List of Pets

various animals

While dogs and cats are the most popular pets, there are so many other animals that you can adopt. What is the best pet for you? You know all the benefits of having a pet. You’ve got what it takes to be a human for a pet.  You have thought about what you are looking for in a pet. Now it’s time to investigate different types of animals that are pets and you can decide which one is right for you.

Here is a list of many types of pets people may have in the city. I’m not including pets like horses because they require so much space and need to be boarded in stables. This isn’t practical in the city, although you can live in the city, board your horse somewhere rural and visit your horse frequently.  The horse is not really a city pet then. I'll be discussing some types of pets that are considered exotic  pets.  Some of these might be appropriate to adopt in the city.  A hedgehog or degu might be an example of that. I would discourage people from adopting other pets such as prarie dogs,  tenrecs, and fennec foxes.

One thing you must be aware of is laws regarding owning a pet in your city. For example, many cities require dogs to be licensed and on a leash when they are outside. Some pets are ok to have in some cities, and other cities prohibit them.  I can own a pig in my city, but pigs are outlawed in many areas. I checked before I got my pigs. For more information about legal issues about pets in a city click here.

Four dogs peering over a wall. Photo by Edgar Daniel Hernández Cervantes: by Edgar Daniel Hernández Cervantes:


Dogs are one type of pet, but living with a Saint Bernard is different from living with a greyhound, or a chihuahua, or a labrador.

If you are looking for a puppy, you might have a little difficulty finding a rescue puppy. Puppies are not common as rescue pets, but with persistence, you'll find one. There are rescue puppies, they are just not nearly as common as older rescue dogs.  I once fostered a pregnant dog who had three puppies that were adopted once they were old enough. But rescue puppies are rare. 

The advantage of an older rescue dog is that it is already trained and you don’t have to deal with the chaotic puppy energy that so many really young dogs have. Click here for a more in-depth discussion of dogs breeds.

Cats playing on a cat tree structure. Photo by Arina Krasnikova: by Arina Krasnikova:


Cats are the second most popular pet in the U.S. and they are my favorite.  I think cats are really easy to take care of.  They just need food and water daily.  Some people leave a self-filling food and water dish available to the cat at all times, so the human doesn’t even need to feed the cat daily.  The litter box needs scooping daily, but that doesn’t take much effort either.  Some cats can be cuddly, but they tend to be pretty independent. Should you have an indoor-outdoor cat in the city? Click here for information about that.

One thing I learned fairly recently is that cat litter cleanings should not be flushed down the toilet. Some people say you can toilet-train a cat, but you really shouldn’t do that because cat dropping have toxoplasmosis in them that is difficult for municipal water treatment systems to adequately filter out, so it gets into the local waterways and can infect fish and other animals that drink or live in the water.  Also, the litter can clog up your plumbing.

Photo by Valeria Nikitina: by Valeria Nikitina:


From a tiny goldfish or beta fish in a small tank to tropical fish in a bigger tank, to large fish like sharks and beta fish in a wall-sized aquarium, you are sure to find a pet fish that fits your lifestyle and space. Fish can be incredibly relaxing to watch. OK, they are not going to be cuddly but you can train them to do tricks. But they add life and color to a room, no matter how many there are.  You can find out about different types of fish, what kind of tank and equipment you need, and how to keep your tank and fish well taken care of on other pages of this website.

Fish need good filtered water to live in and need their habitat cleaned regularly. Changing the water in your tank can be a delicate operation because many fish can’t take a change in temperature. They also need food and you can decorate their tank with all kinds of statures and plants. There are some fish, like catfish and algae eaters that will help clean the tank for you!

If you have a backyard, you can have a fish pond with koi or other larger fish or even frogs or turtles. You can winterize the pond so the animals survive the winter, even if you live in the north.

No backyard? You can even build an indoor pond. People have done it.

Fish that were in an aquarium in an office or restaurant that has closed down need to be rehomed.  This is in addition to housepet fish where the owner is no longer able to take care of them.  There are fish rescue organizations throughout the country.

A man with a rat on his shoulder Photo by Mateusz Taciak: by Mateusz Taciak:

Small furry

By small furry, I mean cute little mammals - hamsters, mice, rats, guinea pigs, rabbits, etc. Other, less common, small furries are chinchilla, degu, ferret, hedgehog, and prairie dog. You can click on each of these pet names to find out about their care. For general information about these small furry pets, click here.

The less common small furry pets are less common for a reason.  They can be hard to take care of, especially in a city. If you have an opportunity to adopt one of these less common pets, think twice. It can be really tempting to take in a cute little prairie dog if you see one that needs to be adopted. Just be aware that it is really difficult to care for them properly in a city. 

There are other animals that people keep as pets that are rare and probably would not do well in a city. I don't even have a page for their care on this website because I would really discourage people keeping these pets. Skunks require a lot of exercise and outdoor time.  They are great at escaping.  Domesticated skunks are usually descented and have pleasing personalities, but it is difficult to find the right food and veterinary care for them.

Tenrecs look very similar to hedgehogs, but they hibernate and so have special needs managing their hibernation.  Hedgehogs will curl up when they feel threatened and tenrecs will bite and attack.  They eat insects.

Other pets that some people have are anteaters, fennec foxes, raccoons, sugar gliders, and monkeys.  I wouldn’t recommend these pets in the city

A man holding a snake wrapped around his arm. Photo by MART  PRODUCTION: by MART PRODUCTION:


Reptiles can be great pets for someone who likes something a little different.  Most people don’t have allergies to reptiles, but they often carry diseases so you would want to wash your hands after handling them. Some reptiles require very little upkeep and can be great first pets.  Others are more complicated.

Reptiles might seem “cold-blooded” and unemotional, but many people who live with reptiles say they appear to enjoy human interaction and have a lot of personality. They can be very sensitive and get stressed out easily.  Heat and humidity requirements and dietary requirements vary between different reptiles.  Some prefer live prey to eat, like mice, which might cause problems for many people who don’t want to send cute little mice to their deaths.

Because they are cold blooded, they need to have the temperature in their habitat controlled.  Different reptiles have different needs for temperature, but most require a cool part of their cage and a warmer part of their cage, Some require extra light. Most require management of humidity as well as temperature.  You should have a thermometer and humidity monitor for your pet reptile to be sure you are providing the proper care.

Reptiles that are easy to care for include anoles, ball pythons, bearded dragons, various small snakes, various geckos, skinks, tortoises, turtles, and water dragons. You can get more information about each of these animals by clicking on their name.

Other common reptiles that people have as pets, but may require more care include Boa constrictors (or any constrictor), Burmese pythons, Caiman Lizards, Green Iguanas, Monitors, ChameleonsBasilisks, and Tegus. You can click on the names of any of these pets to learn more about them.

It is not recommended to have Gila monsters and Mexican beaded lizards as pets.

Photo by Pixabay: by Pixabay:


Amphibians are fascinating creatures. Having them as pets gives a city dweller a chance to observe nature inside their home.  Having a tank with frogs, salamanders, caecilians, or other amphibians can provide hours of exciting observations. They don’t tend to need a lot of care, but there are issues with having amphibians as pets.

Amphibians tend to have very sensitive skin and should not be handled.   Also, some of them secrete toxins from their skin. They might not be good pets for kids because of this.

You could catch a frog or a toad from a nearby habitat and keep it indoors.  Or you could find frog eggs and raise them into tadpoles and watch them turn into frogs. You need to be able to take care of these animals for the rest of their lives. They are not suited to be released into the wild after being in captivity.  They are probably immunocompromised or they may carry unfamiliar disease to the wild population. So releasing them into the wild could be bad news for the pet, for the surrounding wildlife, or probably both. Catching local amphibians can have a negative impact on you (if your new pet has a disease), the animal (if you can’t take proper care of it, and the area wildlife in general (if too many people remove animals from the wild, or if you decide you don’t want it anymore and release back outside).

The pet trade for these animals can be taking endangered animals from their natural habitat and could be contributing to making some of them extinct. Animals that are captured in the wild for the pet trade are often not treated well and get sickly.  Some pet traders raise amphibians in captivity, which is a little better. Hopefully, you would be rescuing an animal that is already a pet.

Releasing any pet amphibian, whether local or exotic, is illegal in most places.  The released animal can bring diseases to the local wildlife. Some released amphibians are invasive and will take over the area, crowding out the wildlife that is supposed to be there and upsetting the natural balance. It is illegal to even own certain amphibians in some places.

Amphibians generally need a warm and humid habitat.  Some live entirely in water, mostly on land, even in trees. Sometimes they like to burrow in the ground. You have to know where your pet lives in the wild and try to recreate that habitat in captivity. They eat insects or plants. Go to my amphibian page for more information about what types of amphibians people keep as pets and how to care for them.

woman with cockroach and spiderPhoto by MART PRODUCTION


You are not going to cuddle with your  arthropod pet, but you will have endless hours of fascination.  These little guys can’t be described as cute, but they are so interesting to look at.  There’s a certain “cool” factor, “ick” factor, and unique factor in having arthropods as pets

Many places ban having some of these animals as pets, so do your research about this before adopting them. Some of them are venomous, so be aware of that. It is usually pretty simple to make a good habitat for arthropods. Find out what arthropods are commonly kept as pets and what care they need.

Colorful birds in a cage. Photo by Cihan Yüce: by Cihan Yüce:


I love birds, but since I have cats, I am not comfortable introducing a bird to my home.  I have to be satisfied with watching bird youtube videos and visiting people who have birds. 

Birds are fantastic pets for apartment dwellers.  Birds don’t need much space or complicated care. Some can be quite noisy, so you would either need understanding neighbors, or get a bird that is more quiet. Some birds thrive on human companionship to the point where they will start being destructive towards themselves, their cage, or your home if they are left alone too much.  Others like humans, but can entertain themselves well, will be glad to have companionship of similar species birds, or really just like to be left alone. 

Kids and birds usually mix quite well so children will really enjoy their pet bird. Many birds can be trained to do cute tricks without a lot of effort. Some birds can mimic human words and that can be a real hoot! But just normal bird singing can be pleasant and uplifting to listen to. Most birds will be quiet if you put a cover over their cage to make it dark like night time.

bird finchesFinches

Much of the time birds can entertain themselves with bells, mirrors, paper, or other toys. You can hide treats for them to discover. They will usually need room to fly in their cage, and lots pf perches in their cage, in addition to free flying in the room. Most birds will need some time out of the cage to safely fly freely throughout the apartment, but some need this more than others. They also like a shallow pool to have a bird bath in. Some birds can be messy and throw seeds and paper all around, while others are neater. Birds should not be kept in a place where people are smoking. Also, don’t clip a bird’s winds - let them fly the way they should.

Birds will go through a molting phase. They shed their old feathers and make new ones. During this time they need lots of rest, food, water and a little more heat then usual. Each bird has a different length of time for molting and number of molts per year.

You should clean out the bottom of their cage daily. Their food and water should be kept up high so they don’t get dirty. Vet care for birds is minimal - they don’t need shots or yearly care like dogs and cats do. The other costs for their upkeep are also low - their food is inexpensive and their toys don’t need to cost a lot or you can make your own bird toys.

Some birds can have a very long lifespan, even longer than people.  They can be quite attached to their owner and would be sad if their owner passed on before them. With any pet that has a long lifespan, you would need to plan for what will happen to your pet if you are no longer around.

Remember that all pets are individuals. Just because budgies are a sociable breed that bonds with their humans, doesn’t mean that your particular budgie will be like that. So always get to know your individual adopted pet. That being said, go to my bird page to find out about traits of common birds that are pets. You can also keep chickens, ducks, and geese, if you have the space.

A girl in a barn door holding a chicken and the girl has a piece of hay hanging from her mouth.Photo by cottonbro studio: by cottonbro studio:


There are many barnyard animals that people keep as pets. Many of them just don’t work in the city.  Horses, sheep, goats, and cows need too much space than is practical in the city.  I’ve definitely considered adopting sheep and goats. The sheep are big, need company, poop a lot and that won’t work with me.  There are mini sheep, but I’ve never found them available on adoption sites. Goats…I’m afraid they would jump over my fence and start bothering my neighbors or get into a fight with the neighbor dogs. I’ve never heard of city dwellers adopting any of these barnyard animals.  If you know of someone who does this - let me know! I would love to talk to them!!

Pigs, chickens, ducks, and geese on the other hand, I know a lot about.  Right here I want to caution people about adopting pigs.  They don’t stay small and cute, they grow to be 100 or 200 pounds and they have behavioral issues.  Pigs are not legal to have as pets in many areas and people get their pet without knowing that and then have to get rid of their pig. Or move. Many rescues and sanctuaries are full of pigs needing a new home. Don’t contribute to this problem of pet pigs with no homes.

exotic pet leopard


Exotic pets are in the eyes of the beholder. What’s exotic to me might be pretty commonplace to you. I need to take my guinea pigs to an exotic pet vet, but guinea pigs are pretty common.  Some people consider anything besides dogs and cats and fish as exotic.  On the other hand there are many people who have really exotic pets. I think monkeys and tigers and some other pets fit into this category.

There are issues with having exotic animals as pets.  Many of them are not domesticated so they are ill equiped to share out city homes with us.  They can be bored, destructive, depressed, and aggressive because they are so confused.  Many of these animals are obtained from the wild in inhumane and unethical ways.  Some of these animals are endangered

Having an exotic pet can be really cool, but the animal suffers and putting that species in the pet trade is not good for the whole species because people are fickle. So many pets have been abandoned or mistreated by their humans.  Part of why I like to rescue pets, as opposed to getting them from the store or a breeder, is because of this suffering. Instead of creating a demand for a certain type of animal and creating a world where people buy pets only to often mistreat or abandon them, I want to create a loving home for a pet that is already here and needs care. If you have an opportunity to adopt a rescue exotic pet, think long and hard about if you have what it takes to be that animals caregiver.

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