5 Pets You Can Adopt Today and What to Know Before You Do

If you're looking for a gift during the holiday season, check out these cuties.

ByABC News
December 4, 2015, 2:28 PM

— -- If you're thinking a pet may be the perfect gift for the holidays, you're in luck. Right now, animal shelters across the U.S. have tons of pets -- cats, dogs, rabbits -- up for adoption to become either your best friend or the newest addition to the family.

Check out the five cutest pets we've found up for adoption in animal shelters in the U.S.:

Tina, Calico Cat, 1.5 years old, Available at Manhattan Care Center in New York City

PHOTO: Tina is a 1-year-old calico cat available at Manhattan Animal Care Center.
Tina is a 1-year-old calico cat available at Manhattan Animal Care Center.

Buck, Terrier-Pit Mixed Dog, 5 years old, Available at Austin Pets Alive in Austin, Texas

PHOTO: Buck is a 5-year-old terrier-pit mix available at Austin Pets Alive.
Buck is a 5-year-old terrier-pit mix available at Austin Pets Alive.

Buddy, Beagle Dog, 7 years old, Available at Brooklyn Animal Care Center in Brooklyn, New York

PHOTO: Buddy is a 7-year-old beagle available at Brooklyn Animal Care Center.
Buddy is a 7-year-old beagle available at Brooklyn Animal Care Center.

Holly George, Domestic Shorthair Mixed Cat, nearly 2 years old, Available at Austin Pets Alive in Austin, Texas

PHOTO: Holly George is a 1-year-old domestic shorthair mix cat at Austin Pets Alive.
Holly George is a 1-year-old domestic shorthair mix cat at Austin Pets Alive.

Seinfeld, Checkered Giant Bunny, 1 years old, Available at Manhattan Care Center in New York City

PHOTO: Seinfeld is a 1-year-old checkered giant bunny available at Animal Care Centers of NYC.
Seinfeld is a 1-year-old checkered giant bunny available at Animal Care Centers of NYC.

But before you ooh and ahh over these adoptable cuties, there are some important things to keep in mind. First, understand that when adopting a pet, you're signing up for a "many year commitment," Lisa Maxwell, director of development/community engagement at Austin Pets Alive animal shelter, tells ABC News. "Dogs can live up to 12 to 14 years. Cats can live up to 20 years. So you're signing on for a lifetime for that animal."

"Another thing to consider is the financial commitment," she says, adding that pets may develop health problems and need veterinarian care. Not to mention standard vet care like vaccinations and routine checkups.

"And then you have that responsibility to give that animal enrichment. Not just have them in your house and say hi to them from time to time," Maxwell says. "It's also a time commitment."

Jessica Vaccaro, adoption manager for Animal Care Centers of NYC, says about five percent of animals are returned to her shelters each month. "There's nothing sadder than someone taking a pet home, then bringing it back," she says.

If you are thinking of adopting a pet as a gift, Vaccaro says to ask yourself three questions: "Does the recipient want the gift? How do you know? Do you know exactly what they are looking for?"

She adds, "I don't recommend surprise gifts for the holiday, but thoughtful gifts are appropriate."