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16 Colleges That Allow Cats: Where to Study With Your Feline Friend

College can be both wildly exciting and incredibly stressful for young adults. Between social, academic, athletic, and relationship pressures, the mental health of college students is often at risk. Thankfully, many colleges are adopting strategies to help students cope: one of which is allowing pets on campus. If you want your feline friend to head to campus with you, check out our list of 16 colleges that allow cats.

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The 16 Colleges That Allow Cats

1. Eckerd College

Eckerd College

Location: St. Petersburg, Florida
Type of college: Private, four-year

Eckerd College is generally considered the most pet-friendly college in the country. They were one of the first to allow pets on campus, starting in 1973. According to Eckerd rules, cats are considered “large pets” and are permitted in designated dorms.

Students must register their cats with campus staff and pay a fee. Only cats older than 6 months that have lived with the student for at least three months are permitted. Students may not adopt or buy new cats while living on campus. Eckerd holds a “pet graduation” along with human graduation each year.

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2. Stephens College

Stephens College

Location: Columbia, Missouri
Type of college: Private, four-year, women’s college

Stephens College has allowed pets on campus for 10 years. Spayed and neutered cats older than 6 months are allowed in designated dorms. Students are allowed one pet only and must register them and pay an annual pet fee.

In addition, students must keep their cats up-to-date on shots and free of fleas and ticks. The college also requires students to get maintain a current pet license from the city of Columbia. Overall, Stephens is very welcoming to pets and even has a foster partnership with a local animal rescue group.

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3. Johnson and Wales University

Johnson and Wales University

Location: Providence, Rhode Island
Type of college: Private, four-year

Johnson and Wales first began welcoming pets to campus in 2013. Cats over a year old are allowed in designated residential areas on campus, and one pet per person per room is permitted. Students must register their cats each year and pay an annual fee. Cats must be spayed or neutered and current on their shots.

The university provides a helpful guide to all incoming pet owners, outlining all rules and responsibilities. It also includes contact information for local veterinarians and pet supply stores.

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4. Lyon College

Lyon College

Location: Batesville, Arkansas
Type of college: Private, four-year

Lyon College opened its first pet-friendly residence hall in 2018. Cats at least 6 months old are allowed, one per room. Students are not allowed to acquire new pets while living on campus, and cats must be registered before arriving on campus. Students can only move their cats in during a two-week window at the beginning of each semester. The university strongly encourages students to purchase pet insurance and provides a list of local veterinarians who offer student discounts.

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5. State University of New York at Potsdam

State University of New York at Potsdam

Location: Potsdam, New York
Type of college: Public, four-year

This college maintains pet-friendly floors scattered across various residence halls. Students can bring one cat to campus with prior approval and registration. They must sign an agreement that states, among other things, that they will scoop the litter box daily and change out the litter completely once a week.

Room checks may happen at any time to ensure students follow the rules. The college also maintains strict policies to ensure that cats are being well-cared for, including penalties for not promptly taking a sick animal to the vet.

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6. Stetson University

Stetson University

Location: Deland, Florida
Type of college: Private, four-year

Stetson University allows cats in designated locations on campus. Students may bring cats at least a year old that they’ve owned for at least a year. The university requires purchase, adoption, or vet records to confirm how long the cat has lived with the student as well.

Only one pet per room is allowed, so negotiations are necessary if both roommates want to bring a cat. Animal-friendly housing on campus is limited and extremely popular, and students must get their applications in as early as possible.

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7. University of Illinois

University of Illinois

Location: Champaign, Illinois
Type of college: Public, four-year

The University of Illinois allows cats in one of their on-campus apartment buildings. Up to two pets or one per roommate are permitted in the apartments. Students must get permission to keep a cat with them before bringing the animal to campus. The university charges a monthly pet fee in addition to the monthly cost of the apartments. Students must provide yearly copies of vaccination records and keep their cat and apartment free of fleas and other parasites.

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8. University of North Carolina-Charlotte

University of North Carolina-Charlotte

Location: Charlotte, North Carolina
Type of college: Public, four-year

UNC-C allows cats in one residence hall and various Greek Village houses. Spaces in these pet-friendly areas are given out on a first-come, first-served basis and fill up quickly each year. Cats must be at least a year old, spayed or neutered, and current on their shots.

Students must pre-register their pets and pay an annual fee. Students have to take their cats with them during breaks and can’t leave them alone for more than 12 hours at a time.

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9. University of Northern Colorado

University of Northern Colorado

Location: Greeley, Colorado
Type of college: Public, four-year

This college allows cats older than 6 months in two residential communities on campus. Students must submit all paperwork before being considered on a first-come, first-served basis. One pet per room is allowed, with a maximum of two within a four-room suite. Starting with the 2022-2023 school year, an entire residence hall on campus will have pet-friendly single rooms, making this college one of the best for taking your cat and getting some privacy too.

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10. Washington and Jefferson College

Washington and Jefferson College

Location: Washington, Pennsylvania
Type of college: Private, four-year

Washington and Jefferson designated its first pet-friendly dorm in 2006. They now offer three locations on campus where cat-loving students can room with their pets. One pet per room is allowed, and recent renovations to the pet halls on campus have brought improved comfort and larger living spaces to students and their cats. Some students are even training service dogs on campus, showing that this is a college that welcomes pets and recognizes their value.

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11. Wilson College

Wilson College

Location: Chambersburg, Pennsylvania
Type of college: Private, four-year

Wilson College allows cats in residence halls. Only one cat per student is allowed, and the animal must be at least 6 months old. Students must register their cats before arriving with information such as a photo and physical description, proof of vaccination, and proof of flea prevention. They must also pay a registration fee for each academic year. Students can pet sit for other residents but must have prior approval and registration.

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12. Lees-Mcrae College

Lees-Mcrae College

Location: Banner Elk, North Carolina
Type of college: Private, four-year

Lees-Mcrae allows cats in several designated residence halls and on-campus apartments and houses. No aggressive cats are allowed; they must be older than 6 months and have lived with the student for at least 3 months before coming to campus.

Only cats used to living indoors are allowed. If students get a new cat over the winter holiday break, they won’t be allowed to bring them to campus until the following academic year.

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13. University of Idaho

University of Idaho

Location: Moscow, Idaho
Type of college: Public, four-year

The University of Idaho allows spayed and neutered cats in on-campus apartments. Two pets per apartment are permitted, and they must be pre-registered and approved. The university does not allow aggressive or nervous animals. Cats must be up-to-date on shots and licensed according to city or state laws. Students must pay a pet deposit and agree to keep their cats confined anytime maintenance is required in their apartment. If pets are left alone for more than 24 hours, the university can remove them.

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14. PennWest Clarion University

PennWest Clarion University

Location: Clarion, Pennsylvania
Type of college: Public, four-year

PennWest Clarion allows cats in designated residence halls. Cats must be at least 6 months old and owned by the student for at least 2 months. No new cats can be acquired during the school year, and students must register their cats and pay a yearly fee. PennWest also allows cats in summer housing for an additional fee. The university suggests that students take out liability insurance on pets living with them. If a cat becomes sick for an extended time, the university may ask that they be removed to avoid infecting other pets or disrupting residents.

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15. Pfeiffer University

Pfeiffer University

Location: Misenheimer, North Carolina
Type of college: Private, four-year

Pfeiffer opened a pet-friendly dorm in 2017. Space is limited, and students wishing to take advantage must act quickly once accepted. As part of the registration process, students must pick an alternate caregiver for their pet to help ensure their cat is taken care of no matter what. Students have to periodically check in with their resident advisor regarding their pet’s health, well-being, and daily care.

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16. State University of New York College of Technology at Alfred

State University of New York College of Technology at Alfred

Location: Alfred, New York
Type of college: Public, four-year

SUNY College of Technology recently began allowing cats in specific residence halls. Cats must be at least a year old and belong to the student for at least 10 months before moving to campus. This is the only college on our list with cat breed restrictions: Bengal cats are prohibited. Cats must be registered ahead of time, with proof of vaccination, spaying or neutering, and flea prevention provided. The university may request ongoing proof of flea treatment as well. Students should make a plan for their pets in the event of fire drills or campus evacuation, so they aren’t left behind.

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While it may seem like an added responsibility and expense to take a cat to college with you, the companionship and love they provide may well be worth it to many students. These 16 colleges recognize the value that the human-animal bond brings to student life and have made allowances to support it. If you are lucky enough to get to bring your cat to college, make sure you abide by all your school’s rules and regulations so future students can also enjoy the same privilege.

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Featured Image Credit: Freer, Shutterstock