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Top 7 pets to keep when living in a condo besides cats and dogs


Having big furry animals in your high-rise condominium may be a big no-no, but keeping small animals as pets is definitely allowed. From fishes to hamsters, let’s take a look at what are some of the best pets to keep in your unit. 

Living in a high-rise building has its perks – low maintenance, plenty of facilities and amenities for you to enjoy, lower utility fees and greater security. However, if you’re a pet lover, then we’ve got some bad news for you. Even though you’re allowed to keep pets in your condo or apartment unit, there are rules to be followed.  

Are pets allowed in condominiums in Malaysia?

Under the ‘By-Law 14 in the Third Schedule of the Strata Management (Maintenance & Management) Regulations 2015’, there is a provision for pets to be kept in a highrise residence unless they are a threat, cause annoyance or are a nuisance or a health hazard to other residents. 

There is also a law enacted by Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) that you’re only allowed to keep small animals in high-rise buildings. So dogs like Golden Retrievers and German Shepherds are not allowed. 

If you want to know more about keeping pets in condominiums or apartments, check out this article for more info about keeping pets in a highrise residence

? Find out how to get rid of fleas on dogs and cats here.
? Here are the top 10 non-toxic indoor plants for cats.

What is the best pet to have in an apartment?

As a result of the ruling, you’re restricted to only a handful of small animals. If you’re an animal lover and pining for some company during the lockdown, don’t worry, we’ve listed down some of the low-maintenance pets you can keep in your unit. 

Tip: Instead of buying a new pet, you may opt to adopt one at some of the pet adoption centres in Malaysia!

1. Rabbit

© Pavla Žáková | 123rf

Forget about cats and dogs, if you want a social animal that will keep you company, get a rabbit. Out of all the species of rabbits you can find in the world there are almost 50 types of rabbits people keep as pets. And the three most popular types in Malaysia are Holland Lop, Netherland Dwarf and Mini Rex. 

Fun fact: There are a total of 305 breeds of domestic rabbits!

Another reason why we love having rabbits? They’re small, can be litter-box trained and they don’t make any noise. You can keep them in a cage, build a pet house for them or let them roam free in the house so that they get some exercise done. But be warned, these furry creatures like to dig and chew. So if you have a piece of brand new furniture at home, better bunny-proof it before it gets ruined. Rabbits also prefer to be in cooler temperatures, so keep them out of the balcony at noon to avid getting heatstroke. 


LENGTH: 23 cm – 43 cm
WEIGHT: 1 kg – 7 kg
LIFESPAN: 10 to 20 years
DIET: Vegetables


  • Cages are easy to clean
  • Very loyal 
  • They’re sociable and need to be held often


  • Will chew and bite anything and everything
  • Can’t be exposed to an environment that’s too hot or too cold
  • They poop a lot in a day, cages need to be cleaned constantly

2. Hamster

© Olena Kurashova | 123rf

Growing up, we’re sure you’ve either had a pet hamster or know someone who had a pet hamster at home. It’s common to have a hamster as a pet as they’re extremely easy to care for. They’re quiet, easy, no fuss pets and they don’t shed any fur. They can also live independently. Just give them a cage, fresh water supply, hamster food, absorbent bedding and a hamster wheel for them to play and you’re done. 


LENGTH: 5 cm – 15 cm
WEIGHT: 0.2 kg – 4 kg
LIFESPAN: 2 to 4 years
DIET: Water and hamster food


  • Doesn’t take up space
  • Quiet
  • Doesn’t need a lot of commitments
  • Easy to maintain


  • Very delicate
  • Destroys furniture and cables by chewing on them

3. Guinea pig

© Mary Swift | 123rf

Despite sharing a common name, guinea pigs do not originate from Guinea and no, they’re not related to pigs either. They’re actually a type of rodent. A soft rodent creature that craves love and attention. As with hamsters, people like having them at home because they’re low maintenance. You can keep them in a cage with all the essentials like bedding, food, water – and they’ll be fine. But they do like to be out in the open once in a while to socialise and play with you. 

Another important thing to note: They don’t like to be alone so having one at home is not ideal. If you want to keep guinea pigs at home, it’s best if you have at least two. And it’s important to neuter them to avoid any aggression within the group, reduce risk of disease, increase lifespan, make them calmer and to stop them from reproducing.


LENGTH: 20 cm – 25 cm
WEIGHT: 0.6 kg – 1.1 kg
LIFESPAN: 4 to 8 years
DIET: Hays, pallets, treats, vegetables and fruits


  • Doesn’t occupy big space
  • Doesn’t make loud noises
  • Lives longer than other types of rodents
  • Easy to maintain


  • Very fragile
  • Needs constant supply of vitamin C 
  • Their smell can be unpleasant

4. Ferret

© Rashid Valitov | 123rf

Don’t fancy having a rodent at home? How about ferrets? They are members of the weasel family and they are very playful, perfect for those who are looking for an animal with high energy. Ferrets are also highly intelligent and sociable, but they’re also known for their mischievous behaviour. So if you do decide to bring a ferret home, make sure to ferret-proof your space to prevent them from hiding in dangerous spots that would harm them, like in the microwave. 

Though they can be very active, they also need a lot of sleep. Like 18 hours of sleep or more. They will play with you for an hour or so, then they will retreat back to their bed and snooze until they replenish their energy. If you’re worried that you need to leave for work after the lockdown is lifted, don’t worry, you can leave this pet at home because they’ll be sleeping most of the time anyway. That being said, ferrets are considered high maintenance as they need to be fed three to four times a day. And because of that, you need to clean the cage regularly too. 


LENGTH: 33 cm – 40 cm
WEIGHT: 0.7 kg – 2 kg
LIFESPAN: 5 to 10 years
DIET: Meat or animal products that are typically high in protein and fat, and low in carbohydrates and fibre


  • Loves playing games
  • Often trained before they’re sold
  • Easy to maintain because they sleep most of the time


  • Will take every opportunity to escape from the house
  • Doesn’t like being around other animals 
  • Has a distinct odour 
  • High maintenance

5. Fighting fish

© Anurak Ponapatimet | 123rf

Also known as betta fish, they are some of the most gorgeous-looking fishes out there. They come in a plethora of colours and they’re among the least demanding fishes to care for. To set up an aquarium for your fighting fish to live in, you need a five-gallon fish tank, which is approximately 40 cm x 20 cm x 25 cm. This size makes for a perfect footprint for those with limited square footage but still want an aquarium at home.

Fighting fish are better kept alone. If you put two in the same tank, they can be aggressive towards each other, hence the name. If you don’t want your fish to be lonely, you can add other species of fish to the tank. Betta fish prefer living in warm temperatures (25 to 30 degree Celsius), so keep the water temperature steady throughout. The only maintenance you need to do is cleaning the tank. Replace 15% of the water each week and the fighting fish will adorn your apartment with its beautiful presence. 


LENGTH: 7 cm

LIFESPAN: 2 to 5 years

DIET: Insects or fish pallets


  • Low cost and low maintenance
  • Doesn’t take up space
  • Can be left home alone
  • Beautiful to look at


  • Need to clean the tank regularly
  • Doesn’t mix well with one another
  • Requires a daily feeding

6. Gecko 

© belizar | 123rf

Some people may feel grossed out by this, but if you’re the type of person who loves having reptiles as a pet, you can start with a gecko. Part of the lizard species, there are approximately 1,600 species of them roaming on Earth, but the ones that are popular among homeowners are leopard geckos, crested geckos, bearded dragons and anoles. They’re also easy to take care of. 

Geckos are docile and tame in nature, and they are easy to get along with. In terms of care, you don’t have to worry as they also belong to the low-maintenance category. House them in a 15 to 20-gallon tank and they’ll live just fine. But don’t crowd them all together. One tank should fit only two to three of them. 


LENGTH: 16 cm to 20 cm
WEIGHT: 60g to 90 g
LIFESPAN: 15 to 20 years
DIET: Crickets, wax worms, and mealworms


  • Reserved, quiet and tend to stay in the tank
  • Doesn’t need to be fed often (adult geckos can be fed 6-7 large crickets or mealworms 2 to 3 times a week)
  • Suitable for people with allergies


  • Need to set up a terrarium before bringing it back
  • Most geckos don’t reciprocate your love and affection
  • Needs suitable decorations, hiding places and a separate water dish for bathing or soaking

Read more: If you can’t stand seeing lizards at home, then you might be interested in reading this article: 12 ways to remove lizards from your home permanently

7. Tortoise

© kawing921 | 123rf

Another popular and cute pet to have in a small home is: the tortoise. Tortoises are shy, quiet and docile, making them the perfect companion for those who are looking for low maintenance pets. However, they can be aggressive if you put two male tortoises in the same enclosure. They might even attack and cause injury to one another. 

Tortoises can grow up to 1.2 metres in length – depending on the species – so you’ll need a fairly large tank or terrarium to keep them in. Try to not put them in the same tank as your beloved fishes as they love chomping on fishtails. They also love to bask in the sun and breathe in the fresh air, so don’t forget to bring them out. 


LENGTH: up to 1.2 m (depending on the species)
WEIGHT: up to 200kg
LIFESPAN: 80 to 150 years
DIET: Fresh vegetables and fruits


  • Not demanding, easy to care
  • Can be with you for a long, long time
  • Doesn’t shed
  • Odourless and easy to clean after them


  • Lives a long life, can be a huge commitment
  • Adult tortoises need huge living spaces

8. Sugar Glider

© eugenesergeev | 123rf

Sugar glider has been gaining popularity in recent years thanks to its cute, cuddly and sociable nature. Native to Australia and parts of Indonesia, these marsupials share similar physical traits with squirrels — grey fur and black markings. What distinguishes them from the nut-eating Sciuridae is their gliding membrane that extends from the front to back limbs. These “wings” help them to travel from one tree to another without getting spotted by predators.

Fun fact: The Latin name for sugar glider is Petaurus breviceps, which means “short-headed rope dancer”.

Though they are friendly and playful, they do need someone to tame them. And because sugar gliders are sociable animals, housing a glider can lead to loneliness. Best if you could keep more than one glider in a flight case. Speaking of the cage, they need ample space for exercise, so a recommended size for the enclosure is 60 cm (width) x 60 cm (depth) x 90 cm (height). But of course, bigger is better. When shopping for a cage, remember that height is more important than floor space cause they’ll need the space for gliding.


LENGTH: 12 cm – 16 cm
WEIGHT: up to 120g
LIFESPAN: 10 – 15 years
DIET: Nectar, tree saps, fresh fruit, insects, and small birds or rodents


  • Has longer life expectancy than most pocket animals
  • Very playful and active. Can bond well with owners.
  • Can clean after themselves


  • Sleep during the day and only active during the night
  • Don’t like to be alone, prefer to have other sugar gliders around 
  • Don’t interact well with other types of animals
  • Can be hard to train

These are only a handful of small animals that you can keep as pets in your high-rise buildings. The most important thing is to find a pet that you want to keep, research on how to take care of it and provide love and care for your newfound friend.

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