Roommates with pets
Sometimes roommates come with a plus one. And I’m not talking about a significant other. This is a relationship of the furry best friend kind.
If your roommate has a pet, the equation of adding them to your apartment family is a little more complicated than just paying the extra deposit your landlord or property manager will be asking for. Pets bring a dynamic of necessary responsibility into any household. Consider this before bringing a four-legged friend into any shared living situation.
If you are considering getting a pet or your roommate would like to have one, or you are thinking of allowing a new roommate with a dog or cat to move in, here are the things you should be thinking about:
- Who is responsible for the care and well-being of this animal? Pets need to be fed and often exercised once or twice a day. They need to be able to get outside to do their business or have litter boxes emptied on a regular basis. This requires someone to be home to take care of these chores.
- Who will it be? Don’t go into this thinking “oh, we’ll figure it out when we get there.” Decide before the animal ever sets foot in the apartment. What is the regular weekly schedule for its care and feeding? What happens on the weekend if one or both roommates goes out of town? If there’s an emergency and the pet needs to be kenneled or cared for by a pet sitter, who will be footing the bill?
- Animals are prone to emergencies, both with their health and unfortunate accidents. If you are taking on some of the care responsibilities for someone else’s pet, have a clear path of contingency for anything that could happen. You’ll need phone numbers for a vet, daytime and on call, and a clear decision making protocol from the pet owner.
- If the cat is injured in a freak tree climbing accident, how much will your roommate pay to preserve its life? Know this before your roommate goes camping in the Sierra without cell phone service and leaves you looking after Scampy the Siamese beast.