A student’s guide to rental-friendly pets

The mandatory year in the dorms is winding down, and most freshman students have secured their housing arrangements for next year. All-you-can-eat food may be gone when you make the move off campus, but amongst the many new freedoms you’ll find is the permission to keep pets. Here is a handy guide for commonly accepted pets in most apartments, so you can bring an animal friend into your life.


Going to get this one out of the way now: Most apartment complexes and many rented houses forbid dogs. Dogs may be the animal that was expertly bred to be the perfect pet, but most landlords don’t appreciate the mess and noise they make. On top of that, dogs need outdoor space you may not have available, and many require daily exercise you may not be able to easily provide. Yet if you do brave the search to find a dog-friendly rental here, it will all be worth it to have man’s best friend in your life.



Unfortunately, for many of the same reasons as dogs, most rentals are not cat-friendly. Landlords tend to dislike cats for the smell they leave and their kitty trails of destruction. In fact, it’s probably easier to find a dog-friendly apartment in Bozeman than a cat-friendly one. Yet still, they’re out there, so there’s still the possibility of having your own meme factory in your college years.



Now we’re getting into the rental-friendly domain of the pet kingdom. Birds can often be negotiated on rental leases because they are primarily cage animals. This is a lot more appealing to a landlord than a free-roaming poop machine. They make nice scenery and can come to be affectionate eventually, but also consider birds can be as shrill and annoying as their singing can be beautiful.


Reptiles, Fish and Amphibians

Even if you’re staying in the residence halls, reptiles and fish are an option. Since a tank is even more contained than a cage, most landlords will be OK with a scaly/slimy friend joining your new home. They may all be interesting animals to watch and always look cool, but unlike mammalian and bird pets, these animals will never come to be loving or affectionate. Something else to consider about reptiles would be their long lifespan: If you plan to travel after graduating, you may have a lizard or turtle that still has decades to live, so be prepared to make accommodations.


Pocket Pets

In many ways, these small mammals are the compromise of pets that are both contained yet still loving. A trip to PetSmart presents you with hamsters, gerbils, chinchillas, mice and my personal favorite, rats. These animals always make a cute conversation piece and rats in particular come to be very loyal and loving animals. The downside to many small mammal pets is their short lifespans; they won’t be with you as long as a dog or cat will.


Few people deny the wonderful effect pets bring to your life. Just make sure to do the research beforehand, and always clear a new addition with your roommates and landlord. Little else is more heartwarming than an animal that thinks you’re the entire world.