About 6.5 million companion animals enter U.S. animal shelters nationwide every year. Of those, roughly 3.3 million are dogs and 3.2 million are cats. The good news is that these numbers are a result of a steady decline—according to ASPCA estimates, there were approximately 7.2 million dogs and cats entering U.S. shelters annually around 2011. And while 710 thousand animals who enter shelters as strays are returned to their owners, 3.2 million are adopted.

To help the latter figure grow even more, the subreddit r/BeforeNAfterAdoption urges people to share the amazing difference a loving family can make on an abandoned or mistreated animal. It has 360K members posting pictures that reveal the spectacular physical and mental transformations their adorable pets have gone through after leaving the shelter, and Bored Panda is ending this difficult year with some of the posts that went viral on the subreddit this December.

#1

Frankie Was Born With Four Ears And An Eye Deformity But He’s Still Purrfect

Frankie Was Born With Four Ears And An Eye Deformity But He’s Still Purrfect

reddit.com Report

Dhukath
Community Member
3 months ago

He is purfect!

View more comments

Remember, after you are done scrolling through the list, you can overload yourself with cuteness, firing up our earlier rescue pet photos from November, October, and September.

The coronavirus pandemic has affected lots of American animal shelters. "Since it began, COVID-19 has put an immense amount of strain on animal shelters across the country. Because this is an ever-changing situation, each shelter is facing unique challenges specific to its community,” Adoptions Promotions Manager at the ASPCA, Kelly DiCicco, told Bored Panda in an earlier interview.

#2

These Two Were Adopted 3 Years Apart From Different Cities. A DNA Test Revealed That They Are Long Lost Siblings!

These Two Were Adopted 3 Years Apart From Different Cities. A DNA Test Revealed That They Are Long Lost Siblings!

reddit.com Report

Dorothy Parker
Community Member
3 months ago

Wow wow wow wow wow.Goose bumps.

View More Replies...
View more comments

Emptying cages in 2020 had been especially important because many shelters have reduced staffing due to social distancing requirements—which has meant reductions or limits to the number and types of services offered to the public. "Additionally, shelters have felt the financial impacts of the pandemic, with reduced donations and an inability to host in-person fundraising events, which often play a key role in annual fundraising efforts," DiCicco said.

#3

The Day After My Cat Died, I Went To The Shelter And Told The Employee That I’d Adopt The Cat That Had Been There The Longest. She Said, “It’s An Older Black Cat... Are You Sure?” I Was Never So Sure Of Anything In My Life. Meet Dita Von Panzer

The Day After My Cat Died, I Went To The Shelter And Told The Employee That I’d Adopt The Cat That Had Been There The Longest. She Said, “It’s An Older Black Cat... Are You Sure?” I Was Never So Sure Of Anything In My Life. Meet Dita Von Panzer

reddit.com Report

glowworm2
Community Member
3 months ago

Gorgeous cat with a fantastic name.

View more comments

By adopting an animal in need – no matter the species, breed, or size – people are saving that animal's life as well as freeing up valuable shelter space and resources for other animals in need.

Also, a huge benefit of adopting animals from a shelter is that shelter staff know the animals well and can provide detailed information about an animal's history, medical needs, behavior, and temperament. They also consider a potential adopter's lifestyle, home environment, and the animal's potential compatibility with children and other animals in the home, helping the person to bring home the best match they can find.

To find out more about pet adoption, visit this helpful guide by the ASPCA.

#4

As A Single Dad, I Had To Put My Foot Down And Tell My Seven Year Old Daughter That There Was No Way She Was Getting A Dog For Chanukah, No Matter How Much She Asked. Anyway, Meet Waffle

As A Single Dad, I Had To Put My Foot Down And Tell My Seven Year Old Daughter That There Was No Way She Was Getting A Dog For Chanukah, No Matter How Much She Asked. Anyway, Meet Waffle

reddit.com Report

chi-wei shen
Community Member
3 months ago

He really laid down the law.

View more comments
#5

He Was A Rescue. A Runt. Probably Blind, Deaf, Won't Make It Very Long, They Told Me. Well, Happy 10th Birthday, Buddy

He Was A Rescue. A Runt. Probably Blind, Deaf, Won't Make It Very Long, They Told Me. Well, Happy 10th Birthday, Buddy

reddit.com Report

LOttawa
Community Member
3 months ago

I was told something similar about a 5 year old dog many years ago (I was told she had cancer and wouldn't make it). I adopted her anyway. She lived another 14 years with me.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#6

Old Man Ed's "I'm Getting Adopted!" Smile Is Both Handsome And Proud!

Old Man Ed's "I'm Getting Adopted!" Smile Is Both Handsome And Proud!

reddit.com Report

Janine B.
Community Member
3 months ago

What a cutie, I'm in love!

View more comments
#7

We Just Adopted The Most Snuggly, Beautiful, Chonk Of A Cat. Welcome Home, Bill

We Just Adopted The Most Snuggly, Beautiful, Chonk Of A Cat. Welcome Home, Bill

reddit.com Report

Dorothy Parker
Community Member
3 months ago

This is one Bill you were happy to receive

View more comments
#8

I Just Adopted Atticus This Weekend. He Was A Stray And They Told Me He's A Very Fearful Cat. I Slowly Introduced Him To My Closet With Some Food, A Bed I Warmed Up In The Dryer, And Some Pets When He Allowed. Just This Morning He Sat In My Lap And Purred

I Just Adopted Atticus This Weekend. He Was A Stray And They Told Me He's A Very Fearful Cat. I Slowly Introduced Him To My Closet With Some Food, A Bed I Warmed Up In The Dryer, And Some Pets When He Allowed. Just This Morning He Sat In My Lap And Purred

reddit.com Report

Paul K. Johnson
Community Member
3 months ago

Then you did everything right. Congratulations!

View more comments
#9

Within 2 Seconds Of Meeting The Cat I Was Adopting, She Climbed Onto My Shoulders

Within 2 Seconds Of Meeting The Cat I Was Adopting, She Climbed Onto My Shoulders

reddit.com Report

Janine B.
Community Member
3 months ago

My cat did this when we went to see if we would adopt him. He came home with us and never climbed onto my shoulders again. Guess he wanted to tell me I was his chosen kitty slave.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#10

Dandy Had Part Of Her Face Shot Off (Before I Adopted Her). I Love Her Two Derpy Top Teeth

Dandy Had Part Of Her Face Shot Off (Before I Adopted Her). I Love Her Two Derpy Top Teeth

reddit.com Report

Dorothy Parker
Community Member
3 months ago

Dandy spoke to their heart.

View more comments
#11

They We're Meant For Each Other

They We're Meant For Each Other

reddit.com Report

MsLou
Community Member
3 months ago

The picture on the right <3

View More Replies...
View more comments
#12

We Adopted A Kitten Last Month... We Now Have Nightly Ritual Of Checking The Fridge And Other Small Spaces To Make Sure He's Not Trapped Anywhere Before We Go To Bed

We Adopted A Kitten Last Month... We Now Have Nightly Ritual Of Checking The Fridge And Other Small Spaces To Make Sure He's Not Trapped Anywhere Before We Go To Bed

reddit.com Report

glowworm2
Community Member
3 months ago

I don't know why, but cats inside fridges crack me up. As long as the cat is safe, this is fine.

View more comments
#13

Adopted A Void Yesterday. Shelter Said She Didn't Like Laps. It's Been An Hour. Send Snacks

Adopted A Void Yesterday. Shelter Said She Didn't Like Laps. It's Been An Hour. Send Snacks

reddit.com Report

Paul K. Johnson
Community Member
3 months ago

I doubt a cat's behavior at a shelter very closely resembles how they'll behave in a forever home.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#14

Went To The Shelter To Look At Dogs, They Didn’t Have Any There But Once This Lil Girl Saw Me She Started Pawing At Her Cage. Now I Have A New Forever Friend

Went To The Shelter To Look At Dogs, They Didn’t Have Any There But Once This Lil Girl Saw Me She Started Pawing At Her Cage. Now I Have A New Forever Friend

reddit.com Report

Dhukath
Community Member
3 months ago

Cats choose you!

View More Replies...
View more comments
#15

I Just Adopted The Sweetest Kitten...her Name Is Olive And We’re In Love And We’re Gonna Run Away And Be Pirates Together

I Just Adopted The Sweetest Kitten...her Name Is Olive And We’re In Love And We’re Gonna Run Away And Be Pirates Together

reddit.com Report

Watching
Community Member
3 months ago

That's the best thing I've ever heard. :)

View More Replies...
View more comments
#16

Just Look At This Little Tripod I Adopted

Just Look At This Little Tripod I Adopted

reddit.com Report

Capermom
Community Member
3 months ago

He's precious <3

View more comments
#17

My Sister Adopted A Senior Dog - Meet Zombie

My Sister Adopted A Senior Dog - Meet Zombie

reddit.com Report

glowworm2
Community Member
3 months ago

Best name ever!

View more comments
#18

Society Says Black Cats Are Considered Less “Adoptable”. Society Is Wrong

Society Says Black Cats Are Considered Less “Adoptable”. Society Is Wrong

reddit.com Report

Paul K. Johnson
Community Member
3 months ago

Black cats are beautiful and people are stupid.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#19

I Adopted This Baby From The Dominican Republic 1 Month Ago- My Mom Didn't Believe Me That It Was The Same Dog. I Named Him Remi And He Suffered From Mange And Malnutrition, Not Anymore!

I Adopted This Baby From The Dominican Republic 1 Month Ago- My Mom Didn't Believe Me That It Was The Same Dog. I Named Him Remi And He Suffered From Mange And Malnutrition, Not Anymore!

reddit.com Report

Kathryn Baylis
Community Member
3 months ago

Poor pup had almost given up. You basically brought Remi back to life!

View more comments
#20

I Adopted 12 Year Old Brutus A Few Months Ago. He Is Sluggish, Stubborn, Gassy, Hogs The Bed And Drools So Much I Have Actually Slipped On My Kitchen Floor. And I'm Head Over Heels In Love With Him

I Adopted 12 Year Old Brutus A Few Months Ago. He Is Sluggish, Stubborn, Gassy, Hogs The Bed And Drools So Much I Have Actually Slipped On My Kitchen Floor. And I'm Head Over Heels In Love With Him

reddit.com Report

FoxxySucks
Community Member
3 months ago

Old English bulldogs are just the best . I adopted one 2 years ago and she is just the biggest snuggle monster ever

View More Replies...
View more comments
#21

This Is Bella. First Dog I Have Had In 20 Years

This Is Bella. First Dog I Have Had In 20 Years

reddit.com Report

Dorothy Parker
Community Member
3 months ago

Puppy looks like him! Both handsome, of course.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#22

My Wife And I Just Adopted This Sweet Old Dude

My Wife And I Just Adopted This Sweet Old Dude

reddit.com Report

Paul K. Johnson
Community Member
3 months ago

He'll be happy and content in his senior years. All animals deserve this.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#23

Adopted A 16 Year Old Bird Named Banana Last Week And She Finally Trusts Me Enough To Perch On My Shoulder

Adopted A 16 Year Old Bird Named Banana Last Week And She Finally Trusts Me Enough To Perch On My Shoulder

reddit.com Report

Roxy Eastland
Community Member
3 months ago

Much underappreciated are budgies, I had one for ten years and they have such great personalities.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#24

She Was Rescued From A Colony Of 30 Feral Cats In NE Ontario. She Follows Me Around For Snuggles, And Will Snuggle Me For Hours. I Think This One's Gonna Be A Foster Fail...

She Was Rescued From A Colony Of 30 Feral Cats In NE Ontario. She Follows Me Around For Snuggles, And Will Snuggle Me For Hours. I Think This One's Gonna Be A Foster Fail...

reddit.com Report

Dorothy Parker
Community Member
3 months ago

What a heart melter.

View more comments
#25

Four Days Since Adoption And New Kitten Charlie Is Loving His Big Brother Tipsy

Four Days Since Adoption And New Kitten Charlie Is Loving His Big Brother Tipsy

reddit.com Report

Kathryn Baylis
Community Member
3 months ago

Once bonded, they will fight to the death to defend each other.

View more comments
#26

This Is Bonnie. She Is Happier To See The Food Aisle Than Just Recently Being Adopted

This Is Bonnie. She Is Happier To See The Food Aisle Than Just Recently Being Adopted

reddit.com Report

Francis
Community Member
3 months ago

i goona eat all of this

View More Replies...
View more comments
#27

Jenny - My Parents’ New Rescue. Saved From A Life Of Being A Breeding Bitch. 5 Years Old, Doesn’t Know How To Play. Adopt, Dont Shop!

Jenny - My Parents’ New Rescue. Saved From A Life Of Being A Breeding Bitch. 5 Years Old, Doesn’t Know How To Play. Adopt, Dont Shop!

reddit.com Report

Kathryn Baylis
Community Member
3 months ago

It won’t take long to teach her how to play. Then get ready to play all the time!

View More Replies...
View more comments
#28

After 3 Long Months Of Trying To Get Her Trust. This Cutie Has Finally Adopted Me!!

After 3 Long Months Of Trying To Get Her Trust. This Cutie Has Finally Adopted Me!!

reddit.com Report

ƒιѕн
Community Member
3 months ago

Another feral with a happy ending!

View more comments
#29

Rescued A Couple Brothers This Weekend

Rescued A Couple Brothers This Weekend

reddit.com Report

Dorothy Parker
Community Member
3 months ago

Most beautiful weekend of the year!

View more comments
#30

Adopted Two "Undesirable Cats" At The Animal Shelter- A Very Scared Feral Kitten (Still Trying To Get A Good Face Pic) And The Fattest Cat In The Building- I Already Love Them So Much!

Adopted Two "Undesirable Cats" At The Animal Shelter- A Very Scared Feral Kitten (Still Trying To Get A Good Face Pic) And The Fattest Cat In The Building- I Already Love Them So Much!

reddit.com Report

ƒιѕн
Community Member
3 months ago

I love feral kittens! Its like very patiently waiting to open your present but not knowing when you can.

M O'Connell
Community Member
3 months ago

My feral 'kitten' has been inside my house since they were 6 weeks old... He is going on 10 years old... I'm wondering how much longer I need to wait for him to warm up!

Load More Replies...
Leo Domitrix
Community Member
3 months ago

That's a double challenge, and I applaud the person for taking them on! :-)

Luther von Wolfen
Community Member
3 months ago

Look at this lad - absolute unit.

Lisa-Marie Dhondt
Community Member
3 months ago

*sigh* once more: he is not fat, he is floofy!

Nepeta -
Community Member
3 months ago

the cat on the right is an Absolute Unit.

Candice Ravel
Community Member
3 months ago

There's no better feeling than when a feral kitty finally trusts you. These girls are both very lucky to have you.

Angharad Eatough
Community Member
3 months ago

for some reason I thought that the cat lying down was levitating

Myxomatosis
Community Member
3 months ago

Two lovely ladies. One is about to get cranky about her new "vet recommended" diet. :)

Teresa Spanics
Community Member
3 months ago

AWW :-)

Irene Fluit
Community Member
3 months ago

Niice!

Donna Lucille
Community Member
3 months ago

I think I love you!

Sue Clasen
Community Member
3 months ago

You will have to buy one of those gadgets that recognize the the cat, because to put her on a diet.........

Mike Rodrick
Community Member
3 months ago

Now THAT'S a fat cat.

Mary Dellenbusch
Community Member
3 months ago

No cat or animal is ever undesirable!

Daniele Ribolla
Community Member
3 months ago

this is the REAL animals love! good job.

Debi Blackshaw
Community Member
3 months ago

Their markings are gorgeous. Bet the bigger floof will keep your knees warm

Silja Hare
Community Member
3 months ago

chonky cat is bricked - i don't like to see that. often means they're in pain - he might be declawed, which would explain the weight gain, as walking hurts.

Anna roberts
Community Member
3 months ago

What is bricked? Please and thank you

Load More Replies...
KT
Community Member
3 months ago

Only time I saw a feral kitten was in cuba at a resort, while eating breakfast the thing burst out of the bushes beside my table and started hissing viciously at me I was actually scared he was crazy!

Anna Moffat
Community Member
3 months ago

I've got a previously feral calico too. She was about 6 weeks old when I found her. Hated being touched or approached at first. She's about a year old now and insists on being petted buy anybody that comes close. Still hates being picked up though.

Erin Snodgrass
Community Member
3 months ago

I love people like you!

Zoe Hoesley
Community Member
3 months ago

Chonky

HalfShelli
Community Member
3 months ago

You’ve got your work cut out for you on getting Kitty Chonky fit! Thank you for taking these two in… I know you will be rewarded muchly by their presence in your life.

View more comments
See Also on Bored Panda
#31

Our New Rescue Dog Patches. He Is Deaf And Would Have Been Put Down If We Didn't Adopt Him. He Is Now The Best Part Of Our Lives! I Have Cuter Photos If People Want To See!!!

Our New Rescue Dog Patches. He Is Deaf And Would Have Been Put Down If We Didn't Adopt Him. He Is Now The Best Part Of Our Lives! I Have Cuter Photos If People Want To See!!!

reddit.com Report

Capermom
Community Member
3 months ago

Awww...what a handsome boy..!

View more comments
#32

Recently Adopted A Kitten, This Was A Pic Of Her First Night Home!

Recently Adopted A Kitten, This Was A Pic Of Her First Night Home!

reddit.com Report

Little Zoologist
Community Member
3 months ago

Aww 💓

View more comments
#33

Our Recently Adopted Old Pup Is Enjoying His New Rocket Jammies

Our Recently Adopted Old Pup Is Enjoying His New Rocket Jammies

reddit.com Report

Kathryn Baylis
Community Member
3 months ago

What a sweet little face!

View more comments
#34

We Adopted A Retired Racing Greyhound That Was Too Afraid To Interact With Our Other Dog. A Few Months Later And They’re Over Here Smoochin

We Adopted A Retired Racing Greyhound That Was Too Afraid To Interact With Our Other Dog. A Few Months Later And They’re Over Here Smoochin

reddit.com Report

Kathryn Baylis
Community Member
3 months ago

I understand retired racers become total couch potatoes once adopted. Incredibly sweet and goofy couch potatoes. I love that.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#35

Adopted This Guy Last Month. He's Settled In Nicely

Adopted This Guy Last Month. He's Settled In Nicely

reddit.com Report

Kathryn Baylis
Community Member
3 months ago

Yeah. I don’t know why, but I think he’s pretty happy to be living with you.

View more comments
#36

Dog's Reaction After Being Adopted

Dog's Reaction After Being Adopted

reddit.com Report

miss miss
Community Member
3 months ago

I love this. There is video too.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#37

Exactly A Month Ago He Was A ‘Feral’ Cat Suffering From Multiple Infections. Today He’s My Little Old Gentleman In A Christmas Bow Tie. Merry Christmas And Happy Adoption, Gizmo!

Exactly A Month Ago He Was A ‘Feral’ Cat Suffering From Multiple Infections. Today He’s My Little Old Gentleman In A Christmas Bow Tie. Merry Christmas And Happy Adoption, Gizmo!

reddit.com Report

ƒιѕн
Community Member
3 months ago

Doubt this was a feral, stray is more likely. A feral at that age would be almost impossible to socialize at that age.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#38

Adopted These Two Little Beauties From The Animal Shelter. Say Hi To Loki And Thor

Adopted These Two Little Beauties From The Animal Shelter. Say Hi To Loki And Thor

reddit.com Report

Dorothy Parker
Community Member
3 months ago

Beautiful babies.

View more comments
#39

I Did Not Adopt This Dog. I Started Fostering Her And She Decided She Lives Here Now So I Guess She Does. Welcome To Your Forever Home Bellanova

I Did Not Adopt This Dog. I Started Fostering Her And She Decided She Lives Here Now So I Guess She Does. Welcome To Your Forever Home Bellanova

reddit.com Report

Kathryn Baylis
Community Member
3 months ago

Foster fails aren’t failures. They’re just love.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#40

Adopted Him From The Streets Today ... Welcome Buddy

Adopted Him From The Streets Today ... Welcome Buddy

reddit.com Report

Kathryn Baylis
Community Member
3 months ago

Thank you for giving this fur baby a home. Best. Christmas. Gift. Ever.

View more comments
See Also on Bored Panda
#41

Adopted Teddy For Christmas, Safe To Say She’s Pretty Happy About It

Adopted Teddy For Christmas, Safe To Say She’s Pretty Happy About It

reddit.com Report

Paul K. Johnson
Community Member
3 months ago

She has a look of, "I can't believe my luck!" in the first pic.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#42

“Uncontrollable Tippy-Taps Right Before Adoption

“Uncontrollable Tippy-Taps Right Before Adoption

reddit.com Report

Kathryn Baylis
Community Member
3 months ago

It’s called “The Happy Dance”!

View More Replies...
View more comments
#43

His Previous Owner Put Him Up For Adoption Because He Is So "Rude". This Is Him On His Second Day With Me

His Previous Owner Put Him Up For Adoption Because He Is So "Rude". This Is Him On His Second Day With Me

reddit.com Report

Leo Domitrix
Community Member
3 months ago

Previous owner was an idiot.

View more comments
#44

My Friend Asked Me If I Would Adopt A Puppy. Of Course I Said No. This Is My New Puppy

My Friend Asked Me If I Would Adopt A Puppy. Of Course I Said No. This Is My New Puppy

reddit.com Report

Kathryn Baylis
Community Member
3 months ago (edited)

Let me guess. You met the puppy and were immediately smitten. In. Deep. Smit.

View more comments
#45

My Newly Adopted, 11 Year Old Daisee Enjoying... Life

My Newly Adopted, 11 Year Old Daisee Enjoying... Life

reddit.com Report

Lisa Yario
Community Member
3 months ago

Pitties have such a bad rep. They are wonderful pets. They fight because they are forced into fighting. The methods of "training" are horribly cruel.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#46

The Day I Adopted Lulu. She Was Slated To Be Euthanized The Following Week, But Through A Local Shelter I Was Able To Adopt Her In Time. I Love Her So Much

The Day I Adopted Lulu. She Was Slated To Be Euthanized The Following Week, But Through A Local Shelter I Was Able To Adopt Her In Time. I Love Her So Much

reddit.com Report

Dorothy Parker
Community Member
3 months ago

Unthinkable that she could have perished.

View more comments
#47

My GF Is A Vet Nurse And Often Brings Home Strays Handed In. She Said "It's Only Until She's Big Enough To Give Away"...

My GF Is A Vet Nurse And Often Brings Home Strays Handed In. She Said "It's Only Until She's Big Enough To Give Away"...

reddit.com Report

Dorothy Parker
Community Member
3 months ago

Really?

View more comments
#48

I Decided To Adopt Gus After Fostering Him Through His Heartworm Treatment. He Is Perfect

I Decided To Adopt Gus After Fostering Him Through His Heartworm Treatment. He Is Perfect

reddit.com Report

Kathryn Baylis
Community Member
3 months ago

Yes. Yes he is. Perfect in every way.

View more comments
#49

Found W/ No Tags, No Microchip & Adopted After Waiting Period At The Pound; He Is Now My Everything

Found W/ No Tags, No Microchip & Adopted After Waiting Period At The Pound; He Is Now My Everything

reddit.com Report

Kathryn Baylis
Community Member
3 months ago

Rescued my dog straight off the street. Some kids playing nearby told me he was pushed out of a car not long before I came along. Between 3 and 5 years old (vet’s best guess), starving, no collar or chip, hair mats over an inch thick all down his back, toenails so long they were crossing over each other, and not neutered. That was almost 10 years ago. Scruffy is now fat, happy, fixed, and totally in love with us and his pack of 4 cats.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#50

This Is Kodi. He's A 4-Month-Old Rescue We Adopted. Not The Brightest Bulb On The Tree. Kind Of Cute Though

This Is Kodi. He's A 4-Month-Old Rescue We Adopted. Not The Brightest Bulb On The Tree. Kind Of Cute Though

reddit.com Report

Kathryn Baylis
Community Member
3 months ago (edited)

Bright doesn’t matter. The goofier the better.

View more comments

Note: this post originally had 90 images. It’s been shortened to the top 50 images based on user votes.

See Also on Bored Panda