cute puppy and bunny rabbit snuggling

Have you been thinking about adopting a pet, but are concerned that the commitment of pet ownership will be too much to handle?

Or, do you live in a space that’s not large enough for a cat or dog, but still want to have a pet to play with?

Well, you’re in luck.

There are many other wonderful types of pets that you can adopt which are great for entry-level pet ownership and make cuddly pets for an apartment.

They also serve as lovely companions!

If you think you’re ready to embark on the adventure of pet ownership and would like to go with a small pet, then the list below of the best house pets besides cats and dogs is perfect for you.

A Note About Pet Dander

One thing to keep in mind is that most of the pets on this list don’t shed a lot of dander. Pet dander is made up of microscopic particles that flake off of the skin and are notorious for causing allergic reactions in humans.

It is highly recommended that cat and dog owners invest in one of the best air purifiers for pets here to eliminate this dander, as well as hair and fur that collects around the home.

The only pets on this list that you would want to consider getting an air purifier for are birds and ferrets because they emit the most amount of dander. And, that is only if you allow them to have free range of your home. If those pets stay in a cage, then the dander won’t spread to the furniture, carpets and other surfaces.

See all of Amazon's Best Selling Air Purifiers



  • Pet birds are a colorful addition to your home from an aesthetic standpoint, as well lovely sounding with their chirping
  • Pet birds are small and live in small cages, so they will not take up an entire room in your house.
  • Birds are not all wild. Many are bred specifically for ownership of small-pet enthusiasts. Some common breeds of house birds include lovebirds, finches, canaries, parakeets, and cockatiels.


  • Many birds are wild and belong in their natural habitat, if brought into a domestic setting, they can be extremely destructive. This is why it is important to follow our suggestions on safe domestic birds to adopt.
  • Think about your bird’s happiness, birds are naturally flock animals and belong with a companion from their species. If you only want one pet, a bird might not be the right fit for you.

Bird cages can get messy and you will need to have the time and means to clean it on a regular basis.



  • Chinchillas have the softest fur. They’re famous for it.
  • Probably the best cuddly pet for apartment
  • Chinchillas can live for up to 10 years
  • Typically, chinchillas have no odor, making them very house friendly


  • Chinchillas can grow large, making them difficult to handle
  • Chinchillas require special dust baths that must be done at least twice a week. This can prove difficult for owners and is something to be seriously considered before you decide to adopt a chinchilla.



  • Ferrets are filled with energy and always interested in playing
  • Ferrets have a long lifespan, you can have them in your life for a long time
  • Ferrets are loving and cuddly, they become more mellow as they age


  • You will need to adjust your home and your living space to accommodate a very curious animal that will get into things if let out
  • Ferrets cannot be kept in cages for long periods of time, they have too much energy and crave human interaction
  • Ferrets are naturally smelly, so if you like fresh and clean smelling animals, this may not be your best option



  • Gerbils are extremely clean, probably the cleanest of the rodents
  • Gerbils are independent and can be happy alone, no need to buy a companion


  • Gerbils can slip out of their cages so you will have to invest in an aquarium
  • Gerbils do not have a long lifespan (3-4 years), so you may have to deal with an unexpected death of your pet
  • Gerbils have sharp teeth and may bite

Guinea Pigs


  • Guinea Pigs are the most social of all the rodent family pets available
  • Guinea Pigs live an average of 5 to 7 years longer than hamsters, which make them ideal pets for children because you won’t have to explain their death
  • Guinea Pigs can be kept in an open-topped cage and are well behaved—much less risk that they will attempt an escape


  • Guinea Pigs do require that you groom them, they have long hair and shed
  • Guinea Pigs are animals that do not do well alone, so it is best that you adopt two, which can be quite a responsibility
  • Similar to hamsters, guinea pigs can carry diseases and you will need to frequently wash your hands and areas where they may track their germs



  • Hamsters are cuddly and sweet companions, although they are a rodent
  • Hamsters are relatively independent pets which do not require a lot of attention from their owners, making them an easier option to provide care to
  • Hamsters enjoy being alone in their cages. This means that unlike adopting a bird, you only need to buy one.


  • Hamsters are nocturnal and will likely be sleeping most of the time that you are awake, so if you plan to play with your pet often, this might cause a conflict. Also, you might hear your hamster awake and playing while you are trying to sleep at night.
  • Hamsters will bite, so children need to be careful when they handle them
  • Hamsters can carry diseases. Hand washing is necessary and another reason why they might not be the best option for young children.
  • Hamsters have a short lifespan, 3 years is the top of their life expectancy. Again, if you have small children, perhaps a rabbit is a better option.



  • Rabbits are well-adapting social animals that are cuddly and make strong companions to their human counterparts
  • Compared to other small-pets of their nature they have quite long lifespans, ranging from 7-10 years, with a rabbit you can expect a long relationship
  • Rabbits are popular with children due to their iconic floppy ears and super-soft fur


  • You need to have enough room in your home for their cage, as rabbits kept as pets need to be kept indoors versus outside
  • To ensure that your rabbit is socialized and acclimates to people you will need to pet your rabbit regularly and take it out of its cage. You will need to have enough time to care for your rabbit.
  • Rabbits require fresh vegetables to provide to their sensitive digestive system. You will need to have time to prepare their meals. It is not so simple as feeding a dog from a jar or bag.
  • Rabbits are not always the best idea for small children. Although they do well with older children, small children tend to be too loud and scare children who approach them in too wild of a manner.

So there you have it, a list of the best house pets besides cats and dogs that you can adopt. Hopefully, this guide has helped you narrow down which one of these pets would be right for you to bring home.

Avatar for Katherine Dyson

About Katherine Dyson

Katherine is the lead Staff Writer. She conducts in-depth research and interviews with industry experts in order to produce a wide range of content for the site. Her main role is to write helpful articles that aid people who are seeking to improve their indoor air quality and comfort. (See Full Bio)