The Best Apartment Pets: Companions in Compact Spaces

Evelyn Long

Mar 26, 2024

small dog sitting on a dog bed

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Choosing the perfect pet for apartment living involves considering factors like size, energy level, preference and adaptability to confined spaces. While dogs and cats are classic choices, there are numerous other delightful creatures that make excellent companions for apartment residents. Here are some of the best apartment pets to keep you company.

Why Should You Get a Pet?

Besides giving a loyal pet a home, keeping a furry (or scaly) friend offers many benefits for the owner, too.


Apartment living can get lonely, especially if you’re staying by yourself. One of the main reasons people get pets is for the companionship they offer. Pets, whether dogs, cats, birds or other animals, provide unconditional love and a constant source of comfort. 

Emotional Well-Being

Studies have shown that interacting with pets reduces stress, anxiety, loneliness and depression. The presence of a pet can have a positive impact on your mood, promoting a sense of happiness and overall emotional well-being. 

Physical Activity

Dogs, in particular, encourage physical activity through regular walks and playtime. This increased exercise benefits your pet but also your own fitness as you’ll likely lead a more active lifestyle. Dog owners have a 24% reduced risk of death from any cause, especially heart-related conditions.

cat and dog sitting together outside on the grass

Routine and Responsibility

Caring for a pet establishes a daily routine and a sense of responsibility. Feeding and grooming a pet can instill discipline and structure in your life. 

Social Interaction

Having a pet can be a great conversation starter and a way to connect with other pet owners. Whether at the dog park or during a casual stroll, pets facilitate social interactions and can help you form new friendships.

Unconditional Love

Pets offer a unique form of love that’s unconditional and non-judgemental. The bond between a pet and its owner can provide comfort and support during challenging times.

Sense of Purpose

Having a pet gives you a sense of purpose and provides a reason to get up in the morning. The responsibility of caring for another living being can bring fulfillment and a sense of accomplishment.

10 of the Best Apartment Pets for Small Spaces

Not all animals are suited to small spaces, so it’s best to consider this before deciding which pet to get. Here are 10 of the best apartment pets for apartment living. 

  1. Cats

Cats are a perennial favorite for apartment living due to their independent nature and adaptability. They’re generally low-maintenance, requiring a litter box, food, water and a few toys. Many cats are content to laze around in a sunny spot by the window, making them perfect for those with busy lifestyles. Additionally, their playful and affectionate behavior can bring joy to any space. However, different cat breeds may be better suited to apartment living than others.

  1. Small Dogs

For those who crave the companionship of a dog, smaller breeds are often better suited to apartment living. Breeds like the French Bulldog, Cavalier King Charles, Spaniel or Chihuahua thrive in smaller spaces and usually require less exercise than their larger counterparts. Regular walks, playtime and some indoor toys are usually sufficient to keep these pint-sized pups happy. You’ll also have to make sure you potty train your pup properly, especially if you don’t have a balcony or outdoor space.

  1. Fish

Fish are an ideal option for those seeking a low-maintenance pet with minimal space requirements. Aquariums can fit comfortably in most apartments, and the vibrant colors and calming movements of fish can be a source of relaxation. Choose a variety of fish suitable for beginners, such as guppies, tetras or bettas, and create a visually appealing underwater world in your living space. 

  1. Guinea Pigs

Guinea pigs are wonderful pets if you’re looking for a social and affectionate animal. These small herbivores thrive on companionship and are best in pairs or small groups to prevent loneliness. They require spacious cages with a cozy area for hiding, a balanced diet rich in hay and vegetables and regular interaction with their owners. Their endearing squeals and lively personalities make them a delightful addition to any apartment. 

two guinea pigs eating shredded carrots
  1. Hamsters

Hamsters, tiny nocturnal creatures, bring a burst of energy and cuteness to any home. Known for their solitary nature, hamsters are content in cages filled with bedding, tunnels, water and an exercise wheel for their nightly adventures. These small furballs are relatively low maintenance, requiring fresh water, a balanced diet and a clean cage. Hamsters are especially suitable for those who appreciate observing their pets during the evening hours, when they’re most active. 

  1. Mice or Rats

Mice and rats, with their small size and inquisitive nature, make charming companions for apartment living. These rodents are intelligent and social, often forming strong bonds with their owners. Mice, in particular, are known for their agility and playful antics, making them entertaining to watch. 

Despite their somewhat misunderstood reputation, rats are highly intelligent animals you can train and even teach tricks. Both mice and rats require secure cages with ample space for exploration, toys for mental stimulation and regular social interaction to thrive in an apartment setting.

  1. Budgies

Budgies, or parakeets, make wonderful pets with their vibrant plumage and playful personalities. These small birds are known for their ability to mimic sounds and speak simple phrases, adding an element of entertainment to your home. Budgies love social settings, so keeping them in pairs is recommended to prevent isolation. Providing a spacious cage with toys, perches and regular interaction will ensure a happy existence for these whimsical creatures. 

small bird sitting on a person's hand
  1. Snakes

If you have an affinity for unconventional pets, snakes can offer a serene and fascinating presence in your apartment. While they may not be everyone’s cup of tea, snakes are quiet, low-maintenance pets that can thrive in a well-designed enclosure. Researching the specific needs of your chosen snake species is crucial, as their requirements vary. With proper care and attention to their environmental needs, snakes can become unique and captivating companions if you’re looking for a different kind of pet.

  1. Geckos

Geckos make excellent low-maintenance roommates. Various species, such as leopard geckos, are renowned for their docile nature and adaptability to captive environments. Geckos thrive in well-constructed terrariums with hiding pots, climbing surfaces and proper heating. Their captivating behaviors and minimal space requirements make them a lively and fascinating choice for those looking to introduce a bit of the exotic into their living space.

  1. Bearded Dragons

Known for their friendliness, bearded dragons are relatively easy reptiles that can become accustomed to handling. They need a spacious enclosure with proper lighting and heating as well as a diet rich in vegetables and insects. With their calm demeanor and distinctive appearance, they bring tranquility to your apartment, creating an intriguing and captivating presence. 

Choose the Right Friend for Your Space

Choosing the best apartment pet involves considering your living space, lifestyle, personal preferences and the pet’s adaptability. Whether you opt for a classic cat, a small dog, an aquarium of fish or a chirpy bird, there are multiple options to fit your needs. Remember that each pet comes with its own set of responsibilities, so it’s vital to choose one that aligns with your ability to provide proper love and care. 

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