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10 Pets You Should Adopt, Not Buy

Melissa cares for a variety of exotic animals and has completed a certificate in veterinary assisting and a bachelor's degree in biology.

Many common species of pets, both domesticated and exotic, are over-bred because of the demand created by impulse buyers. That's why it's better to adopt instead of buy them.

Many common species of pets, both domesticated and exotic, are over-bred because of the demand created by impulse buyers. That's why it's better to adopt instead of buy them.

Why You Should Adopt a Pet

Caring for a pet is a big decision. Before you undertake this long-term commitment, make sure that you research, research, and research! Aside from this important aspect of pet care, please consider adoption for certain animals.

When it comes to keeping pets in an ethical manner, it is just as important to consider where you will obtain your pet as it is having the proper husbandry standards. Many common species of pets, both domesticated and exotic, are over-bred because of the demand created by impulse buyers. It is no coincidence that the top five animals on this list are considered invasive species in the United States.

This list only applies to animals in the United States, and not all regions may have certain animals available for adoption. Be sure to check for many adoptable pets in your region.

The talking parrot is a popular pet.

The talking parrot is a popular pet.

10. Parrots

Parrots require experienced bird/exotic pet owners. They are probably the most common relatively high-maintenance 'exotic' pet you can come across; so common in fact, they are often not even seen as non-domesticated animals. But all parrots are basically wild yet tame pets, and their owners face the same challenges as the unfairly stigmatized owners of less common exotic pets.

Because parrots possess absurdly long lifespans, even well-cared-for birds will end up in bird-specific rescues and shelters when they outlive their owners. A human only needs to be around 40-years-old for a macaw, African grey, or Amazon parrot to likely exceed their owner's remaining time if they are cared for appropriately and purchased at a young age.

Unfortunately, feather-picking is a common stress-induced response with certain captive parrots.

Unfortunately, feather-picking is a common stress-induced response with certain captive parrots.

Why You Should Adopt

If you have a decent understanding of a parrot's often overlooked requirements, such as extensive social stimulation, environmental enrichment, nutritional requirements for long term health (no seeds), and sunlight exposure, a rescued bird really needs you.

Bird-specific rescues are often very finicky in selecting adopters to take home their fostered birds, and perhaps this is rightfully so—birds, like many exotic mammals, experience a lot of stress when moved from the environment they were raised in.

Moving from one home to another is more emotionally difficult for certain animals, and stress can induce a compromised immune system. Knowledgeable bird owners with no specific preference for an uncommon parrot species or a hand-raised baby should check out local rescues for a possible avian match.

9. Starter Snakes

'beginner's snakes' are basically the species that most snake keeping novices start out with. When most people look into getting their first snake, they generally don't have requirements for uncommon or expensive species. Most people seek small colubrids such as garter snakes, corns snakes, king snakes, and typical larger easy-care species such as ball pythons and red-tailed boas.

Because of their popularity, they can be found in animal shelters. In the case of ball pythons, serious hobbyists produce hundreds of 'cheap' snakes in clutches hoping to hit the 'genetic lottery' and hatch out babies with recessive traits such as albinism and pied coloration. The other snakes in the litter are called 'normals' and are not so desirable. Despite all this, normal ball pythons are sold in chain pet stores for outrageous prices, while breeders are nearly giving them away (I acquired a normal ball python for free this way).

Why You Should Adopt

If you are looking to adopt a snake without specific preferences for the species or morph, it is likely that you can locate one for free (or near). Snakes are produced in high volumes and need caretakers (luckily, snakes are easy to care for and probably are the most space-efficient pet you can own, so keeping multiple snakes is not obscene). If there are no reptile rescues in your area, a good site to find adoptable snakes is or

8. Small Rodents

Small 'pocket pets,' hamsters, mice, rats, gerbils, guinea pigs and even lesser-known species like degus, fill animal shelters and rescues routinely. Why? They are typical 'throw away' pets that are sold in every popular chain pet store, which encourages impulse buys.

They are not very difficult to care for in terms of keeping them alive, but this ease of husbandry can often mislead people into thinking they won't have to involve themselves with these animals much, while the cages rapidly accumulate smelly urine and droppings (especially in the undersized cages they are normally kept in). Small children that rodents are often bought for also tire of these animals and they are commonly dropped off at shelters with little concern.

Why You Should Adopt

Before buying small pets from pet stores, be sure to check your local rescue to help alleviate the facility of increasing mouths to feed. Small pets usually have perfect pet quality (or at least anything you'd expect to get from Petco) and are not 'problem pets.'

7. Rabbits

Rabbits reproduce like, well, rabbits. And they are often bought for children like other small pets. An unfortunate trend involves them being purchased as exciting additions to Easter baskets, and they are often condemned to a small hutch in the backyard after the initial excitement wears off.

Rabbits are perceived as low maintenance animals, and are kept in unsuitably small quarters for their size. Rabbits are some of the most popular pets after cats and dogs and, assuming that they are not to be eaten, are overpopulated. Animal shelters that have dogs and cats usually have a rabbit or two available for adoption.

Why You Should Adopt

Rabbits are one of the most frequently surrendered small pet animals and since most people do not have breed preferences when searching for one as a companion, why not help your local pet shelter and search for your new friend there?

Some owners walk their ferrets.

Some owners walk their ferrets.

6. Ferrets

Most ferrets that you see being sold in pet stores come from Marshall Farms, a "commercial breeder of dogs and ferrets for pets and scientific research." The animals, as you may have guessed, are said to be raised in factory farm-like conditions. Ferrets from this large-scale breeder are said to be prone to certain illnesses.

Why You Should Adopt

Ferrets end up in shelters because many people do not anticipate their rather 'special' dispositions or their smell, which is often at its worse when the animals are fed low-quality commercial ferret foods. Adopt ferrets to offset the presence of the animals in shelters. If there are no ferret rescues in your area (some dog and cat rescues may get small animals in), while they are not generally thought of, some hobby breeders produce ferrets in a humane fashion and should be supported over the conditions at Marshall.

An adult red-eared slider.

An adult red-eared slider.

5. Red Eared Sliders

Red-eared sliders (and other water turtles) are common 'throw away' pets that are sold in stores and purchased by people who do not expect them to be high-maintenance pets. These turtles grow large, are messy eaters, and need plentiful swimming room. They are often sold as silver dollar-sized babies, and while turtles under four inches are illegal due to the outbreak of Salmonella resulting from small children putting the animals in their mouths, these animals are still available illicitly in some shops and even as prizes at fairs. Due to their size and messy eating habits, they require (but often don't receive) a very large tank or pond, around 55 gallons, with an external canister filter, and these can run upwards $200+.

Why You Should Adopt

There are far more turtles in the exotic pet trade than suitable owners for them. Ideally, the turtles should have a pond-like environment. Adopting turtles frees up more space at the shelters that rescue them, possibly providing an option for irresponsible owners to dispose of their unwanted pets instead of releasing them into the wild (which has led to an invasive species problem).

4. Horses

One trademark quality of most domesticated animals is ease of propagation, and horses are no exception. With the influx of backyard breeders, unwanted pre-owned pets whose owners are in financial straits, and even feral 'wild' horses that roam many parts of America from the far west to the beaches of North Carolina, horses are everywhere. The overpopulation of horses has led to great controversy on how to control them, and horse slaughter is a hotly debated topic that many find to be a cruel way to dispatch the unwanted equines.

Why You Should Adopt

Many horses reside in rescues, from non-rideable 'companion horses' to potential sporting show horses. The fact that there are so many unwanted horses that they may be sent to be brutally slaughtered should be enough incentive to rescue one. Since they are expensive to maintain, you would be contributing an immeasurable relief to a good cause by providing a home to these troubled animals instead of supporting their continued breeding.

3. Dogs

We all know that millions of dogs are euthanized each year in pounds and dog adoption is thankfully heavily promoted, so why are they only number three on this list? Because dogs vary tremendously, in size, demeanor, aesthetics, and suitability for certain lifestyles.

Unfortunately, many people prefer puppies, even though this stage lasts for a brief six months and isn't required for social imprinting, unlike with parrots. Eight-week old puppies of the more 'desirable' breeds are less common, and when they do arrive at shelters, are often adopted out immediately. If you really desire a specific breed and a baby, you would likely have to do some waiting or traveling. But most people feel the need to get purebred dogs because they feel they are supposed to, and I urge such families to think twice about that.

Many say that choosing a purebred dog is the right choice for most people because they have a good understanding of what the dog's personality will be like, but many shelter dogs, being already at an adult age, can give their temporary caretakers some idea of who they are. Knowing your dog's breed doesn't actually guarantee its behavior. Millions of successful adoptions taking place each year with owners proclaiming that they've found their irreplaceable best friend reveal the success of dog adoptions across the country, and a few purebred dogs are also available.

High-energy and special needs pure breeds are common surrenders.

High-energy and special needs pure breeds are common surrenders.

Common Purebreds in Shelters

  • Chihuahuas
  • Siberian huskies
  • 'Pitbull terriers' (and Staffordshire terriers, American bulldog mixes, etc.)
  • Border collies
  • German shepherds
  • Beagles
  • Labradors (due to sheer popularity)
  • Large black dogs (if you like black dogs, be aware that they are often overlooked and are in need of homes more)

For uncommon dog breeds, there are breed rescues, but be careful, they can be stingy or even elitist in their adoption standards.

By the way, do not encourage people to try to re-home puppies by adopting them from 'free to a good home' boxes. Displays like these are magnets for people with foul and sadistic plans for the easy to obtain animals.

A Siberian Husky rescue dog.

A Siberian Husky rescue dog.

2. Iguanas

Green iguanas are in a crisis situation as pets in the United States. Sold as small, cute, and seemingly innocuous juveniles, they are extremely cheap to purchase (about $15) and can be maintained in improper, inexpensive starter setups (20-gallon aquariums). But if they survive, they can grow up to 6 feet in length, and they absolutely require a large arboreal cage set up. An iguana in a 6x6 cage is not 'living in luxury,' this is the recommended minimum size, and some people prefer iguanas live in larger cages! Most iguana owners, and even halfway decent owners that care about their pet's welfare have enclosures that are the wrong shape, length, or don't provide multiple basking spots.

Why You Should Definitely Adopt

If you have the means to care for an iguana properly, please, please, please adopt only. Reptile rescues are overwhelmed with the commonly surrendered reptiles, and many even turn them away. There are probably far more iguanas than suitable homes available, and most households don't have the space for more than one iguana (many owners of multiple iguanas often 'bend' the recommended husbandry guidelines to accommodate this). Therefore, buying an iguana is not very ethical, and breeding iguanas has a drastic impact on this sad situation. What's worse, iguanas are an invasive species in Florida. Without a home, euthanasia is recommended if they are caught.

1. Cats

Cats are everywhere—millions of adults as well as babies flood animal shelters annually, strays, ferals, and all in between roam the streets, and people often let their unaltered cats reproduce so they can witness the 'miracle of birth' and raise cute kittens before dumping the litter on random strangers, the requirements for 'adoption' often being having a functioning pulse.

Once, a litter of black and white kittens showed up in my neighborhood. I worked with neighbors to catch them and adopt them out. It surprised me that people would be checking ads for cats when shelters are chock full of cats and kittens.

Why You Should Definitely Adopt

Why buy a cat? Animal shelters are always bursting at the seams with cats of different coloration, breeds, temperaments, and ages. Unlike with dogs, cats are generally very similar to each other, and unless you are seeking a canine-like hybrid Savannah cat, there is something for everyone at most reasonably-sized local animal shelters. There really is no way around it, buying or breeding a typical cat is highly unethical. Supporting people who carelessly allow cats to breed is also not a favorable way of obtaining a feline companion. You should support and reward the animal shelters that house these animals and desperately need to re-home their animals for a minimal adoption fee.

Adopting vs. Buying

Adoption is just a regular cycle in our cultural decision to maintain animals as companion pets. There will always be people who can't keep their animals and may have to use the essential service that dedicated individuals provide. Animal shelters, however, shouldn't be exhausted to the point that they have to turn away animals or euthanize them. So I do believe it is our obligation to adopt a pet if the species being sought is present in shelters in high numbers. When shelters are full or are euthanizing pets, that is a great sign that adoption is ethically mandatory.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

Questions & Answers

Question: I love reptiles and would love to get one. Where would you recommend adopting a snake or lizard?

Answer: Go to to see if any are listed for adoption in your area. Then search for local reptile rescues. They will likely be flooded with iguanas and other common reptiles.

© 2014 Melissa A Smith


human bean on February 29, 2020:

Ok so yeah in your replies to some of the comments you make good points but in the article but you are saying not to buy some amazing pet some people may not agree but the all make great pets I'm not trying to criticize or drown your point of view but i am a bit confused.

Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on March 17, 2019:

Catlover: I have over 10 animal species that aren't on this list.There's tons of kittens for adoption. People still sell cats in pet stores.

Catlover on March 17, 2019:

So basically, all pets.

While you make some good points about cats, when multiple cats are in the equation, there are socialization issues that need to be taken into consideration. Cats you already have might well accept a kitten when they would reject an adult. Even then, there are tons of free kittens out there.

On the other hand, it’s pretty uncommon to see anyone selling cars except to recover alteration costs, so it’s practically a given that’s you’re adopting if you’re not going for a specific breed.

Guinea pig lover on March 07, 2019:

I got g pigs adopted them from a breeder☺

Savanna H from Texas on August 20, 2018:

Very detailed article! Awesome job.

Trippie redd on April 03, 2018:

In illonios we have so many ilegal pets going around. How could i help?

Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on January 24, 2017:

Thank you DzyMsLizzy

Liz Elias from Oakley, CA on January 23, 2017:

This is an amazingly well-done article. You've covered all the important points, and I thank you for helping to spread the word. Interestingly, ferrets are not legal to own here in California. (That doesn't mean there aren't people who have them...)

I urge everyone to assist with local rescue groups whenever and however they can.

AP on May 24, 2015:

You're absolutely right about adopting parrots, but I'd like to note that parrots *don't* need to be obtained young for "social imprinting" any more than dogs do.

After my first lovebird, every parrot I've ever had has been adopted. The lovebird, who came from a local independent pet store and was likely raised by his parents, made a very poor pet. He absolutely hated being handled or cuddled and wouldn't fly to humans unless there was already a parrot on their shoulder. He also hated most of my other parrots, including the other lovebird, and would usually fly to your shoulder to attack the other bird.

All of my other parrots, including another lovebird, were adopted. The other lovebird hated being handled but would come to you and sit on your head or shoulder, while my other parrots loved being handled and cuddled.

It's truly amazing how many people get baby parrots and tire of them within a few months to a year. Mine were obtained through the newspaper classifieds around 3-4 years old (except the lovebird, who a friend gave me when she was five years old), and if you go on Craigslist, most of the birds being given up are two years old at the oldest.

The distressing thing is how many people I see giving up macaws and gray parrots. Bird rescues tend to be filled with macaws, since they're large, which means that they need a lot of space and a temperamental bird can inflict significant damage. I wouldn't adopt a macaw with the sweetest personality imaginable, simply because they're so large they're intimidating.

As for gray parrots: yes, they're good talkers. But they're some of the smartest parrots out there, which means that they're very demanding. I've never kept one myself, because they need a lot of space, a lot of toys, and a lot of time with their people. I've never met anybody who *didn't* work from home who had a gray parrot without behavioral problems.

I don't understand why anybody would buy a thousand-dollar animal (and grays and macaws almost always cost at least that as babies), without doing their homework into what that entails.

Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on October 03, 2014:

Thanks Anthony, I have too.

Anthony Altorenna from Connecticut on October 02, 2014:

Giving a good home to an unwanted animal is so worth while, and we've adopted several dogs and cats over the years. Admittedly, we've also purchased some of the animals listed here, plus goats and chickens.

Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on September 02, 2014:

Thanks aerospacefan.

John Lannoye from Chicago on September 01, 2014:

You made many thought provoking points here. I particularly liked what you shared about dogs!

Becki Rizzuti from Indiana, USA on August 24, 2014:

In Indianapolis, the House Rabbit society commonly has them, even if they have to bond them before releasing them for adoption. It's a good system, and their adoption fees are very reasonable.

Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on August 24, 2014:

Everyday Miracles, I never was aware of that. I'm not sure how common it is for pairs to be available.

Becki Rizzuti from Indiana, USA on August 24, 2014:

I'm in Indiana, and I have to say that there is an amazing local House Rabbit Society. You didn't mention it in your hub, but one of the best reasons to adopt any animal that does best in a bonded pair is that the shelters often have pairs that have already bonded. Rats, Rabbits, and some bird species do well in pairs and this is an ideal way to get a pair of (usually neutered) pets.

Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on August 06, 2014:

Me either, I stumbled upon it, and they are technically selling them, but it's a good idea to catch our unreleasable invasives to sell over shipping more of these iguanas into the pet trade from breeding farms.

Breck123 on August 06, 2014:

Wow, I never knew you could adopt florida iguanas....someday I'll have look into that. If only they did that for burmese pythons too.

Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on July 24, 2014:

Thanks Ann!

Ann1Az2 from Orange, Texas on July 24, 2014:

What a well researched hub! I really enjoyed the pictures, but the message is clear. We have way too many animals in the shelters and adoption helps. Until people start becoming responsible pet owners, we are going to continue to have these problems.

Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on July 20, 2014:

cathylynn99, erorantes, Better Yourself-- Thanks for the support and your comments!

DreamerMeg-- thanks for rescuing many cats and a dog. Pure breds can be found in shelters too!

Better Yourself from North Carolina on July 20, 2014:

Way to go on HOTD! So happy to see this topic get featured as Pet Adoption needs to be emphasized as often as possible! Well done and voted up!

DreamerMeg from Northern Ireland on July 18, 2014:

What a great hub! And how useful. Many people just do not know how big some of the more exotic species can grow. We never originally intended to keep a cat, but our first cat was a give-away from a friend of my father-in-law who was desperate to home out the kittens from her cat - we had our arms twisted! Our second was a similar case, but this time the owner said "You already have one kitten - it will be company". That was over 40 years ago and since then we have always had a cat, generally from rescue and one dog, who was also from rescue. She was a collie and a great dog!

Ana Maria Orantes from Miami Florida on July 18, 2014:

Congratulations miss melissaasmith for your hub of the day. It is a well done hub. I like it. I love animals. Some are a lot of work. Specially the horse. Horses eat a lot. Those that multiple fast make me laugh. Some are so cute. I like the pictures. Excellent job. My comment about the snake. I am scare of snakes.

cathylynn99 from northeastern US on July 18, 2014:

shared on facebook

Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on July 18, 2014:

VirginiaLynne, Thanks for commenting. I don't really support releasing non-native animals into the outdoors, but hopefully some can be adopted out.

PegCole17, RTalloni, My Bell thank you very much! I'm hoping this can spread some awareness on other pets aside from cat and dogs that shouldn't be purchased from stores.

Marcelle Bell on July 18, 2014:

Congratulations on this hub being chosen for HOTD (just had the pleasure of that myself)! I'm so happy that an article that helps animals is being promoted. I hope that many, many people read this and are mindful then when choosing a pet.

RTalloni on July 18, 2014:

Congrats on your Hub of the Day award for encouraging pet adoptions!

Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on July 18, 2014:

This informative article really pinpoints the causes and solutions of our pet population explosion. Your write up on the reasons people adopt, breed and discard their pets is incredibly sobering and true.

We live out in the country where people came for years to dump off their no longer wanted family members. It was heart breaking and I can attest that these domesticated animals will not survive on their own by hunting or ferreting for food. They will suffer unmentionable consequences of injury, disease, abandonment and neglect.

Nicely done, and congratulations on the HOTD award. Well-deserved for this cogent piece.

Virginia Kearney from United States on July 18, 2014:

You give a lot of good information about the different types of pets you can adopt. In my city, our animal shelters are aiming to become "no kill" shelters. They are doing that by encouraging everyone to spay and neuter their pets and by providing this free for many people (city grant and donations are funding it). Another idea I've heard of is people catching even wild cats and dogs and spaying or neutering before releasing.

Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on July 18, 2014:

janderson99-- I think I agree...

AnimalWrites-- I think so too, I think there should be a little process before living things are purchased, similar to what animal shelters do.

AnimalWrites from Planet Earth on July 18, 2014:

Most people should put more thought and spend more time doing research before they get any pet period. One of the reasons there are so many problems with invasive species is that too many irresponsible pet owners just ditch their latest animal toy when it gets to big, too expensive or too much trouble.

Adoption is a really good way to go. It happens a lot over here in the UK now too. The homes and prospective owners are vetted, the animals get all their vaccinations and health checks before they are released and they are neutered.

It is, unfortunately, too easy for irresponsible people to buy a pet in a shop or from an advert and then neglect them, mistreat them and ultimately dump them

Dr. John Anderson from Australia on Planet Water on July 18, 2014:

Guinea Pigs - The world most boring animal

Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on July 13, 2014:

thom w conroy- I think that picture might be jazzed up a bit, but they do have those colors.

My Bell-- Thanks, I mostly agree.

littlecat2013-- I guess that's true if you free-range them. I'd find a place to make a nice pen.

Raimer Gel-- You are right, unfortunately it is all too common.

Raimer Gel on July 12, 2014:

Owning a pet is like raising a child. Better be careful. You can't get rid of them whenever you lose interest in them.

Casey White on July 12, 2014:

I actually adopted a rabbit three years ago and think it's a shame when I see people buy them on a whim. Rabbits are actually very intelligent and I trained mine to use a litterbox like a cat, to obey commands like "come," and give him free reign of the house. A spayed/neutered rabbit can live up to 10 years. It's horrible how people buy them on a whim and don't really research them beforehand.

A rabbit isn't a low maintenance pet and can eat walls, cords, carpet, etc. and when this happens they get abandoned or kept in a cage where they live sad lives. My own rabbit is pretty bad and does some pretty naughty stuff to get people food. I once found him on the kitchen table stealing Oreos. He hoped on a chair then the table to get them. They are cute but can be as much work as a cat or dog and I hate to hear about people buying them then mistreating them because they didn't do research and just thought they were cute.

Marcelle Bell on July 12, 2014:

Thank you for posting this Hub. I'm a huge animal lover! We adopted a dog from our local shelter a few years back and she had thanked us every day - she is the best dog! Please all adopt animals rather than purchasing them from pet shops or other places where you don't know where they've come from - maybe puppy mills or worse. There are so many animals that need good homes available for adoption.

thom w conroy on July 12, 2014:

Wow! I never realized the red eared turtles are that beautiful when fully grown.

Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on July 11, 2014:

Thanks SixIRISHKids.

SixIRISHKids from USA on July 11, 2014:

Thinking about adopting pets is so important. Many people do not think about the work involved and how you will wind up treating the animals. We are fans of German Shepherd's, but be prepared to handle their puppy behavior for the first year of their lives. Secondly, they really come into their full blown personality by the age of 2-3 years old. They are a loyal family pet, but not necessarily people friendly. We found the white German Shepherds to tolerate people more than others. Love them & will work with these dogs for life. Thanks for sharing!

Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on July 10, 2014:

Thanks Ariel-Cal.

Evelia Veronica Rivera from Bridgeport, CT on July 10, 2014:

voted up!

Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on July 10, 2014:

I'm a little more lenient with other animals but I am completely in awe that some people don't adopt cats, WriterJanis. There's just way too many of them in shelters. They even beat out iguanas on my list and I am rabid when iguanas are bought or purchased.

Janis from California on July 10, 2014:

This is currently kitten season and in many rescue shelters, they no longer have room to take in homeless felines which is why when looking for a cat or kitten, adoption is so important.

Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on July 08, 2014:

Frida Nyberg, thanks, I think that is an issue with most pets. I just realize that once I reach a certain age, any youngish parrot I get will definitely outlive me if it doesn't die prematurely. This sadly means that either the birds must be dying prematurely if they don't exist in rescues, or hopefully, they are re-homed with friends or family. The sheer amount of birds being hatched annually suggests there should also be many retirees, but where are they? The education against seed-based diets will hopefully extend their lives in captivity.

Frida Nyberg from Sweden on July 08, 2014:

Very valuable article. I haven't read all of it yet though, but I have to say one thing about the parrots: MOST, and I do repeat, most, most and most parrots never get to outlive their owners.

They get rehomed every few years or so (sometimes months) because their owners just can't take their natural behavior anymore.

Things like screaming (they do this naturally to communicate over vast distances with their flock mates, plus they love their own voices), biting and attacking (to defend their territory and mate, which often is a human - and often the mate is actually the one being attacked), pooping everywhere, destroying EVERYTHING (they are extremely inquisitive and equipped with something in between a nutcracker and a billhook - oh, it also has a built in megaphone), and flying around everywhere (don't clip their wings, it handicaps them and is just cruel).

So I'll be very surprised if you walk into a random parrot rescue and find a parrot who's been with one owner for 30-40-50 years and it's there because the owner died. It does happen, but it is extremely rare. Most people just can't handle a parrot, and would be better off with a hamster or a goldfish. (If even that.)

Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on July 07, 2014:

Thanks belleart.That's a shame about the rabbits.

belleart from Ireland on July 07, 2014:

Brilliant hub. I completely agree, pet shops are a devastating aspect of society, breeders and even shelters care for the animals well being and want them to find good homes, Pet shops only care about making a profit. There's a pet shop in our town that literally has bran new baby bunnies every two weeks, and where they are going is beyond me. I live in a small town, there's just no way they are being sold to good homes.

As it is I have a bunny, from a breeder, about 4 years ago and she was definitely more work than I originally thought, we got rid of her hutch and let her wander the house at her own leisure 2 years ago. She needs a lot of attention and love, but she's the best little bunny. And much happier since we let her free in the house. They are definitely not cage animals.

Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on July 07, 2014:

Thanks Eiddwen, luckily adoption is advocated for dogs and cats but not so much for some other species.

Breck123-- Keep up the good work. Why you don't have proof cats did that they are likely the culprit since they tend not to eat their kill. Terrible.

tirelesstraveler--Thanks a lot! Some rescues have high adoption fees if that's what you're referring to. My dog had a $225 fee. I wish some rescues would cut back on this for the dogs and cats that are hardest to find home for, BUT, cheap pets are a problem, such as I've mentioned with iguanas (illegal in your state). Their cheap price makes them typical throw away pets and people don't want to spend the needed $800 starter price on an inexpensive animal. It is very expensive for the animal shelters to take in animals so the adoption fee is not asking a lot, in my opinion. Other shelters might have invasive practices such as home visits, which I can understand is bothersome. I still say that they are worth the aggravation for a lifelong pet.

Judy Specht from California on July 07, 2014:

Your use of pictures is great,

It costs a fortune to adopt pets in California.

Breck123 on July 07, 2014:

Great hub. Cats especially should be adopted. The local shelter in my area is like 70% cats. They are way too over-bred. You also mentioned feral cats. My neighbourhood has a small pack of them roaming around, and ever since they appeared, I noticed that all the chipmunks and squirrels seemed to disappear, and I rarely heard songbirds in the morning. When I'm out walking I'll see the bodies of mangled rodents and toads. This has lead me to try and trap them and send them to the local shelter, but so far that has not worked.

Eiddwen from Wales on July 07, 2014:

A brilliant hub Melissa and I hope many take heed. So many dive into bringing in a pet to the family without knowing hardly anything about them. A great read.