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MIT allowing feline roommates in dorms

September 9, 2008 |  2:34 pm


After years of discovering prohibited dogs, reptiles, rats, rabbits and litters of kittens in college residences, MIT is compromising with pet-loving students by allowing cats in dorms, the Boston Globe reports.

Fed up with the pet wave, she struck a deal with students in a 2000 pilot program that allowed up to two dozen cats to live on campus if students promised to adhere to the quota and abide by a "cat clause," enforced by a student "pet chair" in each of the four dorms.

MIT is the only Massachusetts college known to allow cats, which were chosen over dogs because they don't need to be walked, don't bark, and can better fend for themselves while students are in class.

The cats must be registered with the pet chair. That means providing a photograph, written consent of suitemates or roommates, and health records including proof of vaccinations and spaying or neutering. Students must keep the animals indoors, although during a Globe reporter's recent visit to a cat dorm, one kitten meowed loudly and consistently from behind a locked bedroom door.

While most colleges ban pets in dorms because of concerns about allergies, damage to rooms and foul odors and pet neglect, the Globe writes, the experiment at MIT has taken root with students and administrators. Some college officials suggest that having furry companions could relieve stress and improve academic performance.

--Tony Barboza

Photo: Steve Osman/Los Angeles Times

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