With property and rental prices quite high in most American cities, many of us are choosing to live in small urban apartments. These little homes deep in the concrete jungle are rarely endowed with much (or any) garden space. Devoid of outdoor space and with seriously truncated indoor plains (and often precious little headroom!), these puny palaces are usually not suitable for medium or large-sized emotional support animals. There simply isn’t enough room in a typically small urban apartment for a border collie or pot-bellied pig. Larger ESAs need room to stretch their legs, explore, and play, so it is morally reprehensible to keep them confined in a tight space. Luckily for people who live in small residences, there are plenty of very small emotional support animals who are well suited to tight-space living. Here is our list of five mini ESAs that can live comfortably in a small urban apartment.



Rats often get bad press, but on this website, we tend to sing their praises loudly from the rooftops! Rats are the most underrated ESAs on the scene. Sure, wild rats can get up to some naughtiness when they are forced to – as they regularly are when living in the wild and fighting tooth and nail to survive. But any creature (including humans) with its back against the wall would behave in similar ways. Domestic rats have all of the guile and intelligence of their wild cousins, but with none of the ferality or filth. Pet rats are super-smart, sociable, and extremely friendly. They love human company and will play for hours. And due to their tiny size, they are perfectly suited to living in a small urban apartment.

Moosh - ESA rat

Don’t believe the negative hype about rats – they make great ESAs, especially for those with limited space!


Geckos have tiny bodies but big mouths. You will usually hear a gecko before you see it! These tiny lizards love to use their vocal cords, clucking rhythmically and then announcing what they are – “Cluck, cluck, cluck, cluck, cluck… Gec-ko… Gec-ko!” Geckos provide the quintessential soundtrack to the tropics for many people. And now you can have a gecko at home in your small apartment, clucking and calling to its heart’s content. You can pretend you’re in warm, exotic Thailand, even as you try to ignore the icy rain rattling the weak windows of your downtown Cleveland hovel on a frigid Tuesday night in January. Geckos are one of the easiest reptiles to look after. They eat a simple diet of mealworms, cockroaches (so they should keep your hovel fairly free of those!), and crickets. They also enjoy human company, despite their cold blood and the vast distance that separates us from them in evolutionary space. A gecko can become a great (and very chatty) friend, and makes a suitable emotional support animal for a tiny urban apartment-dweller.


Named after the state in northern Mexico from which they hail, Chihuahuas are a tiny dog breed that can live comfortably as ESAs in miniature urban apartments. Chihuahuas weigh in at a dainty 4.5–5.5 lbs and grow to the grand height of 6–10 inches! Needless to say, they are cute, cute, cute, but they are also smart, vivacious and confident. Chihuahuas seem charmingly unaware that they are so small. They bounce around, confident and boisterous, as if they own the place! Chihuahuas are intelligent and social, and they enjoy human company. But they do not need huge amounts of exercise and are happy to expend energy playing and dancing around indoors, deep in the heart of an urban apartment building.

Moosh - chihuahua

A Chihuahua is the perfect ESA pal for apartment-dwellers.


Cats can be aloof from time to time, but that’s only because they are natural introverts. So never take their occasional reticence personally. A cat will make a loyal and loving friend for the long term. A cat will purr contentedly as you rub its belly for hours on end, repaying you with affection and company. Cats are low-maintenance emotional support animals. They are intelligent enough to learn to use a litter tray and they do not need to be walked. Cats are playful and intrepid and they get plenty of exercise jumping about, climbing and exploring the nooks, crannies, and hard-to-reach shelves of a small urban apartment.


The humble hamster is one of the cutest emotional support animals in the world, and they have been a favorite ESA choice for people in search of a small furry friend for a long time. Hamsters have big, innocent eyes, a diminutive snout, and a habit of clenching their delightfully tiny hands in front of their wee bewhiskered cheeks – and this combination makes them heart-meltingly adorable. Many people simply can’t help but burst out laughing, crying, or an odd mixture of both when they see one! Due to their tiny size, hamsters make absolutely appropriate ESAs for people who live in small urban apartments. They are friendly and sociable, but they do not need wide expanses in which to exercise, and can easily get all of their physical needs met inside the confines of a small home.