Calling all cat lovers: adopting a pet in the time of coronavirus

July 10, 2020

Support your local animal shelter by bringing a furry friend into the family during Adopt a Cat month. 

Pets can provide unconditional love and comfort during the best of times. It should come as no surprise, then, that they’ve been especially popular during this extraordinary period of social isolation. 

Our human need for companionship explains why some shelters have seen an increase in demand for adoptions during the past few months. But while demand will likely continue to increase during Adopt a Cat month, local shelters still won’t be able to fundraise and bring awareness to the topic of feline homelessness as they normally would.

This summer, Royal Canin veterinarian Dr. Allan Corber will be answering related questions, including how shelters are dealing with the situation and what to expect during the cat adoption process. He will also be sharing general pet-care tips, both here and on YouTube.

With over 25 years of veterinary experience, specializing in general canine and feline practice, Dr. Allan joined the scientific communications team at Royal Canin in 2018. He focuses on shelters, breeders and getting kittens and puppies off to a healthy start. Dr. Allan is also an expert on how nutrition plays a critical role within each of these areas.

“Given it’s Adopt a Cat month, June is the perfect time to support your local animal shelter by bringing a cat into the family,” Dr. Allan said, “but it’s important to consider what cat ownership entails, to ensure a positive and successful adoption process.”

 Here are just a few important points Dr. Allan felt all new cat owners might consider:

Do you have the time to take care of your cat?
Social interaction is just as important to cats as it is to dogs. Would-be cat owners should ensure that they’ll have enough time to dedicate to their cat even after returning to work.

Ensure your home is cat-proof.
Certain plants and cleaners, as well as anything stringy or dangly that a cat will want to play with — like hair elastics or wire headphones — should be stored away safely, as ingesting them is harmful to cats.

Understand potential challenges and mitigate them as early as you can.
Cats can take anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks to acclimatize to a new environment. During that time, introduce your cat to its litter box, water and food bowls to help make him/her feel comfortable, safe and — most important — at home.

There are many benefits to having a cat as a companion. They can make you feel less lonely, happier and even healthier, but it isn’t for everyone, which is why it’s important to keep these guidelines in mind before bringing a new pet home. If you’re a new cat owner or considering adopting a cat this month, view additional tips from Dr. Allan on YouTube.

Another topic that should be top of mind if you’re considering adopting a cat during this time is to learn more about your local animal shelter, and how it has adapted its adoption processes.

Animal shelters are a vital part of our communities; they take in animal surrenders, but also make the pets available for rehoming. As an essential service, animal shelters have continued to operate and serve their communities during COVID-19, despite reduced resources. It’s timely for potential cat owners to appreciate the vital role shelters play in our communities and how they have adapted to continue to provide safe care in the last few months.

“Shelters across Canada have been diligently practising social distancing and using infectious control measures within their facilities. Many have been taking in animals and conducting adoptions virtually, and through ‘touchless’ processes,” Dr. Allan said.

“These processes ensure animals can be adopted without any direct, human-to-human interaction. Triaging and interviewing, for instance, are currently happening exclusively online, with all information being exchanged virtually or by phone.”

If you’re not ready or able to adopt a cat full-time, there are many other ways to support local shelters during this difficult period, including animal fostering, financial donations and volunteering.

“Just as adopting a cat has many benefits, so does fostering a cat,” Dr. Allan said.

“As some animals cannot be housed in shelter facilities right now due to COVID-19 closures and safety measures, fostering is a great way to support our shelters during the pandemic, but also at any time.”

For those who are financially able, donations to a local animal shelter go a long way in helping to ensure such shelters can continue to provide valuable health services to animals in their care, take in new animals, and facilitate adoptions.

Disclaimer: This story was created by Content Works, Postmedia's commercial content division, on behalf of Royal Canin.

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