Americans love pets. Almost two-thirds of all U.S. households include at least one pet, according to the Humane Society of the United States. As of 2012, cats led the list of preferred pets (95.6 million), with dogs a respectable second (83.3 million). Cat owners averaged 2.11 felines per household, while dog owners averaged 1.46 canines per home. As a group, pet owners spend about $50 billion per year on their animal companions, according to American Pet Products Association (APPA).
That’s a lot of kibble.
Not all rental apartments are pet-friendly. Regardless of how well they’re trained, animals can create noise and sanitation problems some landlords would just as soon rather avoid. Even so, a 2014 survey by a nationwide rental website revealed that nearly two-thirds of renters own pets.
If you are able to find a pet-friendly apartment community (hint: we have units available), what animals are best-suited for apartment living? Here’s a list of animals — and breeds — that tend to do best in the confines of modern apartment living.
Cats – Cats are famous for their independence and generally low maintenance. Solitary creatures, they’re not likely to freak out if you’re gone for hours at a time. In fact, some may prefer it that way. They also “do their business” indoors, assuming you provide them with a suitable litter box. (Something you must maintain regularly or suffer the consequences.) Owning a cat also has its downsides. Their sharp claws can damage furniture and draperies. Shedding can also be a problem, especially for people who are prone to allergies. Still, cats can make wonderful apartment companions.
Dogs – Man’s best friend is known for his loyalty, playfulness and unconditional affection. Dogs can also make for excellent roommates, under the right circumstances. First, you need a dog with a temperament conducive to smaller interior spaces, one that doesn’t need wide, open spaces to exercise daily. Breeds content to “sit and sleep” include:
- French Bulldogs
- Shih Tzus
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniels
- Boston Terriers
- Yorkshire Terriers
Before buying any dog, make sure you and your pooch will have easy access to the outdoors for walks, and grassy areas where they can relieve themselves. Lastly, make sure you have time to dedicate to a pet, and always be sure to clean up after your furry friend.
Birds – If you aren’t sold on having a four-legged creature constantly underfoot — or taking your space on the sofa — a bird maybe your best alternative. Caged birds can be colorful, entertaining, and cheerful, and, yes, even playful companions. Despite their reputations as being “bird brains,” many birds are surprisingly intelligent. Many cockatiels have been trained to follow voice commands and perform tricks. A number of species can be taught to talk and master impressive vocabularies. Particularly talkative birds include African Greys, Yellow-Naped Amazon parrots, Hill Mynas, and both Yellow-Crowned and Double Yellow-Head Amazons. But be warned, birds can be noisy, and their loose feathers can require near-constant tending.
Fish – As pets, fish are colorful, soothing, and nearly silent. For apartment dwellers looking for tranquility, fish are a welcome alternative to the more boisterous and rambunctious creatures described above. However, fish can also be a detriment to someone seeking animal companionship because, except for feeding time, fish tend to be poor at inter-species communication. Fish also require environments that are highly controlled in terms of temperature, acidity, salt content, and, most of all, humidity. The more exotic your aquatic pet, the more likely you are to invest heavily in aquarium gear and maintenance.
Large tanks of water also pose a hazard if they break, leak or tip over, so some apartments may have particular restrictions when it comes to this kind of pet. Check with your landlord before committing to keeping fish.
Guinea Pigs, Mice, and Hamsters – As pets, rodents have the advantage of being small, easy to contain, inexpensive to feed, and fun to interact with. Like “Star Trek” tribbles, the particularly furry ones can provide their owners with a sense of welcome comfort when stroked. And like tribbles, they can breed like crazy if paired with members of the opposite sex. But be careful: If allowed to run loose, these little varmints can scurry out of reach and disappear into unimaginable hiding places, even in the smallest of apartments.
Snakes, Lizards, and Tortoises – Reptiles aren’t for everyone, but if you aren’t creeped out by their cold bodies, Sauron-like eyes, and scaly hides, you may find them to be perfect apartment pets. Like fish, they’re quiet. Like birds, they’re fairly easy to maintain. Like rodents, most are amenable to being handled and stroked. And like cats, they’re just fine if you leave them alone for hours at a time. So what’s not to like? Well, their cold bodies, Sauron-like eyes, and scaly hides.
Ultimately, the kind of pet you choose depends on your taste, personality, resources — and the rules set by your property manager. Dog, cat, bird, fish, rodent or lizard, you’ll be providing a home for a loveable animal companion as well as a new member of your family.
Are you looking for a pet-friendly apartment in San Diego, Silicon Valley, or Orange County? We only feature the best pet-friendly apartment communities.
*Some pets and breeds may not be allowed in certain apartment communities. Be sure to read the “Pet Policy” section under “Community Details” when viewing an apartment on our website for more info.