For as long as there’s been an internet, there have been cute/funny animal pics. Over the decades, the retro lolcats of the 2000s have naturally evolved into animals who are social media megastars. Cats, dogs, pigs and all sorts of other creatures have been gaining the kind of fame that most human influencers can only dream of, on both Instagram and TikTok.

Many of these animals are beautiful pedigree pets, but in a world where millions of cats and dogs are abandoned in shelters, social media users love to see rescued animals too.

Here are some of our favourites.

Maggie the Wunder Dog- Instagram

Obviously, Maggie had to come first on the list, because of her handle. A blind, one-eared, cute as hell, life-affirmingly happy therapy dog who lives in Brighton, England. This beautiful girl came from Lebanon and was shot and lost her eyes and one ear before being fostered and then adopted by Kasey Carlin, who has other disabled dogs, including Millie. The current ‘girl group’ line-up of four fosters and rescues have seven ears, five eyes and 12 legs/four wheels between them, but enough joy for 10 lifetimes.

Don’t Stop Meowing: Chase, Millie, & Skye- Instagram & TikTok

These three are all rescues that were nursed back to health as kittens, or in the case of Chase, bottle fed as a tiny, abandoned two-week old. Skye was hit by a car and Millie was attacked by another animal and lost her eye. Their owners give them a loved and pampered life and have crafted a hilarious TikTok feed – so you get a double dose of cuteness and on point comedy.

Nala- Instagram & TikTok

Owner of the Guinness World Record for most followed cat on Instagram, Nala is now an older lady at 10 and creates lot of content about caring for creaky senior cats. But that just proves you don’t have to be a Gen Z in cat years to be a massive influencer. She does have very short legs, and everyone knows stumpy-legged sausage dogs are very popular so perhaps that’s the secret of Nala’s success? Her owner is always keen to stress that not all kittens grow up to be small and cute cats, and works to raise awareness of spaying and neutering, as well as adopting in general.

Juniper Foxx- Instagram & TikTok

Juniper and her friends (one dog – Moose, four other foxes, two sugar gliders and an opossum) are Instagram-famous from way back, and now have even more followers on TikTok. These guys are all either saved from certain death in fur farms or descended from animals in captivity and adopted from shelters, rescued from poor living conditions, pet shops or conventions. Their owner Jessika works hard to dispel the myths that foxes or other exotics should be sold as regular pets. They’re unbelievably photogenic but also unbelievably hard work. And, according to Jessika’s posts, very stinky.

Prissy Pig- Instagram & TikTok

Prissy and Pop aren’t rescues themselves, but they use their considerable power and influence (nearly 1m followers across Instagram and TikTok) to raise awareness of their owner’s farm animal rescue Helping Hooves. So there’s one account filled with unreal pigs in costumes and another more unpolished feed of cute pigs, horses, donkeys, cats, dogs and even cows. Basically, it’s a fix of every kind of rescue animal, unless you’re into birds or reptiles. In which case, read on.

Gotcha the Cockatoo- Instagram & Youtube

Gotcha is a 16 year old cockatoo with over 300k YouTube fans. He’s got better chat than many humans (and strong opinions on all sorts). He was rescued from neglect and mistreatment by Letty, who says it was like, ‘adopting a two-year-old toddler that doesn’t grow up or move out when they turn 18’. She’s keen to educate their followers, because parrots are a massive commitment, far outliving other pets with their 80+ year lifespan. Contrary to how they’re usually portrayed, they also don’t do well in cages, and need much more interaction and care than many realise. At least you’d never be short of someone to talk to or, if they’re like Gotcha, argue with for the rest of your life.

Amanda Foley- TikTok

She’s not an animal influencer with a formal human name, but a 21-year-old reptile rescuer who rehomes snakes, crocodiles, frogs, lizards, tarantulas, scorpion and more. She also does tattoos and piercings on the side because she’s clearly a superwoman. Add in lots of educational TikToks about how to care for these creatures, why she loves them and how they’re definitely not for everyone, and her feed is interesting, if a little anxiety-provoking at times.

@amanda6f

Just got back from my trip! Will resume posting as normal. I’ll be posting about my trip once I edit 😅 #snake#reptiles#lizard#retic#burm#rescue#pets

♬ rhinestone eyes slowed by gorillaz – cinemaexp

Pink Piglet Puppy- Instagram & TikTok

Neither a piglet, nor even a puppy any more. He’s a deaf and blind dachshund and chihuahua mix, rescued from a hoarder’s house. His mission is to promote the Piglet Mindset: acceptance, inclusion, empathy, and kindness – regardless of looks, abilities, and disabilities. He literally gives lessons on this. If that wasn’t enough, he’s also got an amazing selection of colourful and cute fits. What a tiny legend.

Stryker the Cat- Instagram & TikTok

Stryker is a drop-dead beautiful F1 Savannah cat – a cross between a domestic cat and a wild Serval cat, so he’s quite exotic looking and has wild characteristics. He was rescued from a small cage and now lives the life of a huge TikTok influencer, eating a lot of raw chicken and, in true 2020s style, has also got into the crypto game with his own NFT. His owners have pledged a massive portion of the proceeds to the Zoological Wildlife Foundation in Florida.

Arrow- Instagram & TikTok

To be clear – the order of this list is no indication of each animal’s overall awesomeness, otherwise there’s no way Arrow would be on the end. Being kicked in the face as a pup and losing part of his jaw hasn’t dimmed his crazy enthusiasm for life (or ability to eat or drink, albeit messily). This good boy has the most ridiculously sweet face and his owners constantly raise awareness for the California rescue they got him from.

The message that everyone can take from this is ‘adopt don’t shop’, and then get your phone out and propel your ugly-cute critter to super stardom. For the good of unloved and unwanted animals everywhere.

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