When I go to college I plan on getting or bringing a pet with me, I'm trying to decide if a papillon (dog breed) or a small animal (ferret, rat, sugar glider, or Madagascan Hissing Cockroach).

I will either be in a dorm room or an apartment when owning these animals. Here is a list of what I am looking for in an animal and please make sure if you suggest any other animals that their legal in the USA.

  • Able to be housed alone
  • Able to be potty trained(at least so they know not to go on me)
  • Willing to spend a lot of time with me and enjoys handling
  • Lives to at least 5 years and no more than 20
  • Bonds strongly to me
  • Playful
  • Is a Papillon in this case referring to the breed of dog? Commented Jan 21, 2018 at 0:03
  • @RebeccaRVT yes
    – Amoeba
    Commented Jan 21, 2018 at 0:17

2 Answers 2


Adopting a pet just prior to a move is probably not the best choice. The top two reasons for pets to be surrendered to a shelter are Moving and Landlord not allowing pets. Imagine you and your pet have just created a strong bond and now must be separated.

Many (most?) colleges do not allow pets on campus, of those that do, there are restrictions. There are few list of pet friendly schools, here is one. Similar restrictions apply to apartments.

Assuming you selected and have been accepted to college housing that allows pets. You might consider volunteering at the local shelter. If you can't have pets on campus or your apartment, this provides an option to share your love and positively impact animals lives. If you can have pets on campus you will give a variety of adoptable pets the opportunity to find the perfect match with you.

  • 3
    An additional consideration: can you predict you will even have enough time to care for your pet? Going to college is a major change, and you will need to work out your personal schedule to fit everything in. See is you have the time and space THEN decide on a pet, it is much more fair to the pet than having to squeeze it into an overfull schedule in a too-tiny place!
    – Layna
    Commented Jan 21, 2018 at 12:14
  • @Layna im really good at finding time to spend with my let's and I do alot of work to give them the best life I can
    – Amoeba
    Commented Jan 21, 2018 at 14:23

First of all, I think getting a pet right before college is a bad idea. From my experience, college apartments generally frown on having pets, with the possible exception of pets that don't make noise and are confined to a tank or terrarium (example, fish or small reptiles.) Dorms usually have similar restrictions, and are usually extremely small, with the added problem of not having any completely private space. Some colleges even require you to live in the dorm your first year, as mine did. So do NOT get any pet until you are absolutely sure you can get housing that will accept one.

Furthermore, to my knowledge, most of the various species you've listed don't fulfill your stated bullet point requirements.

  1. Rats. Rats are said to have a longer lifespan in captivity than in the wild, but still they only live a maximum of three years, but it's more like an average of less than 2 years. https://www.google.com/amp/www.ratcentral.com/whats-the-lifespan-of-rats/amp/ Rats also very commonly get cancer due to poor breeding practices which will cut this already short lifespan shorter.

  2. By all accounts I've heard, sugar gliders do not make good pets. They are not domesticated, require a lot of special care, and they tend to be rather fragile, and don't do well without another sugar glider. They are also not housebreakable, and owners admit they are frequently urinated on. https://sites.google.com/site/slavetomygliders/cons-to-sugar-glider-ownership

  3. Madagascar hissing cockroaches are insects. Insects are simply not social in the way other animals are, and thus will not really bond with you like a dog or cat would, and as far as I'm aware, they don't play, though by accounts they don't mind being handled. They also live a maximum of five years, so there's a decent chance it won't reach your minimum five years requirement. They also might be considered an exotic animal in some areas, with restrictions on ownership. https://www.thespruce.com/madagascar-hissing-cockroach-1236891

  4. Ferrets. As far as my knowledge goes, ferrets do fit your requirements, though by accounts they are another animal that suffers from cancer due to poor breeding practices that might drastically reduce their lifespan. Ferrets also have a distinct smell people might find unpleasant due to their close relation to skunks. http://animals.mom.me/ferrets-stink-1649.html. I would think the smell is a particular concern if you're trying to house the animal in an apartment, where your landlord might notice and try to evict you.

  • Thank you very much for your answer, I appreciate all the time you have put into this answer, I should probably clarify that the list if animals were only examples of small animals to show what I mean, also I have been told by many people that their rats have lived up to 5, 7 and one up to 16 years
    – Amoeba
    Commented Feb 12, 2018 at 22:00

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