Living in an apartment has its advantages, like having no lawns to mow and a smaller place to clean. But as a pet owner, you might find residing in a small space quite challenging as it imposes certain restrictions to the size and type of potential pets you can adopt.
Want a pet but don’t have enough room in your apartment or condominium unit? Here are six small pets that are perfect for you:
If there’s one animal that can make the most out of any limited space, it’s cats.
Kitties are excellent at maximizing vertical space, be it shelving, furniture, or even windowsills. This makes them the perfect pets for people who live in a small apartment.
However, not all breeds fit this situation. If you have a tiny living space, easygoing cats with adaptable temperaments are best suited for you. Some examples are:
- British shorthair
- Maine coon
- Exotic (short-haired cousins of Persian cats)
These cats spend most of the time sleeping and lounging in their favorite spot. They are essentially indoors-only pets and don’t require much play. Of course, they still need your attention, but this wouldn’t require much effort on your part as cuddling on the couch, brushing their fur, or playing with toys are already enough to satisfy them.
You need to purchase some cat accessories, like collars and carriers, in case you need to bring your feline friend outside and prevent her from wandering off and getting lost.
When it comes to dogs for small apartments, the primary consideration is size and temperament. Some breeds – albeit considered large – can live perfectly fine in small flats with the right amount of exercise and environmental enrichment.
However, you need to determine their tendency to bark (so as not to disturb the neighbors) and physical activity requirements.
For example, small breeds like a pug or Cavalier King Charles spaniel may be the best choice for you if you can’t take your dog out regularly during the day or can’t afford to hire a dog walker.
Take note that you still need to check in with your landlord or condominium management company on the size or breeds of dogs that are allowed. Some may have specific restrictions and requirements, such as a larger deposit or extra insurance.
Another type of small animal you can bring home to your small apartment is birds, though there may be some caveats.
Certain types of parrots need a lot of stimulation and interaction to stay happy. If they don’t get enough and you’re away for several hours every day, you may be faced with a couple of behavioral issues (i.e., screaming) because of loneliness and stress.
If you can’t commit this much time to your feathery friend, it may be best to go with smaller parrot species or non-parrots like canaries and finches. These fare better in limited spaces provided they get a proper cage set up.
If you’re new to the whole bird care thing, be sure to do your homework before getting any. Research about the breed you want to make sure that you are capable of providing all the small pet supplies they might need, ranging from bird food to cages.
Take note of bird care activities as well, as this isn’t limited to just feeding. You also need to learn about the ideal cage set up and cleaning and their behavioral needs (e.g., toys, human interaction, and other sources of mental stimulation).
Save for insects, fishes are probably the smallest creatures you can bring home as pets.
A fish tank or aquarium with these colorful sea creatures is an excellent choice for small apartments. Unlike dogs, cats, or birds, you won’t have to worry about bothering your neighbors with the noise or providing physical activity for your pets.
Besides, caring for fish is fairly straightforward, depending on the type of species in your tank.
Take note that some may have more elaborate needs than others. Again, the key is to research your fish choices thoroughly. This way, you’ll know everything a beginner needs to succeed in fish-keeping, including:
- Water change frequency
- Feeding requirements
- Fish compatibility (in case you plan on putting two or more species in the same aquarium)
You also need to consider the size of the tank that would fit in your apartment before picking out fish from a pet store.
Another low-maintenance pet you can try caring for is gerbils.
Gerbils can do well with plenty of care and little attention, making them a great starter pet for children. Of course, this reputation shouldn’t be your only basis, as adults can have so much fun caring for these wonderful creatures, too.
This small rodent doesn’t need you to feed it regularly; even once in three days will do so long as they have dried food. This is because gerbils have a knack for self-regulating food by hoarding what they get in their burrows for later.
Plus, they don’t need the toilet frequently. Because they are creatures of grasslands and desserts, they conserve as much water as possible, so you won’t have to clean their tank – called a “gerbilarium” – that often.
6. Guinea Pigs
Another type of rodent excellent for apartment pet-keeping is guinea pigs. Contrary to their name, these animals aren’t actual pigs. They may be named as such due to their large, rounded frames.
Guinea pigs are significantly larger than other rodents that can be taken home as pets, reaching between eight to ten inches in length. They also have lots of thick and fluffy fur, which adds to how big they look.
With this type of pet, all you need to provide is a pen they could move around in. They may be small, but they need plenty of space to run around, which is why you need a pen measuring at least 7.5 square feet. Not a seven-foot-long pen, mind you; three feet by three feet should work fine.
Besides caging, guinea pigs have a couple of other needs, including:
- Basic bedding – needs occasional changing
- Temperature – should be kept temperate
Find the Perfect Pet
Pet parenthood is all about opening your home to your chosen animal, no matter how limited your space may be.
Make sure you pick the perfect pet for your circumstances by considering their specific needs, behavior, and quirks.
Sam Saleki is the owner of Paws & Claws, a trusted family-run online pet store in Mirdif, Dubai. A lifelong animal lover, Sam founded the business in 2006 to fill the need for a pet shop offering good-quality dog food, pet accessories and pet grooming products in the area. Sam is an animal welfare advocate and is currently working on an online animal homing platform that helps facilitate the fast rescue and adoption of animals in need.