Pets laying on the couch

The 10 Best Pets for Apartment Living

For animal lovers, having a pet to come home to each day is the absolute best. Whether you rent or own your home, living alongside a pet can help you relax, feel safe and spend more time at home happy.

According to the Humane Society, 72 percent of renters have pets, so what are the best pets for apartments?

We’ve got a few suggestions.

1. Dogs



  • Loyal and cuddly
  • Playful
  • The perfect companion for those who love the outdoors


  • Need regular exercise
  • Can get lonely (and destructive) if left alone too much
  • Barking may disturb neighbors

Dogs make excellent apartment pets, but you should always make sure you’re matching the breed to your space. If you have a studio apartment, look at breeds that are smaller and less active. If you’re living in a two-bedroom with a dog park on-site, a larger, more active pup is easy to keep busy.

Dogs are ideal pets for people who already like to spend time outside. Requiring regular walks, you’ll go out and about with your pup on a daily basis. This means having a companion to walk or run with around the neighborhood, but also a guaranteed partner for outdoor adventures like hikes. If you don’t live in a highly walkable area, it’s best to find the closest dog park to ensure your dog has a regular way to exercise (and meet some friends.)

2. Cats



  • Don’t mind alone time
  • Are relatively small
  • Are low-maintenance, overall, when it comes to care


  • Regularly cleaning out a litter box
  • Scratched furniture
  • A lot of shedding

With an independent streak, cats are great pets for apartment dwellers who can’t always be home. They don’t mind being alone but remember to leave them with full bowls of water and food and a clean litter box if you’re gone for an extended period of time. Leaving them alone too long does give them an opportunity to do some damage around your apartment. If there are any rooms you don’t want them to scratch on the furniture, keep the doors closed when you’re not there to keep an eye out.

Since cats sleep 15 hours per day on average, you also don’t have to do much to entertain them. They’re the perfect partner for binge-watching your favorite show and sleeping in late, but they can also get playful so keep some kitty toys around for them to chase.

3. Fish



  • Don’t make a mess
  • Easy to care for
  • Quiet


  • Short lifespan
  • Checking water quality regularly
  • Some unfriendly types

Many hobbyists take on fish because there’s so much to learn. Whether you have a saltwater or freshwater tank, use live plants or fake ones, your tank can really represent your personality. It can also make a great statement piece in your apartment without taking up a ton of space. Fish are also an ideal first pet.

Although they’re pretty low-maintenance animals when it comes to feeding them, caring for their environment is a little trickier. Keeping tanks clean and maintaining water quality requires weekly work and the hours add up. Sound advice: if you think fish are the best pets for apartments, start with a small tank and easy fish. Think tetras and goldfish.

4. Hamsters and gerbils



  • Live happily in a small space
  • Don’t need a lot of human interaction
  • Fun to play with


  • Cage odor
  • Nocturnal
  • Cleaning the cage regularly

Anyone who has seen a hamster tooling around its home in one of those balls knows how fun they are to play with and how cute they are to look at. These little fluffs of fur make an excellent apartment pet because they’re low maintenance and take up hardly any room. Being such small animals, a hamster/gerbil cage is tiny. Of course, if you want to add on one of those tube mazes to crawl through, that’s another thing, but you can adjust to the space you have.

Since these animals are both nocturnal, you’ll get the best playtime right before bed. They’ll also be asleep when you’re out during the day. Since they’re awake while you’re asleep though, it’s best to give them a wheel or some kind of toy to occupy themselves in the wee hours of the morning. You might also want to set up their cage in a room where nobody is trying to sleep.

5. Guinea Pigs

Guinnea Pig


  • Very low maintenance
  • Happy in a small space
  • Cuddly and interactive


  • Nocturnal
  • Social animals, so need a friend or plenty to playtime on their schedule
  • Unique squeak isn’t always a pleasant sound

Guinea pigs are one of the best pets for apartments because they’re extremely low maintenance. All they need is a cage or crate and some basic living essentials. They’ll sleep all day, so only need your attention when you’re typically already home.

Although happy in their cage, as long as they have a few toys, guinea pigs also like to play with others. This could mean some supervised time outside their enclosure every day where you can play and cuddle them plenty, or maybe you just need to get them a friend. Buying guinea pigs in pairs means nobody gets lonely, but it does mean more mess for your to clean.

6. Hermit Crabs

Hermit Crab


  • Social
  • Low-maintenance
  • Unique


  • Tank care
  • Nocturnal
  • Long lifespan (some live to 30!)

Not everyone has a hermit crab as a pet, but it’s guaranteed that anyone who does will get lots of guests admiring their choice in pets. Especially if you give your hermit crab a decorated shell to call home, these little guys can bring so much character to your space.

Setting up a hermit crab habitat requires very little. All you need is some sand, shells and climbing toys. Arrange everything in an air-filled tank with a small food bowl and water bowl, and you’re all set. This pet is ideal for someone who wants a pet they can interact with, but also just let sit and hang out with no consequence.

7. Rabbits



  • Trainable
  • Cute and cuddly
  • Active in mornings and evenings


  • Teeth maintenance — they need plenty of things to gnaw on
  • An enclosure can get smelly
  • Can take up a lot of space

The coolest thing about rabbits is you can train them. This means they’ll use a litter box like a cat and walk on a leash like a dog. While you don’t have to exercise them like a pup, they do like to play and cuddle, exhibiting as much personality as more traditional apartment pets.

Although they do just fine in small enclosures, you want them to have room to move around when you’re not home. Some people will dedicate a little more space than a typical rabbit cage for that reason, while others go big and give their bunny an entire room of their own.

Rabbits do like to play, so they need plenty of toys. Their teeth also never stop growing so they need something to gnaw on at all times. While hay is the best option for their teeth, giving them a few chew toys is also good.

8. Birds



  • Social
  • Require minimal space to thrive
  • Intelligent


  • Noisy
  • Require a lot of attention
  • Costly

Having a bird as a pet is not for the faint of heart. You should be an experienced pet owner to properly care for these apartment pets. You should also take breed into consideration when it comes to size, lifespan and attitude. Smaller birds like finches or canaries are often lower maintenance and more accepted in apartment buildings. Larger birds like parrots and cockatoos can get a little harder to keep as an apartment pet. They’re also a huge commitment since they can live for more than 50 years.

Birds are noisy, but it’s much easier to tolerate a few chirps and the scratching sound of them playing over repeated big-bird squawks. To keep them happy, though, they need attention, whether that’s from you or from a bird buddy. Either way, you can’t ignore your bird.

9. Snakes



  • Quiet
  • Low-maintenance
  • OK on their own for long periods


  • Can scare people
  • Escape artists
  • Require heat/light source at all times

Not everyone is a fan of snakes. In fact, they terrify some people, so if they’re your animal companion of choice, avoid larger constrictor breeds for a safe apartment pet. Smaller breeds like corn snakes, milk snakes and kingsnakes are the way to go.

Overall, snakes are very low-maintenance, only needing a meal about once a week. However, that meal is often something that was once alive, so you can’t be squeamish about feeding time. They do require plenty of water, but don’t need a large cage — just make sure that the lid is always on tight.

The one thing your snake does need all the time is a way to stay warm. As cold-blooded animals, snakes won’t survive without a constant heat and light source.

10. Turtles



  • Small
  • Quiet
  • Helps reduce your food waste


  • Special care is necessary
  • Some breeds can live a long time
  • May end up bigger than you expected, which means they’ll need more housing space than you may expect

The best thing about a turtle? You’ll never hear them bark, meow, squeak or squawk. They’re totally quiet. They’re also pretty slow, so even if they do get out of their enclosure at any point, chances are very unlikely they’ll get away from you.

With a steady diet of fruits and vegetables, turtles are great at helping you get through all the produce you buy for yourself before anything goes bad. Their favorites are vegetable greens, apples and grapes.

What can make turtles a challenge to keep, in addition to a longer lifespan, is their living space. Turtles need a tank with specific lighting, a water filtration system and temperature control. While you don’t have to play with them a lot, you do have to keep a close eye on their living quarters.

Living with pets

Narrowing down the type of pet you want to call your own is only the first step. Once you get that pet, you have to live with them in a way that doesn’t disturb your fellow apartment dwellers. These tips can make that easier. No matter your animal choice:

  • Work with your pet’s personality, don’t ignore it.
  • Create a routine and stick to it (especially when it comes to food).
  • Make time to play and exercise your pet in the way that works best for them.
  • Provide toys and ways to stimulate your pet when you’re not at home.
  • Accept you may have some complaints and be sensitive to things like your pet’s footsteps if you don’t live on the ground floor.

Living in harmony with your pet in an apartment means being a good pet owner for those around you, too. As long as you give your animal companion the things it needs to survive and you spend time with it, you should do just fine.

What’s the best pet for you?

Not all pets belong in an apartment building. Some are just too big, too rowdy or too hard to properly care for in a smaller space. To that end, if you’re living in an apartment and you’re ready for a pet, make sure to check your lease as to what animals you can have. From that list, you can narrow it down to the best in the bunch for you.


Get connected with the best moving company!

like a boss!

Sign up to keep up with all the best…

Rent like a boss!

Sign up to keep up with all the best…