Small Space Apartments and Pets
Perhaps you have just moved into a small space apartment, or already live in one, and you are considering bringing a pet along or adopting one. The first thing you need to do is make sure your apartment complex allows pets! Some don't; others allow only cats or small, caged pets such as hamsters or gerbils. Also, some that allow dogs often have size restrictions which don't allow for most large dog breeds. In many states, even if an apartment complex does not allow pets, if you can get a doctor's note saying a cat or dog is needed as a companion animal, you are allowed to have one. This is very important for those who already have a pet and want to move in to a "no pets" apartment complex. Keep in mind that many apartments that allow pets also have a non refundable pet deposit in addition to your security deposit; often one per each pet. One these terms have been cleared, the next step is thinking about what will and won't work in a small space apartment when considering having a pet.
Evaluate the space available in your unit. If you haven't yet moved in, picture as best as you can how the furniture will be arranged with a pet in mind. Cats and small dogs need some running room where ever they live. Also, with a cat, you need a place for a litter box that affords your cat a bit of privacy. For both cats and dogs, pet beds are nice, and both will need some toys. Pets do not pick up their toys, and tend to lose them under various pieces of furniture.
For many people, a cat is a perfect apartment pet simply because a cat has fewer needs than a dog. All a cat wants is a clean litter box, some food, and a bit of attention each day. There's no need to walk a cat and scoop up afterwards. A cat is content when you are home, and sleeps when you are away at work. No matter what the weather a cat is perfectly happy to be inside, and also seems to need less space. They are not noisy, either. No need to worry about barking bothering the neighbors, especially if the walls aren't totally sound proof! Just make sure you teach your cat to use a scratching post so you don't end up with scratch marks on wood cabinets and doors.
Dogs are more sociable, and generally need more room inside. This does not mean a dog can't work inside a small space apartment. Some breeds are better suited for being pets in a small space apartment; do some research through the internet, and if possible, talk to some of your neighbors in your building who are dog owners to find out what works for them.
Birds are often thought to be the perfect small space apartment pet as they are already in a small space - a birdcage. Care for birds is not as easy as it may seem; also, some types might be noisier than a small dog! If you choose to have a pet bird, keep the cage clean, and make sure fresh water is always available, along with a few bird 'toys" and treats. Talking birds can be great company for some; others prefer the whistle of a musical songbird.
The easiest pets to maintain in any small space apartment are, of course, the small caged pets such as hamsters or mice. These make great pets if you occasionally need to be away for a day or more because you can purchase feeders that hold several days food supply, along with water bottles. Fish also make good apartment pets. All you need is either a bowl or tank, depending on the type of fish you wish to have.
Do some research and then decide which pet would work best for you in your small space apartment. Whatever pet you choose, just remember to keep doors locked and make sure window screens are secure if you leave a window open, especially for four legged uncaged pets. Watch out for balcony doors, too. And make sure to keep your pets immunizations up to date with regular vet visits. If you choose a dog or cat, get your pet neutered/spayed either through your vet or local SPCA. Just remember a pet is a lifetime commitment; dogs and cats can live more than fifteen years - sometimes over twenty years. Expenses include regular food, vet check ups, emergency treatment, possibly flea treatment on occasion, and litter and toys. For some, a "second hand" cat or dog might work well, especially if you go to work each day. There's no need to worry about training a tiny kitten or puppy; personalities are fairly set, and an older pet is more settled. Shelter cats and dogs make wonderful family members and all who are in a shelter need and deserve a good home. Your small space apartment would be wonderful for one of these pets.