Choosing a pet | Let's make it easy

You need help choosing a pet? I used to need help choosing a pet all the time. I have never known what kind of a pet I want; except I knew I really wanted one (or two, or more).

I love small pets so much I wish I could have hundreds!

But, my small apartment does not allow me to have so many of them.

Which pets are good for small apartments?

pet rabbit and pet chinchillaNot every pet, even if it is small, is good for a small apartment. Choose one that will fit in your little apartment, and I don't mean just physically.

If you have a family, see which pets are best pets for families. They appeal to every age, and it is something that can change a child's life.

Children have different needs when it comes to pets. They can not take care of it the same way you can. So they have to find one appropriate to their age and responsibility level or you should just be prepared to clean after it. For example, most Reptiles such as Frogs, Turtles and other Amphibians are best for children over age 10. Recent research confirms that pets help us feel better about ourselves not to mention lower our blood pressure. They also develop a sense of personal responsibility.

Some pets can also live a long time, so learn the lifespan and care requirements of any pet that you select to make sure they are compatible with your lifestyle. Keep an open mind, since sometimes the best pets are what you'd least expect, such as lizards.

                                      Life Expectancy of Small Pets

Small Pet
Life Expectancy Years
Hamsters, Gerbils, Mice
2 to 3 years
6 years
Guinea Pigs
6 years
10-20 years
7 years (green singing finches can live 20+ years)

Here is a list of pets that can live without big backyards. It is a starting point to help you when choosing a pet that will be fairly easy to keep in small spaces:


Birds are some of the easiest small pets to care for making them perfect for apartment dwellers when choosing a pet.  Pet birds require a simple home and feed and readily available seed. Small pets such as finches and canaries require little room. Birds can be housed in aviaries or cages. At only $185 a year, small birds are the least expensive small pet to maintain.

Budgie parakeets
Canary bird


small puppy pets
Puppies Make Great Pets, But Require Space and Lots of Care
Source: Wikimedia, Lgovindprakash

Popular mammals range from dogs and cats to unusual small pets such as Sugar Gliders and Chipmunks. Mammals can require more care and cost more to keep than other pets. There are also somewhat hidden costs that are important to consider when choosing a pet. Rabbits can cost $415 a year for litter and then another $300 a year for food, litter and medical costs. In fact, a rabbit could cost more to maintain than a small dog ($320 a year) and a cat ($465 a year).

Cats like Maine Coon Cat which is a great pet
Sugar gliders

Rodents: (most popular small pets)

Rodents are not always an obvious choice when choosing a pet. They are known for their front teeth that enables them to gnaw or eat foods such as seeds. Given their small size in nature, they are acutely aware of their surroundings and learn how to hide from possible predators. They can communicate with each other and have an excellent ability to smell what is around them. They spend a good amount of time burrowing or hiding.  At night they emerge under the cover of night to look for food. Rodents such as Guinea Pigs can be more expensive than other pets due to the need to continually buy litter, which can run as much as $415 a year for an annual cost of $620.

Guinea pigs
Guinea Pigs

The word reptile is a general term to define thousands of species. This includes lizards, turtles, frogs, toads, newts, salamanders, and crocodiles. They can range from small popular pets such as Geckos to larger lizards that require 75 gallon cages such as the Bearded Dragon. Lizards also vary by the type of diet includes meat, plants, and insects. Reptiles also do not like to be handled, although some will get used to it and even eat out of your hand.

Other unusual pets
Spiny Mice

baby pet turtle crossing the road

This is a list of pets that can be kept in small spaces considering their size. You still have to take in consideration many more factors to make final decision.

You can have so many different reasons for wanting a pet and even more factors that will limit your choice. Think well before you get one. If you make a wrong choice you could end up with a pet you don't know what to do with.

I am going to do my best to help you with these and any other thoughts you might have. I went through all of them.

Making the right choice is sometimes more of a trouble than actually having a pet.

A good, general advice on choosing a pet?

Consider your life style. And in this case, your apartment. I am focusing on your small apartment (house, room, studio?) because that is what this site is all about - small pets in small spaces.

You will get more details about each pet in their sections on the site and it will be easy to choose one to fit your needs.

You spend a lot of time at home and like to play with animals? You can choose almost any of the small pets. Cats, dogs and guinea pigs love playing with people.

You are the opposite, with very little time available? Consider do you want to get a pet at all.

You say definitely yes? Well then get a pet that doesn't need you to play with it and actually prefers you not touching it. Choose small pet turtles or fishes.

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