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Best Pets for Apartment Life

Your apartment doesn’t have to be pet free just because it’s small.

I might have the luxury of living in a house now, but I started out as an apartment and rental dweller for many years of my life. As someone that has always enjoyed the presence of pets and other living things in my home, I’d gotten creative over the years with the animals I let share my space.

Aside from how big your apartment is, many apartment complexes and landlords don’t allow pets at all or are at least fairly strict about what they will allow. A “no dogs” or “no cats” policy doesn’t mean that you can’t have a pet. Dogs and cats aren’t the only options. Here are some of the pets you could consider when it comes to apartment life and living “small.”


If you don’t mind a lot of noise and a bit of a mess, birds are great pets for apartment dwellers. Make sure that you do some research before you commit to owning a bird. They need plenty of attention, and throwing a towel over their cage isn’t going to keep them quiet for long. Many bird species, like parrots (which are popular pets), live for decades. They might even outlive you, so you’ll need to make a plan of what happens to them when you’re gone.

Small Critters

There are plenty of small pets that you could own, and most of them are happy to spend a good deal of time in a cage or tank of some sort. You still want to make sure you have the time to give them some love. Even rabbits need to get out of the cage and get a couple hours of exercise every day. You also need to keep up on cleaning the cage to avoid letting your little friend get any diseases.

Just a few of the small critter options out there include:

  • Rabbits
  • Ferrets
  • Guinea pigs
  • Rats
  • Mice
  • Chinchillas
  • Hedgehogs

Snakes and Reptiles

If being furry isn’t a requirement and you’re not the squeamish type, you may want to consider a pet snake or some kind of a reptile. Again, there are many options to choose from. For these pets, you also want to do some research ahead of time to know what you need in order to keep them alive and comfortable. Most snakes and lizards need heating rocks and specific (often live) foods in order to be healthy and happy.

Small Dogs

If you’re a dog person and your landlord allows dogs, but your apartment is small, don’t get a Great Dane or a German Shepherd. There are plenty of small dog breeds out there. You can opt for long or short hair dogs, or even almost no-hair dogs (like the Chinese Crested). Take some time to learn about the breed you’re interested in. You don’t want to get a Sheltie if you live in a complex since they have a habit of being very vocal dogs. Your neighbors will continually be calling in complaints to the landlord. You also need to remember that dogs need a lot of attention, a lot of exercise, and regular visits to the vet (not that the aforementioned pets don’t need to ever visit the vet).


If you’re a cat person and your landlord allows cats, any cat will do depending on the temperament you're looking for. Again, cats need regular visits to the vet. Plus, much like you’ll need to do with dogs, you need to determine whether you want a baby, a young cat, or an older animal. Also, with dogs and cat, it’s wise to adopt from a shelter instead of buying a pet from a breeder or pet store.


Fish make easy pets for someone that doesn’t have a lot of time for walking or cuddling. There are a lot of options when it comes to fish. You could do a large elaborate set-up and have a saltwater or freshwater tank. Some apartments don’t allow large tanks, especially if you’re on an upper floor. Even in a “no pets” situation, you can usually get away with a Siamese Fighting Fish in a small Betta tank or a goldfish in a fishbowl. No matter the tank size you need to clean it regularly!

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