Pets for Students in NYC

So you want a pet? Cats and dogs, kittens and puppies, chinchillas and bunnies, fish, mice… all of these can be extremely rewarding investments. Loving and taking care of an animal can make you happier, give you more responsibility, and give you some priorities on what to spend time and money on. Instead of buying more useless crap, buy a bag of pet food and receive unlimited love from a furry friend! If you live in your school’s dorms, you might want to stick to fish, as most of them do not allow other pets. Check what you can have… lie to your RA about pets if you want, but don’t bring me into it. If you live in an apartment, check your lease agreement or ask your property manager. A big one for NYU Students, Jacobson Properties, allows pets! Here are some tips on keeping cats and dogs in the city.


My new kitten, Apollo



Adopting an Animal:
It has been said that adopting a cat or a dog in New York is harder than adopting a child. While anyone who has watched 30 Rock would know how hard it was for Liz Lemon to adopt a child, I still believe it is comparably difficult to adopt a new pet. I looked into adopting a pet from PetCo at Union Square. A big cat adoption agency runs out of that location, KittyKind. They will allow people under 21 to adopt, which is good for students, but, here are some of the things they do to screen people out of adopting a cat:

  • Required home visit: are your screens cat-proof? Do you have everything set up for the cat you might receive from KittyKind? If not, you may be told to fix your place up, or you might be flat out rejected.
  • A long history of cat ownership. If you haven’t had a cat or a pet before, you are simply out of luck.
  • An interview: What are you going to do with your cat when you move? Do you have other cats? What will you feed your cat? What litter will you use? The last two questions are trick questions. There are right answers: wet food and non-clumping litter. The question of which type of litter to use and which type of cat food to use are long debated in the kitten and cat owner world. At KittyKind it’s considered near animal abuse to use clumping litter or to feed them dry food. They will not approve your application if you say you will use these and they might get mad at you.
  • Three references: two personal, one professional. Does this sound like a job interview yet? What on earth could they do with a professional reference? My boss knows… that I look at pictures of cats on the job…
  • $150 to $300 in adoption fees, depending on the breed of cat you want to adopt. Yeah.


I’ve heard that adopting a dog or a puppy is similarly difficult. One of my bosses had to enlist the help of Richard Belzer to get a dog! He apparently does a lot of work with dog adoption agencies.

His true personality comes out.

Get ready for your cat to interrupt your Tumbling.

If you don’t have these kinds of connections, I’d suggest you call up your aunt in upstate New York, in Delaware, in Staten Island, or in NJ. Ask your relatives or family friends in the Tri-state area if they know anyone whose cat has birthed a new litter or if they have rescued a litter of kittens. These people are actually probably going to want to find a home for their kittens, instead of NYC adoption agencies who apparently want to keep all their cats. They probably also have a lower fee or asked donation if they’ve gotten the cats shots. While you’re out there, pick up some cheaper-than-in-New-York cat food and litter.
Another great place to find cheap pet supplies is online. A can of food that costs 99¢  in New York can be just 50¢ online, delivered right to your door.


Claire M., NYU.

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