‘Humane societies and SPCAs have been increasingly implementing best practices that optimize good outcomes for cats, such as higher adoption and lower euthanasia’
One of the few positives of the COVID-19 pandemic has been its impact on stray cats.
The number of cats adopted in Canada in 2020 was at the highest rate ever, with almost 70% of cats taken into shelters adopted. Euthanasia rates of cats were also way down, according to Humane Canada .
Shelter intakes for cats and dogs were also at historically low levels, with intake 25% lower compared to 2019.
The findings are contained in Humane Canada’s annual report , which examined activity at 83 shelters operated by humane societies and SPCAs in Canada.
Report author Toolika Rastogi, senior manager of policy and research at Humane Canada, noted the trend started even before COVID hit North America.
“While there certainly may have been more people interested in adopting cats during the pandemic, humane societies and SPCAs have been increasingly implementing best practices that optimize good outcomes for cats, such as higher adoption and lower euthanasia,” Rastogi told the Toronto Sun.
“Humane societies and SPCAs had been doing this before the pandemic; however, public health restrictions, including shuttering of animal shelters and reducing person-to-person contact, created a situation that drove shelters to implement these approaches further,” Rastogi added. “Some of these approaches include moving adoptable animals from a shelter environment into foster homes, being more inclusive regarding approving adoption applications, and supporting families to find solutions to keep their cats, rather than surrendering them.”
The return rate for returning stray felines to their owners was at its highest level ever in 2020 — 17%.
“Healthy stray cats may not be lost at all and may find their way home on their own. Cats are much more likely to return to their owners by means other than admission to a shelter.”
Rastogi said humane societies and SPCAs are shifting their focus to support animals and people in their homes, as they have during the pandemic.
“This includes increasing the base of foster homes, taking a more inclusive approach to adoption applications, and looking for more ways to support families to keep their companion animals.”
For example, Humane Canada, with funding from PetSmart Charities of Canada, has distributed $80,000 in grants for the development and delivery of pet foodbank programs across Canada “that help people keep their beloved pets through difficult times.”