Other than your run of the mill (but never from a puppy mill) dogs and cats, there are a multitude of different animals that are looking for loving, forever homes. These little guys and girls can be furry, feathery, or even fluffy and they make our lives so much richer. They are a light in our lives against the hum-drum of the day to day grind and help to make each new day fun and exciting. They are also great for young kids who are taking on more responsibility or even an older couple who are looking for a low maintenance animal to care for now that their kids are grown and out of the house.

Next time you’re thinking of adopting or rescuing a new animal, give the following six animals a second thought and see where your path leads, as these underrated companion animals would love nothing more than to entertain and love you unconditionally, while only asking for a few treats in return.

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1. Rescued Ferrets

These little guys are vastly underrated. They are cute, playful, sociable, friendly, affectionate, intelligent, and won’t intrude on your naptime too much as they are quiet. A lot of good quality ferret foods have become more widely available to feed your furry friend and they can also be litter trained like the average cat. Exercise is fun for them, as they like to play with you, a fellow ferret, or going for walks. Yes, they even have little harnesses for strolls around the block. A few ferret rescue centers to check out are the American Ferret Association and the Oxford Ferret Rescue.

2. Rescued Birds

Birds are often relocated to shelters because the exotic allure wore off for their previous owners. The truth is, these companion animals are glorious and are never dull. Their brilliant plumage, lovely songs, and easy going nature make them the ideal animal if you don’t have a lot of space. Keep in mind that most places of residence that have a pet policy or pet deposit don’t consider birds to be in violation of their rules. So even if you can’t get a ferret for that new apartment, a bird could be possible. Check it out, do your research, then check your local shelter for a new feathered friend. Awesome bird rescues include  Crossroads Bird Haven and Feathered Friends Sanctuary and Rescue.

3. Older Cats and Dogs

Puppies and kittens are treated like royalty at the local shelter, while the older generation of dogs and cats are generally overlooked. Now is the time to reconsider. If you’re looking for a companion animal and are slightly nervous about the younger age of your prospective animal and the potty training issues, obedience training, and endless energy, an older dog or cat might be the right choice for you. In many cases, the on-going economic crisis has forced many homeowners to move to smaller places with a “no pets allowed” policy. This means, any pet they have given up, will be out of its adolescent stage, potty trained, and looking for love. Check out PAWS or The Oldies Club if you’re across the pond.

4. Pit Bulls

Pit bulls are in fact a misnomer for a lot of dogs out in the world. Pit bulls are actually a mix of a lot of different breeds and are individually classified. You can read about the differences here from ASPCA. These dogs have a bad rap for being aggressive and domineering, which, when you read about their breeding history, you understand. However, they are still one of man’s and woman’s best friends and should be showered with love in a good home where they can play and be silly with their humans like any other dog. Plus, they’re just so darned cute. Find yours through either the Pit Bull Rescue Central or Out of the Pits.

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5. Rescued Rabbits

Rabbits are awesome companion animals for those who have pet allergies. Many who are allergic to dogs and cats are not allergic to bunnies. They also have great superhero moves when they jump in the air with hop-spin kicks known as “binkies.” They work well with a vegan or vegetarian owner, as vegetables will readily be available in the house for your floppy-eared friend to crunch on. Plus, they’ll help keep you motivated. They are also most active at dawn and dusk so they’ll be ready to play when you get home from work. Check out these rescue organizations that are working magic with rabbits in their area: WildRescue, Inc and Rabbit Rescue, Inc.

6. Rescued Mice and Rats

Maybe you’ve got a friend who liberated these little guys from a lab or maybe your niece’s mouse or rat had babies and she can’t keep them all. Either way, you’re rescuing an awesome little friend. Sometimes, they are considered “disposable pets” by people and are left when the novelty has worn off, but they are extremely entertaining, low maintenance, and easy to care for. Sometimes, it’s also nice to know that there’s someone waiting for you at home after a long day at work. Even if it’s just that they need to be fed, it’s wonderful caring for something other than yourself and seeing the gratitude in their eyes. Take a peek at North Star Rescue and Rattie Ratz to get the ball rolling today.

Image source: John Mauremootoo / Flickr

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