistance. This is where you can benefit from this.

These small activities will help to keep you active and that mental boost at the same time. Similar to the boost you get from going to the gym, are you with me?

07. Backup alarm clock

We all know there are times we smash the alarm clock snooze button so many times it can become unproductive. Are you with me? On these occasions, your kitty can be a lifesaver. As she snuggles up to you on your seventh snooze alarm, it might be the thing that actually gets you up that day.

08. Low maintenance

Let’s face it, cats are relatively low maintenance. Once they have enough food,  plenty of water (Click here to see why I suggest this water fountain), and a good litter tray (Click here to see why this Japanese version is best), then you are pretty much set.

09. Boosts Your bodies natural Immunity

You may or may not know that cats tend to drop dander and fur around your house. While this may seem like a negative, it can also be positive.

But how? Well, this extra exposure to these things can help your body build up natural immunity. Your body is clever, it will try to defend itself with these natural defenses if it feels under attack.

10. Enjoyment & Entertainment

Depending on your sense of humor, you may find your cat is a natural source of entertainment. Why do you think these cat videos are so popular? Huh? Well, people just love watching cat antics, right?

11. Increase Responsibility (Especially for kids)

If you are a parent or could do with a boost of responsibility, then a cat will be your best bet. Why? Well, they require your assistance to be fed, cleaned up after, etc.

Therefore, if your child is given some basic tasks, such as feeding your cat once a day, it helps to keep them responsible. And, it quantifies their responsibility, so you can assess their progress, make sense?

Disadvantages of owning a Cat

Like any good thing, there are always negatives. Owning a cat is no exception. So, before you agree to take on this cat with your flatmate evaluate these disadvantages as well.

01. Cats Shed

Earlier I mentioned the benefits of cats shedding dander and fur, right? Well, it also has a bad side too. It will leave fur around your house, for you to clean up. So, bear this one in mind.

02. Smelly Cat Litter

Although cats are relatively low maintenance, especially when compared to dogs, they still need work. And the smell of their poop (Click here to understand why cats poop when you get home) is sometimes overwhelming, to be honest.

So, just understand this, if your roommate is out one day, you may need to clean up the mess, are you with me?

03. May turn off your guests

Let’s be honest, not everyone is a cat lover. And, the reality is some friends may just hate cats. The problem is, there may be a small minority of your friends that may not get along with your cat (Click here to see why your cat might attack your houseguest), and it may make them less likely to pass by for some tea or coffee.

04. Vet Bills

Whilst cats are not too expensive to look after, in my opinion. they do have costs. And, in particular, is the vet’s costs. If you are unlucky and your cat (or your roommates) is sick, the costs could rack up.

Should you feel obligated to get the cat?

You should not feel obligated to get a cat if your roommate wants one. This is because you may end up resenting the cat once it’s there and it’s hard, if not impossible, to expect your roommate to take it back if you change your mind.

Therefore, it’s important that everyone in the home is happy with the cat or it is not fair on the cat. Sometimes you need to negotiate with your roommate to get an acceptable outcome.

Is it OK to confine a cat to one room?

Cats can live in a confined space. Some say at least 18 square feet is a minimum requirement. However, if you have more than one cat then this will need to be doubled, or more, depending on how much more you have.

Obviously, it goes without saying that just because you can do this, it doesn’t;t mean it’s ideal. In fact, the more from the better. And, if you can, consider allowing your cat access to going outside whether that’s via a cat-flap, or simply by opening the door for it.

Is it cruel to keep a cat in an apartment?

It is not seen as being cruel to have a cat in an apartment. However, if you do, you to make sure that you provide enough entertainment and exercise for it. That could be a cat tree (Click here to see the reviews, on Amazon #Ad), an interactive toy (Click here to see the price, on Amazon #Ad), etc.

It is also important to spend some quality time with your cat to make sure they stay happy and you keep the bond strong between them.

Should you check with your landlord before getting a cat?

You should always check with your landlord before agreeing to get a cat in your apartment. And. if you have objections, and it is not allowed this may be an easier excuse than just saying you would not prefer one.

You may find that some apartments may allow pets but they may require a larger deposit. If this is the case you need to negotiate with your flatmate about how that will be handled.

How do I convince my roommate to get a cat?

If you are trying to convince your roommate to get a cat you can introduce them to a friend’s cat, or take them somewhere where there is cats, and hope they fall in love with them. This may make it easier for them to see the benefits rather than convincing them verbally.

Lindsey Browlingdon