College students and pets don’t mix

With cute pet videos constantly going viral over Facebook and Twitter, it’s safe to say that animals of all form are pretty adorable. They’re quirky, sometimes fluffy and often times can be a best friend. What’s not to love?

But, being an adult in college brings a lot of responsibilities. Homework, bills, jobs and friends take up more time than we often have, that leaves us stressed and in need of a well-deserved break. Animals can be calming when coming home from a long day, but they bring a new level of responsibility that we might not expect.

Pets depend solely on you to give them the best lives possible as their caretaker. They can’t tell you what exactly they need, or when they need it. It’s up to their owners to put in the proper amount of research to know how to take care of them even when they can’t tell us.

Unfortunately, young adults tend to be impulsive and irresponsible by nature. For example, images have been circulating social media of betta fish being kept in containers such as empty bottles of Burnetts, or other alcohol bottles. They may be just fish, but they are still a living creature that is dependent on human care. No animal deserves to live in such conditions, especially when betta fish and every other fish species require specific care that is unique to their subspecies.

Some might not care about how people take care of their fish, but the issue extends far past that. It is far too tempting to walk past dog and cat rescues when they’re stationed outside of Petsmart without coming home with a new kitten or puppy. They’re adorable, and would definitely love you unconditionally, but think of the long-term commitment. Dogs and cats can live anywhere between 12 to sometimes more than 20 years old. Will you have enough stability in those years of life to upkeep with the constant responsibility of having another living creature to care for?

Besides the length of their lives, to keep a cat or dog healthy then they need constant vet check-ups. These aren’t cheap, and coming from somebody who has worked in a veterinary hospital before, they are absolutely essential to ensure your pet has the best life possible. Along with preventative care, they need the right food, exercise, nail trims, ear cleaning, gland expression and possibly surgeries or expensive medication down the road. Plus, they just might eat your couch or spend your security deposit.

Spaying or neutering your animal is also essential. According to a survey by the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy, 56 percent of dogs and 71 percent of cats that enter animal shelters are euthanized. This means that as a pet owner, it is your responsibility not to contribute to the overpopulation of animal shelters by allowing your pets to reproduce.

Please think about all of these aspects before deciding to adopt or buy a pet. If you do your research and budget correctly and still decide that you want animal companionship, then do so responsibility through an animal shelter or pet rescue. If you don’t have the time or money for pets, then don’t worry! Check out local shelters like Butte Humane Society or Wags and Whiskers Pet Rescue to spend time with animals and volunteer.

Rayanne Painter can be reached at [email protected] or @rayphenomenon on Twitter.