In our Pros and Cons series, we weigh the advantages and disadvantages of important decisions that apartment dwellers are making every day.
For some people, apartment life might not quite feel complete without a pet. That said, the responsibilities involved in pet ownership can be daunting – and that’s before you factor in the many unique considerations that come with apartment life. Below, we weigh the pros and cons of having pets in an apartment.
Pros of pets in an apartment
People who live alone in an apartment may experience loneliness, especially during times when it’s best to stay at home. Pets may help to counter loneliness since their companionship, though not human, can take on the role of a best friend. Additionally, if you live in a pet-friendly building with many other pet owners or regularly walk your dog, you may find yourself meeting and befriending other pet owners in your area. Even just noticing that other residents in your apartment building have pets can make it easier to befriend these neighbors if you too have a pet.
If you can’t get out of your apartment much but find yourself easily bored, a pet can provide plentiful entertainment. Playing with your pets can help you pass the time when your other usual apartment activities just aren’t doing the trick. Pets can be just as entertaining for any guests who visit you too.
Get out (or stay in) and exercise
Some studies have correlated pet ownership with longer life expectancy, and others have shown that dog owners get more exercise than people who don’t own dogs since dogs must be walked several times per day. Pet ownership may thus prove especially healthy for you if you struggle to make the time to exercise or just find exercising in your apartment annoying. Additionally, if your apartment building has pet-friendly amenities or an outdoor area where pets are welcome, you may find that your pet helps you explore these common areas – and befriend your neighbors – more easily.
Cons of pets in an apartment
Lack of space
Pets require exercise and entertainment, and both of these needs may be hard to provide in small apartments where you struggle to make space for yourself. If you find it challenging to get proper exercise in your apartment, then you might find it just as tough to get a heart-racing game of fetch going for your dog (especially a large dog) or provide your cat with enough space to go chasing after toy mice or yarn balls. And if your apartment lacks outdoor space, you may not have the option of letting your dog out quickly for a bathroom break instead of committing to a full-on walk. A lack of indoor space can also make storing pet supplies, toys, and food more difficult.
Challenges with apartment hunting
With a pet in tow, finding a new apartment can become significantly more challenging. Not nearly all landlords will allow pets, and those who do may also charge you an extra one-time pet fee or monthly additional pet rent. Additionally, if you need an apartment with access to pet amenities such as dog-washing stations, your apartment hunting options may prove limited (and likely more expensive).
More expenses and responsibility
Owning a pet means taking care of it, and taking care of your pet means not just feeding it and caring for it, but paying for food, toys, pet furniture, vet bills, and other pet expenses you wouldn’t otherwise have to worry about (plus, for cats, cat litter). If you travel for extended periods and don’t have roommates to watch over your pets, you may also need to pay someone to take care of them in your absence. And if your pets experience medical emergencies, paying for their healthcare can make an instant, large dent in your budget.
Do you have pets in your apartment? Why or why not? Share your thoughts in the comments.