Best Small Pets for Apartments

Small Pets

The size of your residence may deter which pet, if any, you choose to adopt. Small apartments and tiny houses can all make a difference when it comes to room for a pet. For instance, you do not want a Great Dane in a small apartment, there is just not enough room to move around for the animal.

Pets, depending on the type of pet, need room to roam, they need the ability to hop or jump, or just space to be a pet. You also have to consider the pet’s other needs, such as toilet time. If you are in a small residence, whether an apartment, tiny house or even condominium, you will need to consider the smells left after the animal defecates.

Dogs would be preferably taken for a walk routinely to do what they need to do. Cats use a litter box, which means the smell could waft through the living space all day while you are at work. Birds, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rabbits are all reasonably small animals and the habitat they are in can be changed daily, this is true also for a litter box.

Depending on what state, county or city you live in, there may be certain laws that need to be adhered to as to the type of pet, exotic pets or sizes of the pets. You should check into the laws in your area before you set your heart on any certain pet.

Type of Pet



There are many dogs that may live a very happy life living in an apartment or small house. There are even some large dogs that can be very happy in an apartment. However, some of the considerations to think of would be the activity level of the dog, the exercise routine, is the dog one of the types that like to bark whenever they hear a noise? When neighbours are walking through the hallway or having a party at their place, does this breed of dog bark at these noises?

Even the large breed dog could live happily in a small space as long as they have the opportunity to get outside and have some playtime and running.

Considerations for having a dog in the apartment or tiny house would be that they do need to be brought outside at least once every 4 to 6 hours. Some of these larger dogs are couch potatoes and have no problem sleeping all day.

Again, the apartment may have regulations as to the size of animals that are allowed to reside in the building.



Cats are generally a great fit for small places. However, not all breeds are happy in those small places. Most cats are indoor pets, they sleep for the majority of the day and they do not need to be taken for walks outside. Meaning they are trained for using the litter box.

The amount of attention that cats require is far less than that of a dog. They are happy when you are home and they can cuddle with you in front of the television or next to you in bed.

The Siamese cat is not one of the breeds that are happy being alone. The Siamese may scream and howl loudly while you are gone. This is usually done because they are lonely. When it comes to a Siamese cat, adopting two Siamese at one time is likely the best idea, especially if you are gone for long hours.

Larger cat breeds do not do well in an apartment or small space. This includes the Bengal cat, who has a higher need for mental and physical stimulation.

To keep cats happy in small spaces it is recommended that they be given toys that can keep them occupied. This includes toys such as puzzle-type boxes. These are toys in which you can place small treats or other toys in each of the compartments and the cat needs to figure out how to open the compartment to obtain the treat.

Other items that can help keep the cat occupied while you are gone are Cat trees, the ones with cubby holes are usually the best since they also give the cat a place to hide and sleep when it wants to. Window seats or another arrangement that allows the cat to be able to watch everything happening outside will most often make the cat very happy also.

As with all other animals, you must first check with the management company of the building you are living in. There may be certain restrictions that must be followed in order to be allowed to have a pet in your apartment.



Most types of birds have no issues being left alone while you are gone for the day. However, there are some, such as the Parrot that actually crave plenty of social interaction. The parrot species, for example, needs mental stimulation and interaction.

When these birds are alone for the majority of the day, there could be behaviour problems that develop. These issues are caused by stress and loneliness. The most common reaction to stress and loneliness is for the bird to scream. The volume of these larger birds screaming could cause issues with you and your neighbours.

The smaller parrot species, as well as canaries and finches, will do well in small apartments, as long as they have a proper cage set up. This may include having a perch and a swing inside the cage. Before shipping, do some research to determine which species or breed of bird would work best for your living arrangements. You need to be aware in advance of what the bird will need in terms of a cage, equipment and food.

You should also determine how much mental stimulation is required for the bird species you choose. Some parrot species do need to have some time out of their cage each day. Parrots are the neediest species, you could consider others such as parrotlets, parakeets, budgies and lovebirds.

Guinea Pigs, Hamsters, Mice

Guinea pigs and hamsters are some of the best pets to have when you live in a small apartment or tiny home. As long as these rodents have a cage, or aquarium that is large enough for them to run, large enough to hold an exercise wheel, and still have room to create a sleeping area and eating space, they will be happy for the most part.

Even these little rodents need some attention for their human. But, they can be happy as long as they can see you. Be sure to have the right type of cage or habitat for the mice. A mouse is very capable of chewing through many types of material. Even the plastic of the fancy habitats that are made for hamsters and mice.

Some gentle reminders when it comes to housing mice or hamsters together, be sure that you are housing same-sex mice or hamsters together. If this is not a certainty, there could be many babies running in the cage shortly. Unless you are prepared for this, get a guarantee that your pair is of the same sex. Also, two females can be housed together, however, it is not safe to house two males together in the same cage. Males tend to be more territorial than females.



Some rabbits are okay with smaller living arrangements. This would include the dwarf rabbits. Many rabbits, though, need a larger hutch or cage to live in.  The main consideration to take care of is to be sure that all exposed wires or cords are covered and at the very least unaccessible.

Rabbits can be loving and appreciative of the time that they spend with them. The larger breeds will be unable to deal with a small cage or hutch.

There are also some rabbits that could be trained to use a litter box, similar to the felines, this will obviously save the carpet and the flooring. Again, there may be regulations that tenants need to adhere to when living in an apartment complex. One of those conditions could be that Rabbits are not allowed in the building complex.

Exotic Pets to Avoid


There are some pets that would be best to avoid entirely in a small apartment or tiny house. The obvious would be Monkeys, Pot bellied pigs, MaCaws or Amazon birds. These animals are too large, too noisy or need a habitat that would not work in an apartment.

Some large birds need space to be able to fly. Turtles may start out small, but they grow to be very large and need very large aquariums to live in. To reiterate, all tenants need to find out what the restrictions or conditions are when it comes to pets in the apartment. There may be a size limit, an animal deposit required or even restrictions on noise limits.

Those who want to have a pet in their small apartment should research to determine which pet may be the best for their living situation. You should also be fully aware of the amount of time that the animal needs personal attention if it needs to be taken outside for exercise or on walks.

Hiring a dog walker, a pet sitter or considering taking the pet to an animal daycare may make owning a pet in a small apartment much easier on both the pet and you.

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Our website does not constitute medical advice for pets, for medical advice for a pet please consult a licensed veterinarian.