The lease says specifically that no dogs or cats are allowed in your apartment… but the animal kingdom has lots of choices, including one which may be acceptable to landlords and other owners.

Face it, animal lovers can find it difficult to live without a faithful companion. Don’t think that dogs and cats are your only options for pets. Many apartment complexes do allow some caged animals. There are many small, apartment friendly pets that will provide you with just as much love as any dog or cat, including:

  • Birds. If you purchase a parrot or myna bird, you’ll need to purchase ear plugs as well because they are incredibly loud creatures. In a small space, the screeching will echo, and it’s just not a good idea. Canaries and parakeets are the best birds for apartment living. If you want the canary to sing, don’t purchase a female… only male canaries sing.
  • Guinea Pigs. If you train your Guinea pig and give it plenty of love, it can be a wonderful addition to your family. Even though Guinea Pigs have no real interest in playing or affection, they’re still popular family pets because they usually don’t bite or claw in defense. They’re incredibly passive. You may want to buy two (same sex) Guinea pigs so they can keep each other company. These fuzzy creatures are relatively low maintenance, and they live approximately four to six years.
  • Lizards. For about five years, I had two anoles. They were incredibly intelligent and loving. They were great to watch, especially when the male began to court the female. He would turn magnificent shades of red and green. If you get a pair of anoles, they’re generally content just being together. They usually don’t like being held or played with. The only lizard that really enjoys hands-on attention is an iguana… however, these lizards grow into dragons – sometimes reaching up to seven feet in length!
  • Mice or Rats. People would ask me why I made pets of rodents. It didn’t make sense to them that I spent money on housing the very creatures they set traps out for. Well, rodents are very smart, and – if they’re trained correctly – love to play games. My rat used to play hide and go seek, catch, and peekaboo with me! She lived for about three years. The mice I took care of lived anywhere from two to four years. It is better to buy two rodents (make sure they’re the same sex unless you want to start a colony!) so that they can play with one another. I prefer female rodents over male ones because males like to “mark their territory”… constantly.
  • Hamsters. These creatures are very clean and relatively odorless, but if you aren’t a nocturnal person, you shouldn’t get one. Hamsters sleep all day long, and are up all night chewing and running in their wheel. They are generally cranky. I never had much luck with hamsters, but some people rave about them. They have short tempers and if you put two males together, they will constantly fight. Two females together and they’ll compete for space. One hamster per cage is plenty. They live about three years.

All pets require plenty of love and entertainment, so if you know you aren’t going to be able to provide them with at least an hour a day of your time, you should consider buying fish instead. Pets will become aggressive with lack of attention. Talk to your local pet store employee and research the pet you are considering. Go to the library and read about the pet you’re interested in. Make sure you understand the financial investment you’re undertaking.

Some pets are much more expensive than others. Also, make sure to find out from your landlord if small pets are accepted in the complex. With proper care and attention, any of these pets will make a lovely addition to your apartment.