What happens if you live in a flat, yet love animals?
Certainly it’s likely that keeping a dog or cat in a flat (especially if it’s rented) will be out of the question. But that doesn’t mean to say that you can’t keep any kind of pet. Infact, as it turns out there are all manner of pets that can be kept successfully when living in a flat.
Today we’re going to look at some of the best pets for keeping in a flat, in order to provide you with a wealth of ideas.
Please note, however, that there is only room in this article for a quick rundown of the many options available to you. We would encourage potential owners of any pet to do full and thorough research before taking on any kind of pet. In this way you can feel confident that you’ll be able to provide your new pet with the quality of life they deserve and can meet all their requirements in captivity.
For pet owners that love fluffy pets, there are a range of small mammals that might just fit into your flat. Hamsters and gerbils, for example, take up relatively little space and rarely produce any kind of smell. They’re also cheap to buy and, with only a short lifespan, if your housing situation changes you won’t have to worry about committing to your pet over the long-term.
For pet lovers with a little more space, guinea pigs can also be an option. Whilst they require a considerably larger cage, they can make adorable pets to cuddle while you’re watching TV in the evening. Be aware that guinea pigs can be quite vocal pets at feeding time – something which may prove a sore point in the confines of a block of flats.
Also note that some small mammals – such as hamsters – are nocturnal. As a result they may move around after dark, keeping you awake within the confines of a small flat. Better are the more diurnal small rodents like gerbils or rats.
For pet owners looking for something a little different a number of cage birds may be appropriate. Of these, budgerigars are arguably the most suitable subject, being relatively small while still displaying real personalities. Alternatively, there are a number of other parakeets (such as lovebirds or cockatiels) or smaller finches which may be kept in the confines of a flat.
Potential owners of cage birds should, however, be aware of a number of potential downsides to keeping birds in a flat. Firstly birds tend to be far noisier than small mammals. This is especially so for lovebirds, though all will likely make noise from time to time.
Cage birds can also be messy; if allowed out of their cage they may defecate around your flat. Even when confined to their cage birds tend to produce lots of dust and scatter seed husks far and wide. As a result, birds require far more cleaning than small mammals typically.
If you’re not worried about getting your pet out, and would rather just have something to watch, then a fish tank may make an appropriate addition to your flat. Apart from the gentle buzzing of your filter a fish tank produces virtually no noise, takes up very little space and looks fantastic. There are also a huge range of possible fish one can keep.
Old fish tanks can often be bought for next to nothing making getting set up very cost-effective. In addition, thanks to modern fish flakes, it costs almost nothing to feed fish each day.
On the downside fish require weekly cleaning, and the cleaning process can be messy. Great care must be taken not to spill water around your flat when carrying out the cleaning process. Fish also require filters and other electric equipment, so they can increase your electricity bill.
In many ways, reptiles are the perfect pet for keeping in a small flat. If you choose the right species the housing required in modestly-sized, they provide a fascinating focal point in a room and they are largely silent and scent-free. Set up correctly, reptiles also require far less cleaning than many other pets.
Examples of possible small reptiles to keep in a flat include leopard geckos, corn snakes and royal pythons.
Potential reptile-keepers should note that the initial setup of reptile vivariums can be expensive. Most reptiles also require artificial heating and (in the form of lizards) also artificial lighting. This can push up the maintenance costs.
In most cases you will either need to feed live insects (to lizards) or dead rodents (to snakes). This may turn some owners off, though there are a limited number of vegetarian lizard species.
Grouped separately for our purposes, amphibians are generally not recommended for handling – in contrast to some reptiles which can be handled safely. This is because of their more sensitive skin.
However for someone looking for a pet that they can watch amphibians can be even easier to keep than reptiles. The first reason for this is that there are a number of species such as fire bellied newts and fire salamanders which do not require supplementary heating. In addition very few amphibians benefit from artificial lighting.
When you combine this with the fact that many amphibians are considerably smaller than reptiles – and so require smaller cages – amphibians really make ideal pets for flats.
The only real downside to keeping amphibians is that require some specialist caging to get set up, and most will require live insects to eat.
Lastly on our list of pets suitable for keeping in a flat come the many invertebrates. The biggest reason for invertebrates making such great pets for small spaces is simply that most invertebrates themselves are comparatively small, and so require only small cages.
Some examples of suitable pets (for those with an interest) can include tarantulas, praying mantis and stick insects, though other popular alternatives such as giant millipedes and giant African land snails may be encountered.
Furthermore, while some of those species mentioned require live prey to eat (in the form of other, smaller insects) there are also a number of herbivorous invertebrate pets that are ideal for those that would rather feed salad or wild plants rather than tubs of crickets.