There's an obvious alt for Tails, and it is... a motobug! Just add some hidden propeller that goes out when flying or make its "wings" actually work like wings (Bzzzz!) and there you have it. It could put some angry face to show it's spinning or just use generic spinning ball sprites. Now, to be serious (but the above one is an option), to avoid the Cheese dilemma you could implement the white rabbit from the first game's concept art, which could flap his ears like Cream does without the need to add a chao.