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  • Written by iVillage

Living in an apartment presents a unique set of challenges for pet lovers. Limited space, lack of a backyard, noise restrictions, and landlord rules can all play a part in deciding which pet to adopt. But rest assured, there are plenty of apartment-friendly pets that can thrive in smaller spaces and make wonderful companions. 

From a sweet lap cat to the quiet fish tank, here's a guide to the best pets for apartment dwellers.

1. The Lovely Bengal Cat: A Purr-fect Match

The Bengal cat, with its striking coat and vivacious personality, is often an excellent choice for apartment dwellers. Despite their wild ancestry and energetic disposition, 

All in all, with proper care and attention, a Bengal cat can make a delightful and mesmerising addition to any apartment home.

Characteristics and Care:

  • Affectionate Nature: Bengal cats are known for their love for human company. They're friendly, outgoing, and can form strong bonds with their families.
  • Playful and Intelligent: While they do require regular play and engagement due to their high intelligence and activity levels, Bengal cats can thrive in apartment settings as long as they're given ample toys, interactive playtime, and vertical spaces like cat trees or shelves.
  • Low Maintenance Grooming: Their short, sleek coat doesn’t shed much and requires minimal grooming.

2. Fish: A Peaceful and Colourful Choice

Fish tanks can bring life and colour to an apartment. Not only are they relatively quiet, but they also don’t require outdoor exercise.

  • Choosing the Right Fish Tank: Opt for a size that fits your apartment and budget.
  • Research the fish species to ensure they're suitable for the size of the tank and can live harmoniously together.

3. Small Rodents: Cute and Contained

Hamsters, gerbils, and mice are great pets for apartments because they're usually contained within their cages.


  • Space-saving: Their cages can fit on a table or shelf.
  • Low Maintenance: Regular feeding, cleaning, and some playtime are all they need.


  • Nocturnal: They can be noisy at night, so consider their placement in the apartment.

4. Birds: Chirpy Companions

Small birds like canaries, finches, and budgies can be perfect for apartments. They remain in their cages but can fill your home with sweet songs.

Points to Remember:

  • They need social interaction, so consider having more than one.
  • Cages should be spacious, allowing them to fly short distances.

5. Reptiles: Low Maintenance and Unique

From turtles to lizards, reptiles can be fascinating pets that require minimal interaction, making them suited for busy apartment dwellers.

Key Considerations:

  • Invest in a suitable terrarium.
  • Understand their dietary needs and habitat requirements.

6. Rabbits: Fluffy and Friendly

While they’re bigger than rodents, rabbits can adapt well to indoor living.

Tips for Apartment Rabbits:

  • Provide a spacious cage or playpen.
  • Rabbits need time outside their enclosures to hop around and explore.

7. The Quiet and Gentle Ragdoll Cat

In addition to the sociable Bengal, the Ragdoll cat makes for a delightful apartment companion due to its calm and gentle disposition.

Characteristics and Care:

  • Laid-back Nature: Ragdolls are often described as "dog-like" because they can be quite affectionate, following their owners from room to room. However, they are also known for their placid nature which is perfect for apartments.
  • Moderate Grooming: While Ragdolls have a plush, semi-long haired coat, they lack an undercoat, which means fewer tangles and less shedding.
  • Interactive Play: They enjoy interactive toys and games, making them engaging pets for indoor living.

8. Dogs: Man’s Best Friend in a Compact Package

Contrary to what some may believe, several dog breeds are well-suited for apartment life in Melbourne and other populated cities around Australia. Their size, energy level, and temperament can all factor into their adaptability to smaller spaces.

  1. French Bulldog: These little guys are calm, adaptable, and require moderate exercise. Their compact size and amiable nature make them a favourite among urban dwellers.
  1. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel: This breed is known for its affectionate and adaptable nature. They're content with short walks and play sessions and are comfortable lounging around.
  1. Dachshund: Their small size and moderate energy level make them suitable for apartment living. However, they do require regular playtime and walks.
  1. Greyhound: While they are larger, greyhounds are surprisingly well-suited for apartments. They're known as "45 mph couch potatoes" due to their love of relaxation. A good walk or short sprint in a dog park is often enough exercise for them.
  1. Boston Terrier: Friendly and adaptable, Boston Terriers are great for apartment living. They are social and love playing, but they're also content relaxing by their owner's side.


The joy of pet ownership isn’t limited to those with expansive living spaces. With careful consideration and a bit of research, apartment dwellers have a plethora of pet options, from the sociable Burmese and gentle Ragdoll cats to compact dog breeds that thrive in indoor settings. 

Whether you're in search of a furry friend to accompany you on your couch or a serene aquatic setup to bring peace to your space, there's a pet perfectly suited to enhance your apartment living experience.

The iVillage Magazine

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