Our need for quarantine and extra safety while we try to stop the spread of COVID-19 from infecting more humans has caused a serious problem for pets in shelters and rescues—to keep staff and volunteers safe from exposure shelters are open by appointment only, and with pet supply stores closed rescues have had to bring their adoptable pets back home to foster homes, so pets have almost no opportunity to meet the public and be adopted.
On top of that it seems a few people are concerned about their pets transmitting COVID-19 to them, possibly confusing the term “coronavirus” as something associated with cats and dogs, even though tests have shown that this coronavirus is transmitted only from human to human and animals may be exposed but are not infected.
So there we have pets waiting for adoption already, then more pets coming in, and very little way for them to meet the public.
And kitten season is right around the corner!
This really is when animals’ lives are at stake, because there is a very real physical limit to the number of animals shelters and foster homes can hold. They either don’t go in because there is no space, or in shelters they don’t leave alive, because space needs to be made for more. Turning animals away or euthanizing them to make room for more is certainly not the choice of the people who’ve gone out of their way to get those animals into a safe place. It’s really hard to think about it in those terms, but do that for just a bit, and then if you have any means to do so, find a foster to keep you company while you are in quarantine at home, possibly save that animal’s life, and make room in the shelter or rescue for another who needs to be rescued.
Speaking specifically of cats, they come in all sizes and states of mind. You can choose to learn about socializing feral kittens or give an adult cat a quiet place to hang out and enjoy living in a regular home situation for a while, or take on a mother cat with kittens and you can both raise those kittens right. Cats especially benefit from foster homes because shelters are often noisy and chaotic places, two things most cats don’t care for. Once you’ve fostered and gotten to know them, you can be their spokesperson and tell a potential adopter all about them, and an endorsement from another person is a very convincing argument for adoption. If they go back to the shelter after their fostering time with you they will likely do better at meeting people and reacting like themselves because they’ve had a break from the stress of a shelter.
Much of what is happening right now is out of our control. Saving a cat’s life right now is one thing you can control.
Many local and national shelters and animal rescue organizations are suggesting this right now, like American Humane in the press release below, which I’ve included to help convince you.
Best Friends During Our Worst Times: Consider Fostering a Shelter Pet During the Coronavirus Crisis, Says American Humane….for Their Sake – and Yours
News provided by
Mar 17, 2020, 13:46 ET
WASHINGTON, March 17, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — For thousands of years, our companion animals have been our best friends in good times and bad. Now, as we face one of the worst pandemics in modern history, accompanied by the fear and loneliness that come hand in hand with the isolation of mandatory quarantining, we have a chance to make a difference in the lives of millions of animals – and our own – by fostering a shelter animal.
“Shelters are swamped in the best of times, and with more and more staff in every sector of American life self-quarantining and falling ill, animals already abandoned and without homes are going to be increasingly vulnerable,” says American Humane President and CEO Dr. Robin Ganzert. “At the same time, so many of us, especially the elderly, are coping with the loneliness, stress and anxiety that comes with isolation and the sheltering in place so necessary during a pandemic. Why be home alone when you can snuggle up with a loving new buddy? You might save a life, improve your own during these trying times, and end up with a new best friend.”
Each year, some 4-6 million beautiful animals end up in U.S. shelters and more than one and a half million are euthanized. As shelter workers are affected by the virus and false rumors spread about the transmissibility of CV-19 from animals to people (there is no evidence of this), shelter animals will need help more than ever.
The rewards of fostering a pet can be great for both people and animals. Animals facing uncertain futures can find the love, care and attention every living creature needs. And engaging with animals has been shown to be a remedy for stress. When people are in high-pressure situations, the hormone cortisol spikes in the body, making it a useful tool for measuring stress. Interaction with animals is proven to lower both cortisol levels and blood pressure, according to the National Institutes of Health. In other words, science backs up what many people know intuitively – they feel better after petting a dog or cat.
Amber Batteiger is a case in point. An American Humane Rescue worker who deploys year-round to save animals from natural disasters and cruelty cases, she is now enjoying the company of her new foster dog and “pandemic pal,” Tux, a two-year-old American Bulldog mix she fostered for a rescue group out of Coral Springs, Florida called “Bullies-N-Beyond.” She finds his company a welcome distraction from the news and he is enjoying all the extra attention, treats and playing with his three foster siblings that living with Amber gives him.
“If you have the time, the desire and the physical and financial ability to foster an animal from a local shelter or rescue for at least the next several weeks, it will be a much-needed and welcome way to help,” says Dr. Ganzert. “Please think about it and spread the word. You will be helping yourself and an animal in need…and best of all, only their unconditional love is contagious.”
About American Humane
American Humane is the country’s first national humane organization. Founded in 1877, American Humane saves, shelters, feeds, and protects some one billion animals around the world each year. For more information, please visit www.americanhumane.org. Please follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
SOURCE American Humane
CONTACT: Mark Stubis, 202-677-4227, firstname.lastname@example.org
Gifts featuring cats you know! Visit Portraits of Animals
Great Rescues Day Book:
Portraits, Rescue Stories, Holidays and Events, Essential Feline Information, All in One Book
Each month features one of my commissioned portraits of a feline or felines and their rescue story along with a kitty quote on the left page, and on the right page the month name with enough lines for all possible dates, with standard holidays and animal-themed observances and events. Great Rescues also includes a mini cat-care book illustrated with my drawings including information on finding strays or orphaned kittens, adopting for the first time or caring for a geriatric cat, a list of household toxins and toxic plants, or helping stray and feral cats and beginning with TNR.
Each book includes also 10 sheets of my “22 Cats” decorative notepaper with a collage of all the portraits in black and white so you can make your own notes or write special notes to friends.
The portraits in this book, collected as a series, won both a Certificate of Excellence and a Muse Medallion in the 2011 Cat Writers’ Association Annual Communication Contest, as well as the 22 Cats Notepaper mentioned below.
All images and text used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission, although links to your site are more than welcome and are shared. Please ask if you are interested in using and image or story in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of an image or a product including it, check my animal and nature website Portraits of Animals to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.
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Weekly schedule of features:
Sunday: Essays, Pet Loss, Poetry, The Artist’s Life Monday: Adoptable Cats, TNR & Shelters Tuesday: Rescue Stories Wednesday: Commissioned Portrait or Featured Artwork Thursday: New Merchandise Friday: Book Review, Health and Welfare, Advocacy Saturday: Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat, Living Green With Pets, Creating With Cats And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!