Adoption and fostering rates for pets soared in 2020. A recent survey from Rover, an online marketplace for pet care, found that 93% of people who got a pandemic pet said that it improved their mental and physical health.
But now that life is opening back up beyond the walls of a house or apartment, is there still room in people’s lives for that furry new friend?
“Now that [people] had the time, they said, ‘Okay, this is a great time to get that pet I’ve always wanted, because I can now get them into the whole family routine,’” says Marcia Mayeda, the director of Animal Care and Control for Los Angeles County.
She says the pandemic helped her department change its strategies to keep animals out of the shelter. For example, they provide financial vouchers to those who can’t afford a medical procedure, and more support to those willing to foster.
Mayeda explains that while people usually love their pets, sometimes financial hardships force them to reevaluate. But those pet owners often don’t realize that there are other options available to them besides surrendering their pet.
She says, “Sometimes it’s a minor medical concern, [like] an ear infection for example, and they just don’t have a few hundred dollars to go get that treated. So we do have vouchers and we work with veterinarians in the community. ... We try to provide resources and solutions for them.”
Springtime also means kitten litters and shelters need your help. Mayeda says, “If there's no mother available, and people are willing to foster the kittens, we provide free fostering kits with milk replacer and bottles and all the supplies that they will need to raise those kittens up until they're old enough to be spayed or neutered and placed for adoption, which we will help with.”
If you find a litter of kittens, Mayeda recommends monitoring them for a few hours in case the mother returns and can care for them herself.