While the obvious choice when choosing a pet is usually a dog or cat, not everyone likes these animals. They can also be a bigger commitment than some other pets and even certain living arrangements (like apartment rentals) may not even allow them. And that’s totally okay! There are tons of other animals that make great house pets (and still good companions!) that may be a better fit for you.
Before choosing a pet, it’s important to assess your lifestyle including how much money and time you can invest in your pet. Regardless of what type of pet you get, owning one is a commitment and you want to make sure you can meet their needs. To help you on your journey, we’ve compiled 12 house pets to consider if you don’t want a cat or dog!
If you don’t want a cat or dog but still want a furry companion, consider getting a rabbit! They can make great pets. In fact, The Spruce Pets points out that most are social and love to keep you company.
Rabbits can also be suitable pets for apartments as they’re fairly quiet and can be litter-box trained. Some people even allow their rabbits to roam free, which is also an effective way for them to exercise. One thing you’ll need to be mindful of is they do like to chew and dig, so it’s important to bunny-proof your home. Don’t leave any exposed cords lying around and only allow your bunny to roam in carpet or rug-free rooms.
If you want a furry companion that likes to cuddle and enjoys quality time with its owner then consider getting a ferret. Though they can be high energy, they’re also highly intelligent, friendly, and social.
Ferrets require a large cage that provides ample space to play. The Spruce Pets also recommends ferret-proofing your home to prevent escapes or unsafe hiding spots. They typically like to sleep most of the day but they can get into trouble if they’re not supervised.
Guinea pigs are great pets for families. VetStreet points out that guinea pigs are not as fragile or skittish as smaller rodents, making them more suitable for school-aged children. You’ll also enjoy that they’re easy to care for. Guinea pigs require a comfortable cage lined with paper-based bedding that needs to be spot-cleaned daily and a total clean weekly.
Another bonus to guinea pigs is they can live up to 7-years, which is a lot longer than other smaller rodents. They also have unique personalities, are fun to play with, and can be very entertaining. Like rabbits, guinea pigs enjoy out-of-cage time to explore, play, and socialize. However, it’s important to keep them out of reach of exposed wires, toxic plants, and anything else they can chew on.
Looking for a low-maintenance and minimal-commitment pet? Consider getting hermit crabs. The Spruce Pets explains that hermit crabs can be great for families and apartment living as they make no noise.
They don’t require a lot of space either and will do well in a 10- to 20-gallon tank. One thing to keep in mind is hermit crabs are social creatures so it’s best to get them companions — just make sure their tank is large enough. You may also enjoy that hermit crabs can be entertaining as they like to roam around and move from one shell to another.
Hamsters are another suitable option for individuals who want a pet but with less maintenance and commitment. For starters, they don’t require a lot of attention, yet they’re still cuddly and pleasant to hold. You also don’t have to worry about exercising your hamster as they get ample exercise running on their wheel and roaming about their cage. You could also get them a hamster ball and allow them to explore your home.
To provide a comfortable environment for your hamster, The Spruce Pets suggest a 2-cubic feet cage with an exercise wheel, items to chew, and a good hiding spot. They’ll also need absorbent bedding, food, and ample drinking water. They’re also low maintenance and require daily spot cleaning, a weekly bedding change, and monthly cleaning of their entire habitat.
Chinchillas are another furry rodent that can make a great pet! According to The Spruce Pets, they’re usually active and playful and can bond with their owners if they’re gently handled from a young age. It’s important to be patient, gentle, and consistent to gain their trust.
Chinchillas can also be great pets for apartment living as they’re clean and relatively odor-free. They’re also nocturnal which means they’ll be quiet during the day. However, that also means they’re most active at night so if you’re a light sleeper, it’s best to not keep their enclosure close to your bed.
Rats are great pets for first-time pet owners. They’re friendly, low maintenance, and quiet. They can also keep themselves company for long periods of the day, making them great for pet owners who work all day.
Rats are also affordable and only require a comfortable cage, toys to play with, and food and water. Fancy rats are also surprisingly clean. Though they like to groom themselves, they also enjoy being brushed and petted too. Regular weekly cleaning of the cage and accessories is also necessary to keep odor at bay.
Not all animals need fur to make good pets! Reptiles like painted turtles can make great pets, especially for beginners because of their docile nature, explains PetMD. However, deciding to own a painted turtle does still require serious consideration because they require a lot of care and have a longer lifespan (up to 30-years).
Painted turtles require a larger tank with both wet and dry areas. Their tank and accessories do need regular cleaning and it’s always important to wash your hands regularly when handling your turtle and their tank. Since they’re a reptile, they may carry salmonella so proper hygiene is a must.
Another great reptile contender is the bearded dragon. These docile and gentle creatures are great for kids and adults alike. They may bite but usually only when they feel threatened or scared. If you handle them gently and kindly, this shouldn’t be a problem.
Bearded dragons also enjoy bonding with their owners, and are easy to care for but do require regular meals, attention, and maintenance, explains Reptile Direct. The ideal enclosure for an adult is a 55- to 75-gallon tank with a secure screen top. It’s also important to provide a proper diet (such as a variety of insects, fruit, and vegetables) as well as plenty of clean drinking water. They’re low-maintenance too, you’ll need to clean up their droppings daily and remove any unwanted food.
If you’re looking for a fairly hands-off pet, then consider getting a fish! They’re ideal for pet owners who don’t have a lot of time or space. Fish are also pretty to look at and can be entertaining but unlike other pets, they don’t need training, playtime, or grooming.
There are tons of different types of fish to choose from too, but it does require some consideration and research. Two of the easiest types of fish are betta fish and goldfish because they’re easy to take care of and don’t require a complicated setup like saltwater fish. Just make sure you provide your fish with an appropriate-sized tank and equipment to meet their needs. Some fish aren’t compatible with each other either, another reason why it’s vital that you do your research.
Hedgehogs are unique but adorable pets. According to Fetch by WebMD, they’re also low maintenance but they do require some special care. Since they have sharp quills, you’ll need to handle them carefully. While they won’t shoot out like a porcupine, they can still be quite sharp. However, with proper handling and time, your hedgehog will learn to relax and feel comfortable with you.
Hedgehogs require a large escape-proof cage with paper-based bedding. They also love running around and will need space to roam outside of their enclosure. One thing to keep in mind is that hedgehogs are nocturnal, meaning they’re most active at night, so it’s best to keep their enclosure away from your bed.
A budgie, also known as a parakeet, is one of the most popular pet birds. And it’s easy to see why! First of all, parakeets are affordable, very friendly, easy to tame, and of course, quite beautiful.
The Spruce Pets explains that parakeets are docile birds but they’re also very playful and active. Another neat thing about these birds is they can mimic human speech. While they aren’t the easiest species to teach to speak, the source says you can likely teach them a few easy words. They’re also really good at mimicking other sounds (such as a ringtone, or a creaking door) if they hear it enough times.