Best Friends Animal Society a leading animal welfare organization working to end the killing of dogs and cats in shelters by 2025. Best Friends runs the nation’s largest no-kill animal sanctuary and works collaboratively with a network of more than 4,200 partners nationwide.
Let’s be real: The internet was practically created so we could see cute photos and videos of animals.
From the I Can Haz Cheezburger? cat memes of the early aughts to the current TikTok trend of interviewing dogs with tiny microphones, the internet has provided our beloved animal companions another avenue to make us smile.
The internet is also an amazing place to build support for a cause — like animal rescue and adoption — in ways that reach far beyond a “Dog For Adoption” flier on a telephone pole.
So many animal shelters and rescue organizations have creatively used social media to fundraise, share adoptable pets, and create a community of energized and activated animal lovers who want to do more good.
But the truth is, while there are hundreds of amazing animal shelters on Instagram and TikTok, there are also countless rescue groups that simply do not have the capacity to make silly content and edit trendy TikToks.
Stretched too thin with volunteer-run establishments or short-staffed animal care teams, shelters need all hands on deck to manage the day-to-day care of their animals and need all the support they can get.
So, as you scroll through this list of the best animal shelters to follow on social media, consider your role — not just as a fan and follower of cute animals — but as a community member.
Think about how you might even be able to contribute to your local animal shelter’s marketing efforts as a volunteer, how your financial contributions can help pay staff members, how you could one day adopt a dog of your own — or just how far a follow, share, or comment can go.
The Most Entertaining Animal Shelters To Follow on Social Media
Nebraska Humane Society
The Nebraska Humane Society is a hall-of-famer when it comes to animal shelters on social media. Mastering the art of all popular platforms, the shelter has over 44,000 followers on Twitter, 41,000 followers on Instagram, and 210,000 followers on TikTok.
With hits like the #PuppyCart (content of new puppy intakes to the shelter, duh), hilarious names for adoptable animals (we’re looking directly at you, Goo Goo Cluster), timely plays on pop culture, and that perfect blend of absurdist humor and cute animals, the Nebraska Humane Society has created an audience that reaches far beyond the heartland.
KC Pet Project
Another pro shelter pet account, KC Pet Project has made it big on TikTok — albeit for content that is a little less meme-y and a little more heartwarming.
The shelter’s TikTok account has over 1.3 million followers and its Instagram boasts over 100,000 followers, featuring loads of behind-the-scenes animal care videos, celebratory adoption day content, and of course, compilations of silly cat names.
While sometimes heartbreaking, all of the KC Pet Project animals’ videos end in happy stories — or calls-to-action that inspire people to come adopt these sweet friends!
Old Friends Senior Dog Sanctuary
While the sanctuary does house lots of senior dogs, its main goal is to find lifelong loving homes for these pooches to live out the remainder of their lives as part of a family.
One way this is done is through the Geezer Guardian program, where Old Friends covers the cost of all medical care for a dog that gets to live with their families — or Geezer Guardian — for the rest of their lives, without the barrier to vet costs and other challenges that can come with adopting a senior dog.
Kanawha-Charleston Humane Association
The Kanawha-Charleston Humane Association does life-saving work for the furry friends of West Virginia — and over 144,000 TikTok followers love to keep tabs on all the available animals.
The Gentle Barn
Beyond the typical cats and dogs you’d find at your nearby animal shelter, The Gentle Barn is a farm animal sanctuary and shelter with locations in California, Tennessee, and Missouri.
While most come for the fiercely cute farm animal content, they stay for education and advocacy that comes with learning more about these majestic creatures.
NEKO Cat Cafe
As cat cafes have gained popularity in cities across the globe, encouraging people to socialize with adoptable cats in a coffee shop setting, no one is doing social media quite like NEKO Cat Cafe, based out of Washington state.
NEKO’s TikTok following exceeds 430,000 — mostly thanks to the signature voiceover video format, detailing the crimes and trials of its frisky felines.
Folks can stop in and reserve their time in the cat playrooms during business hours, all while the cafe provides a sanctuary for adoptable cats until they find their fur-ever homes.
McKamey Animal Center
Equal parts heartwarming and hilarious, the McKamey Animal Center based in Chattanooga, Tennessee shares TikTok content with over 24,000 followers dedicated to improving the lives of shelter animals.
From high-demand adoption updates and “Wednesday Walk-Throughs” of the facilities, to sassy photo shoots for stylish pooches and tear-jerking clips set to viral TikTok sounds, there’s something for every animal lover.
Kansas Humane Society
You might know the Kansas Humane Society for its viral social media campaign: OnlyPaws, where the social media team successfully raised over $8,000 by “selling feet pics” from its diverse group of shelter animals.
Besides this home-run of a campaign, the Kansas Humane Society has a loyal following across Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. From making “Puppygrams” Valentine’s crafts, to sharing vital health and safety tips, the Kansas shelter is dedicated to making a better world for rescue animals — one toe bean at a time.
Austin Pets Alive!
Austin Pets Alive! has helped save the lives of over 100,000 animals since 2008 — and the organization couldn’t do it without the support of its community.
On Instagram, Austin Pets Alive! shares invaluable information about dog care and behavior, fabulous photos of pups in costume, and even some true canine crime stories, to its audience of over 110,000.
Badass Animal Rescue
Based in Brooklyn, New York, Badass Animal Rescue “saves badass dogs from idiot humans.”
The organization’s potty mouth approach doesn’t make it any less responsible of a rescue — connecting countless foster parents, adopters, and community members to pups who need loving homes.
Whether it’s digital art fundraisers, darling updates on adoptable dogs, or the celebration of adoptaverseries, Badass Animal Rescue’s Instagram will leave you with a smile on your face for hours of scrolling.
TAPS No-Kill Animal Shelter
TAPS No-Kill Animal Shelter in Pekin, Illinois has been rescuing furry friends since 1958 — long before TikTok trends even existed. These days, however, the shelter uses social media to share the same classic cuteness we’ve always loved in dogs.
With over 87,000 TikTok followers, TAPS shares adorable videos introducing its audience to new weekly arrivals at the shelter, hard-working cats in need of a good home — and of course, senior dog adoptions that made me cry so hard I was put out of commission for seven-to-ten business days. (In a good way.)