Kids + Pets

Live in a no-pets apartment? 5 ways to get your animal fix in New York

By Virginia K. Smith  | October 9, 2015 - 8:59AM

Even if you've bargained  to the best of your ability, sometimes, you're going to wind up in an apartment that's a no-pets zone, whether you've got a stringent landlord, or a severely allergic roommate. But that doesn't mean you can't spend time with the city's animal population (and enjoy the accompanying mental health benefits, to boot). Below, outside-of-the-apartment options for walking and talking with the animals:

  • Head for the zoo. This one's an oldie but a goodie. And if you sign up for an id NYC card before the end of 2015 (tips on the process here), you'll get one year of free access to cultural institutions all over the city, including the Bronx Zoo and Wildlife Conservation Society, the Prospect Park Zoo, the New York Aquarium, the Central Park Zoo, the Queens Zoo, and even the Staten Island Zoo.
  • Volunteer. There are countless animals around the city in need of a home, and even if you can't offer up yours, you can volunteer your time walking dogs, spending time with other animals, cleaning up shelters, and more. To find volunteer opportunities in your neighborhood, the Mayor's Alliance has a list of shelters in all five boroughs here, and the ASPCA has tips on finding NYC-based volunteer opportunities here.
  • Become a pro pet sitter. As we've written previously, lot of New Yorkers are on the hunt for pro pet sitters (and house sitters) to keep an eye on their beloved pets when they go out of town. Often, you can find these gigs through house sitting websites, and you can also sign up as a sitter on, which connects owners with sitters.
  • Caffeinate at a cat cafe. One trend we can get very on board with: New York's slow adoption of Japanese-style cat cafes, which are exactly what they sound like. (Drink a cup, hang out with some cats, repeat.) Currently, there are two such options in the city: Meow Parlor on the Lower East Side, and Fort Greene pop-up the Cat's Meow, which is open through October 24th. (Note: Both cafes require advance reservations.)
  • Dog walking. One more way to make some four-legged friends and make money at the same time: Start a side-hustle as a dog walker, by signing up with sites like Swifto, NYC Dog Walkers, or Downtown Pets. (You can always offer up your services on Craigslist, too, or to friends gifted with both a pet and a pet-friendly apartment.) 


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