Animal adoption saves lives. Between 20 and 30 percent of dogs and cats are adopted from shelters, according to the ASPCA. These lucky pets get a new lease on life, but what about their smaller counterparts?
Most people think of pet stores when they decide to add a ferret, chinchilla, guinea pig, rabbit, hamster, gerbil, mouse, or rat to their family. They don't realize that many animal shelters handle pocket pets and that there are many other adoption sources.
01 of 04
Craigslist and Other Classified Sites
Most people think of Craigslist as a place to find cars, furniture, and apartments, but it has a thriving category for pet rehoming, too. Sure, you'll find lots of cats and dogs, but there are plenty of pocket pets among the listings.
If you're looking for a rabbit, guinea pig, ferret, or even smaller animals like rats, mice, gerbils, and hamsters, check out Craigslist and other online classified ad sites. If you have pet stores in your area, you'll have unwanted animals bought on a whim and owners desperate to rehome them.
One advantage of getting your pocket pet on Craigslist is that it might come with all its supplies.
Beware, however, that although the terms of service forbid breeders and sales, many pose as people trying to rehome accidental litters. You can usually spot them when you're aware of this tactic.
02 of 04
Small Animal Rescues
You may already know that you can adopt certain cat and dog breeds through dedicated rescues, but many people don't realize that rescues also exist for guinea pigs, bunnies, and other small pets.
These rescues often list adoptable animals on www.petfinder.com. Just select "Small and Furry" to see them. Depending on your area, you'll find everything from hamsters to chinchillas. Your local pet store might also know of small animal rescues since some work with these organizations doing in-store adoptions or education days.
When you adopt from a small animal rescue, you have reasonable assurance that your new pet is healthy and that it's been properly sexed. It's hard to tell males from females in some pocket pet species, so you could end up with babies if you adopt a mis-sexed pair.
A small animal rescue will also educate you on things you might not know about caring for a particular species. For example, most pet store cages are too small for animals like guinea pigs and rabbits, and they need hay and vegetables to stay healthy. A reputable rescue makes sure you have all the knowledge you need when you adopt your new pet.
03 of 04
You might be surprised to learn that animal shelters and animal control facilities often get in pocket pets. Exasperated pet owners often do not know what to do with his chinchilla, ferret, or guinea pig but remember that the humane society has a shelter in town, so they head over and drop off the animal.
You potentially save an animal from being euthanized when you adopt from a shelter since most have limited space and too many pets being dropped off.
Educate yourself about the species you wish to adopt if you opt for a shelter animal. Shelters are used to cats and dogs, but many have little knowledge about pocket pets.
04 of 04
Some pet stores offer adoptions of unwanted rats, mice, gerbils, hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits, and other small critters.
You may get some free supplies if you do a pet store adoption.