Apartment Living BlogApartment Living › Best & Worst Pets for Apartment Living

Over time, dogs are reportedly more stinky than cats by a 2 to 1 ratio. And yet, the age-old personality question persists: Are you a dog person or a cat person?

Beyond personality, we wanted to look at the many other considerations of pet ownership that are important for apartment living. How much space does your pet need? How much care and walking will it require? Is it stinky? How much does it poop?

We set out to find statistics and data to answer these questions so you can find the best pet to suit your apartment life. Here’s what we found:

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Space Required for Your Pet

How much space does your pet need to be healthy and happy? Below are some guidelines, but space requirements also need to take into consideration your pet’s temperament. High-energy pets will need more space to frolic, whereas older or calmer pets will be content to lounge in comfort. Also consider that in addition to their cages or enclosures, your pet may also need space for physical exercise and bathroom activities.

Cats are flexible in the amount of space they will need. They adjust to the size of their territory (a.k.a. your apartment). For fish, the starting point is a gallon of water per inch in size. However, there is a wide variation depending on the type of fish and its behavior.

For birds, the space needed is largely determined by the type of bird. Here’s a starting point when determining cage size:


Bird Type Space Required (Sq. Ft.)
Budgie 0.72
Lovebird 0.81
Finch (6 inches) 0.81
Cockatiel 1.08
Parakeet (under 10 inches) 1.08
Cockatoo (15 inches) 2.15
Macaw (15 inches) 2.42


For dogs, the general rule suggests the larger the dog, the more indoor space it will need. Here’s a basic guide:

Dog Length (Inches) Space Required (Sq. Ft.)
7 1.17
10 1.78
15 3.06
18 4
23 5.84
26 7.11
30 9
33 10.56
36 12.25
42 16
48 20.25


Hamsters need 2-square-foot enclosures. Both turtles and gerbils need 3-square-foot cages. Guinea pigs need 8-square-foot enclosures, as do rabbits, which also need an additional 24 square feet of exercise space. Ferrets need 9-square-foot enclosures. For lizards, pet sizes range from 1 inch to 11 feet, and cage size should be larger than their full length with room to move around.


Pet Maintenance

Having a pet is a responsibility. It starts with the frequent tasks of feeding, walking and cleaning the cage. But there’s also the regular vet checkups, immunizations and medicines needed to take care of your critter.

In considering daily tasks, here are the rates at which you will need to tend to your pet.

For dogs, feeding should happen twice a day, and they will need one to four walks per day depending on the breed and temperament. Use the dog walks as part of your own exercise routine or try taking your dog to the dog park so it can have some social time with other canines.

Cats need to be fed one to two times per day, and while they don’t need to be walked, their litter box will need to be scooped one to two times per day. Fish don’t need to be walked, and you won’t have to scoop any poop. However, a portion of the fish water will need to be changed once a week, and they need to be fed one to two times per day, depending on the type.

Birds, rabbits and chinchillas all need to be fed twice a day with daily cage cleaning. Hamsters need to be fed daily, but cage cleaning is only needed weekly. Turtles are fed every other day, but their enclosures should be checked daily for cleaning. Ferrets need food available at all times for eating every few hours, and their enclosures should be cleaned daily. Iguanas only need feeding every other day, and their cages should be regularly cleaned as needed.

It’s good to consider a few rules of thumb on how often your pet’s cage needs to be cleaned. Notably, the smaller the cage, the more frequently you’ll need to clean it. It’s really a matter of poop density within the smaller space. However, larger cages will still need the bedding changed regularly. The best advice is when there’s stinky poop, clean it immediately.

As a pet owner, bathroom business is a big deal. How big? Every year in the U.S., there is 10.6 million tons of dog poop (that’s 1 ½ times the size of the Great Pyramid of Giza). A much smaller figure, but still very impressive, is the 1.3 million tons of cat poop annually.

Generally, the larger the pet, the more poop to scoop. Based on average breed weights, here is our breakdown by dog breed and cat breed for how much poop a pet owner will scoop in a year.


Dog Breed Amount of Poop to Scoop in 1 Year (Pounds)
Chihuahua 34.22
Shih Tzu 68.44
Dachshund 82.12
Pug 102.66
Shiba Inu 123.19
French Bulldog 136.88
Beagle 150.56
English Cocker Spaniel 219
Border Collie 239.53
Schnauzer 273.75
Dalmatian 342.19
Boxer 410.63
Retriever 479.06
German Shepherd 547.5
Great Pyrenees 615.94
Great Dane 958.13
Mastiff 1,026.56


Cat Breed Amount of Poop to Scoop in 1 Year (Pounds)
Siamese 83.95
Domestic 91.25
Persian 109.5
Maine Coon 123.19


No matter what kind of pet you have, accidents will happen. And when they do, it’s a good idea to have a portable wet vacuum on hand to deal with the cleanup. In a collection of dog-friendly apartment hacks, we recommend living on the first floor of your apartment building because it makes bathroom breaks quicker and easier.


How Stinky Are Cats and Dogs?

The statistics of stinkyness is an imprecise science. We ran the numbers to see how often pet owners searched online to solve their pet’s odor problems.

After being weighted for the number of cat owners vs. dog owners, here’s what we found. Searches for “stinky dogs” outnumber “stinky cats” by a 2 to 1 ratio. This is likely because adult cats spend up to 50% of their waking hours grooming.

For dogs, the frequency of bathing depends on health, breed, coat, activity level and environment. For example, if your pup is often rolling in mud at the park, then he’ll need more frequent baths.


Pet Popularity

In the U.S., dogs are slightly more popular than cats. Dogs are in 44.9% of households, whereas cats are in 37.4%. Fish are the third-most-popular pet with 8.0% of households owning at least one. In the next tier of pet ownership, birds are in 3.8% of households, rabbits in 1.5% and turtles in 1.4%. Fewer than 1% of households own hamsters, guinea pigs, lizards, ferrets or gerbils.

While there are certainly popularity trends nationwide, pet ownership also has trends locally. Based on our analysis, here are the top cities where some of our favorite pets are most popular.


City Pet Trends
Calico Cats Seattle
Siamese Cats Chicago
Los Angeles
French Bulldogs San Francisco
Pugs Los Angeles
Shih Tzus Dallas
Rescue Dogs Phoenix
Sugar Gliders Atlanta
Ferrets Chicago
Parakeets San Antonio


Interested in adding a pet to your life? Read our Renter’s Guide to Pet Owning and search ForRent.com for a pet-friendly apartment.




About :

Amber is the Director of Content Marketing for ForRent.com and has been with the company since April 2007. In her role, Amber strategizes, executes and optimizes a content and social media plans across multiple channels and platforms. This includes blogs, social networks, video sharing sites, and other conversational media. She spends a great deal of time building relationships with consumers, social media influencers, and bloggers to generate awareness of the ForRent.com brands. In her free time, Amber loves running, #hashtags, and DIY projects.


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