In 4 of MIT's 12 dorms, residents are allowed to have cats as pets.
Cats are allowed in certain areas of Bexley Hall, East Campus, Senior House, and Random Hall. Cats must be approved by students who will be affected by their presence, and the owner must register the cat with DormCon.
Because of the cat policy, MIT has consistently been ranked one of the top 10 "Pet Friendly Colleges" by [petside.com].
Pets have been an unofficial presence in MIT living groups for a long time. In 2000, a compromise was reached that allowed cats to live in four dorms. The policy was written by Jen Frank '00, the outgoing President of Dormcon, and Karen Nilsson, the senior associate dean for Residential Life. At the time, the policy was called a pilot; it since has become official MIT policy.
According to the policy, cat owners must follow a specific procedure to have a cat in an MIT dorm.
Cats are only allowed in “cat-friendly areas” of East Campus, Senior House, Bexley Hall, and Random Hall. Owners may have only one cat. Before bringing a cat into student housing, the Owner must receive approval from the Housing Office as evidenced by issuance of a cat approval number. This approval can be obtained by submitting the cat approval form to the dorm Pet Chair, who will forward the form to the Housing Office. Cat approval remains in effect, if it is not revoked, until the owner moves out of the cat-friendly area where he or she currently resides.
Cat owners must have the consent of all floor-mates, and the written consent of all roommates and suite-mates, to register their cat. If the owner has a change of suite-mates or roommates, the new roommates and suite- mates must sign a roommate consent form. If at anytime a resident of a cat-friendly area requests removal of a cat due to health reasons by making the request in writing to the house manager, housemaster or Housing Office, the cat must be removed from that particular area of the house. The cat may be relocated to another cat-friendly area, as long as the Cat Policy is not violated.
Cat owners must provide proper care for the cat including regular feeding and grooming. All cats must be up to date on FIV, FeLV, rabies, and distemper vaccinations. Cats must be spayed or neutered, or if the cat is too young to be spayed or neutered, the veterinarian should specify a date by which it should be spayed or neutered. The owner shall have the cat wear an identifying collar tag at all times carrying the pet’s name and the Owner’s MIT email address.
Food and water containers and litter boxes are not to be left in common areas (hallways, kitchens, etc.) They must be maintained in the owner's own room. If these items are found in areas other than the owner's room, they will be disposed of by the Housing Office. Room doors, windows, or walls may not be permanently altered to allow for cat entry or exit.
Fish are allowed in both cat and non-cat dorms. Cats are the only animals allowed under MIT policy to limit the number of people with allergies that will be affected by the presence of the pets.