5 Pets That Are Great for Small Spaces

Pet care improves your life in many ways. Interacting with animals can reduce blood pressure, loneliness, and mood. Small spaces make pet ownership difficult. You must find space for pet supplies and ensure your pet is happy in a small home. It's possible! Here, a New York City veterinarian recommends small-space pets.

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Small spaces don't preclude dog ownership. "A good rule of thumb may be big dog equals big space and small dog equals small space, but dogs of all sizes can do well in a small space as long as they can get out daily," says Matthew McCarthy, DVM, founder of Juniper Valley Animal Hospital in Queens, New York. Even old, wobbly dogs like to walk up and down the block.

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Cats judge you for many things, but not your space. McCarthy says cats need an enriched environment to play, hunt, and climb. Because cats can go vertical, they need less space. They're happy with perches, shelves, and cat trees. McCarthy also recommends food-dispensing toys and playtime with other humans and cats. Two cats can fit comfortably in a studio apartment.

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If you have a small enclosure, consider a rat as a pet. MacCarthy says these little guys love to cuddle in your lap while you read or watch TV. Consider: You'll likely adopt multiple. "They're social and need at least one or two companions," he says. "Same-sex pairs or groups prevent breeding. Males get along well with other males, especially if they're introduced young or littermates." Two rats require less space than one.

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When cared for, these pets can live 25 years. The tank doesn't need to be heated if your home is between 60 and 75 degrees. McCarthy suggests getting a pet eastern newt. Many exotic western newts secrete a neurotoxin from their skin. You'll enjoy watching your newt navigate its small enclosure.

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This easy-to-care-for pet is fun to watch. Plus? Their cage should be 2 feet long, 1 foot wide, and 1 foot high. Syrian hamsters are solitary; keep them alone. "Because they're nocturnal, you may not see them at their most active," says McCarthy. Most hamsters wake up in the evening and interact with their owners. Wait until you see them on their wheel.

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