Having a pet is one of life’s greatest joys. Coming home to find someone that’s over the moon to see you makes even the most challenging days seem better! One of the best parts about pet ownership is the cuddle factor — it’s been scientifically proven that petting or snuggling with an animal can bring down blood pressure, relieve anxiety, and provide a host of other health benefits.
It’s easy to fall into the opinion that apartment dwellers shouldn’t own pets. After all, animals need space to run and play, so they should always have a back yard and a big house, right? Not necessarily. There are plenty of pets living happily with their owners in apartments of all sizes, and they don’t miss having a yard at all!
If you’re an apartment dweller and are craving some pet cuddles, you’re in the right place. I’ve put together a list of the top 5 best cuddly pets for apartments, so you can figure out which pet will work best for you. Keep reading to find out more information on your potential new roommate:
Though it’s true that dogs like to have space to run and play, there are many that would do fine living in apartments. Smaller breeds can be perfectly happy with less space, and some large breed dogs need less exercise than you might think. However, living in an apartment means you need to be extra mindful of your neighbors, so certain breeds won’t work as well as others. Here are a few dog breeds that would be great cuddly apartment pets:
This adorable breed has been around for over a thousand years, bringing joy and laughter to people everywhere they go. They’re great for apartment living because they need very little exercise, rarely bark, and would rather sit in your lap than do anything else!
Shi-Tzus come in a variety of colors and patterns, but they’ll always have that silky, soft coat they’re so well-known for. They were royal dogs in ancient China, and it’s been said that even the Buddha himself owned one of these cuties! If you’re looking for a small dog that loves to cuddle, one of these guys would be a perfect fit for apartment living.
French Bulldogs (or Frenchies, as they’re affectionately called) are one of the most popular small dog breeds at the moment. This is for several reasons, one of these being that they’re great for apartment dwelling owners. These guys are too adorable with their big ears and smushy faces, and it doesn’t hurt that they’re super even-tempered, either!
Frenchies come in colors from fawn to blue, brindle to merle, so you’ll have no trouble finding your perfect match with these guys. They’ll only bark occasionally, are great with people and other pets, and will keep a smile on your face permanently with their adorable antics!
The most popular breed in their native Japan, the Shiba Inu is quickly becoming popular in Western countries as well. This adorable, small-ish dog looks like a red fox, with a signature curly tail that makes them even cuter (if that’s possible!). These guys are natural watch dogs and were originally bred to be hunters, but they’re not yappy about it — making them great apartment companions.
Shibas are slightly stand-offish when it comes to new people due to their watchdog nature, but they’ll warm up over time. They are, however, extremely affectionate with their pack, giving cuddles and unconditional love to anyone in their family without hesitation. Since they’re on the smaller side and don’t bark too often, these guys make awesome cuddly pets for apartments.
Before you dismiss this breed as too much dog for apartment living, just hear me out. Yes, they’re huge, and yes, they look like they’ll need a ton of exercise. But the Bull Mastiff is actually a gentle giant, and a pretty lazy one at that! While they will require a decent daily walk or romp at the dog park to keep them healthy and happy, this breed will transform into a couch potato once he walks through the front door.
Bull Mastiffs are devoted guard dogs and will keep a watchful eye on those close to them. However, they’re not barkers. They will alert you to anything they deem threatening but won’t go off on a barking tangent like some other breeds might. If you have a decent amount of space in your apartment to accommodate this gentle giant and can devote some time every day to exercise and training, the Bull Mastiff makes a great cuddly apartment pet!
Another gentle giant that might surprise you is the Great Dane. These guys are one of the largest dog breeds in the world, but they’re deceivingly friendly and have been deemed a “joy to live with” by many a Great Dane owner. Despite their long legs and massive overall size, these guys actually require very little exercise to keep them happy. They’re also not big barkers, though when they do bark, they’ll definitely get your attention!
Great Danes love their families to a fault and are extremely adaptable to change. They’re great watch dogs but will take their cues from you, meaning they accept new people if you do. They’re also great with kids and pretty chill with other dogs, which makes them well-rounded family dogs. If you can train these guys when they’re young, get them a decent walk each day, and have a couch big enough for their giant size, you’ll have a loyal companion for life.
Cats are the quintessential apartment pet — they enjoy their alone time, don’t take up much space, and are quite happy to curl up and snooze for most of the day. While they do enjoy being allowed to roam, cat experts actually advise against this in order to keep feline family members safe from various elements in the outdoors. Here are a few of my kitty recommendations for apartment dwellers:
These are the most common cats found as pets, and the name basically refers to cats that aren’t classified as a specific breed (like the Persian or Bengal, for example). This run-of-the-mill kitty is a great apartment companion and will happily sit in your windows watching “cat TV” for as long as you allow. They’re also super loving with their families (for the most part) and will spend time with you whenever you’re around.
Domestic Shorthair cats come in pretty much every color and pattern you can think of, from Tabby to Calico, Tuxedo to Tortoise Shell. They’ll be happy to entertain you with their bizarre playing styles and will be grateful for something fun to do together. Coming home to an empty apartment is no longer an issue with one of these guys around — they’ll greet you with purrs and head butts to welcome you home every day!
One of the oldest cat breeds around, most cat lovers know the Siamese well. Their striking good looks and trademark blue eyes are a sight to behold, and they’re known for being super friendly. Siamese cats are incredibly smart, which means you can have lots of fun training them and teaching them tricks. Beware, though — this cleverness can become annoying if not put to good use, so make sure to spend regular time stimulating their superior intellect!
Siamese come in a variety of color combinations. They all have the cream/ivory base coat, but the points (ears, mask, tail, and feet) will vary between blue, lilac, chocolate, and seal. They’re famous for their distinct cat voice and super vocal nature and will likely “talk” to you quite a bit! If you’re looking for a cat that’s more interested in spending time with you than watching the birds or sleeping the day away, the Siamese is a great cuddly apartment pet.
Ragdoll cats are exactly as their name suggests: easy-going, laid back, and adaptable. They’re a combination of several breeds, but nobody really knows which ones. I’d guess they’re part Himalayan, part Siamese, but that’s just my opinion based on their gorgeous looks and easy-going personalities. Ragdolls are big cats, with some easily weighing in at over 20lbs. They’re a lot like dogs in that they can be taught tricks and even walked on leash, so this might be the perfect pet for you if you’re on the fence!
Ragdolls adore their families and are great with kids. They’re even pretty good at getting along with dogs for the most part, which makes them super adaptable for most families. Thanks to this adaptable nature they’ll happily travel with you if you like; their disposition is super Zen-like in most situations. If you’re looking for a cuddly apartment pet that’s also calm, friendly, and not fazed by much at all, the Ragdoll could be perfect for you!
While not for everyone, the Persian has a uniquely adorable look that many cat lovers can’t get enough of. That smushy face with its big round eyes is enough to convince you to take them home, and they’re great companions for apartment dwellers. Persian cats are long-haired, which means you’ll have to commit to brushing them regularly to keep their coat from matting. Aside from that, they’re pretty much like any other cat, and will happily keep you company with playtime and cuddles!
Persians come in most colors and patterns, with their standard eye colors ranging from blue to gold. These guys are actually a little on the lazy side, so it’s up to you to engage them in regular play and activities to keep them healthy. However, once interested they can get up and chase a cat toy with the best of them! If you’re into cats that aren’t super needy but will still be affectionate and playful when prompted, the Persian could be the perfect choice for you.
While these guys may resemble adorable old man aliens, they’re actually super popular among cat lovers. A hairless cat may seem like a weird pet to have, but Sphynx’s are fun-loving, cuddly, and adore their people — making them a great choice for apartment pets. Some confuse them with hypoallergenic cats due to them being hairless, but they’re not. They have a fine layer of down-like peach fuzz to keep them warm, which makes petting them super comforting!
Due to their lack of hair, Sphynx cats need to be bathed regularly and shouldn’t be allowed outdoors — another reason they’re great pets for apartment dwellers. Their personalities are goofy and affectionate, which doesn’t match their serious looks at all! While these cats may not seem very cuddly at first glance, you’ll be surprised at how snuggly they can be. They love getting under the covers with you or curling up in your lap, yet another reason they make great cuddly pets for apartments!
Rats get a bad rap in some circles, but they actually make great pets! While of course you wouldn’t rescue a rat off the street and bring it home, the pet variety found in pet stores and animal shelters can be a great choice for apartment dwellers. These guys are super fun and adore their owners in a way that might not seem possible for a mere rodent — they enjoy being held and petted and might even hang out on your shoulder when you’re relaxing at home. Rats come in several varieties of colors and patterns and can be larger or smaller depending on sex and other factors.
These adorable little guys are a lot of fun to be around, and they love to talk — their little squeaks are super cute! They’ll need a larger enclosure than smaller rodents might, but you’ll still be able to fit them into an apartment without an issue. Guinea Pigs come in long or short haired varieties, in several different colors and patterns. Their cute antics and soft fur make them a great choice for any pet owner, and a great cuddly pet for anyone living in an apartment!
Hamsters are the traditional rodent pet for children and adults alike. They come in numerous color varieties and breeds and can be either long or short haired. There are few things cuter than watching a hamster eat — they actually use their little feet to hold their food, and “wash” their face afterwards! While they’re pretty small they’re still cuddly once they get used to being held, which won’t take long at all. Pretty soon they’ll be walking all over you like a giant jungle gym, bringing you smiles and laughs along the way!
Rabbits are a common thought when we hear the word cuddly. Their super soft fur and adorably giant ears make people say “aww” by simply looking at them! You’ll need a decent sized hutch for a pet rabbit, but they’ll likely spend most of their time hopping around your apartment anyway — they just love to be close to you! Rabbits come in a variety of breeds and colors, as well as sizes and hair lengths. They’re a super quiet pet and you’ll rarely hear a peep from them, but their adorably twitchy rabbit nose and silky soft fur will make you fall in love faster than you think!
Ferrets are the epitome of fun when it comes to pets: they’re constantly moving, playing, and being silly! Relatives of the Weasel, these guys are adorably hyper, and will make sure your apartment is never a dull place for sure. As long as you give them plenty of toys and attention, you won’t have to worry about them being destructive, but they’re not happy to stay in their cages without anything to do. If you can commit to playing with them and giving them plenty of time out of their enclosure each day, Ferrets make great cuddly pets for apartments!
Side note: Before bringing a Ferret home, make sure it’s legal to keep them as pets in your area. They’re not permitted in some places.