With most of the country still in lockdown mode, California animal shelters are experiencing an unexpected problem—they’re running out of animals. Happy Tails Pet Sanctuary in Sacramento told news agencies that their dog adoptions have quadrupled since the spring stay-at-home order, and they’re not the only ones who have happily reached record adoption numbers. Most California shelters have long wait lists for dog and kitten adoptions, and people are going to extreme measures to bring home a new pandemic pet.
Long Wait Lists
Rescue dogs and kittens are so much in demand that some people are choosing to drive up to 10 hours for the chance at adopting a furry friend. According to the Redding Record Searchlight, one man who was second in line to adopt a kitten even offered to pay the person first in line $400 to swap spots. It didn’t work, however, as the lucky adopter chose the kitten over an easy pay day.
Long waitlists are thanks to more people choosing to adopt, but there are also less exciting issues that shelters have been forced to contend with. Thanks to economic struggles, business lockdowns, and employees/volunteers going into quarantine, several California shelters are experiencing internal delays. Many are doing adoptions by appointments only, and they’re operating with limited staff members. Even if they have animals available for adoption and people ready to adopt, it’s taking longer to finalize those contracts.
While a lot of people are adopting pets to keep them company during long days of quarantine, a large chunk of recent adoptions are also thanks to healthcare workers still working long hours. They’re reportedly bringing home new pets to help with their mental health. You have to admit that there’s nothing better than coming home after a stressful day and being greeted by unconditional love.
Not All Animals Are Benefitting
That love, however, isn’t being extended to all rescue animals. Dogs and kittens are in high demand, but adult cats are being overlooked. It’s partly because there are so many adult cats out there, and the overwhelming cuteness of their kitten competition is also a factor. If someone wants to add a feline to their family, recent adoption trends show they’re more willing to wait weeks for a kitten than they are to adopt an adult cat.
It’s not fair to adult cats, but the current adoption trends in California are generally good news. More rescue pets finding homes is always a good thing. Rescuers worry, however, about what will happen when the pandemic finally passes.
They’re reminding adopters that dogs and cats are long-term commitments, not just pandemic perks. They don’t want to see all these animals returned to shelters once people go back to their normal busy lives. If that happens, shelters will likely be faced with record-setting surrenders rather than adoptions. This would make the coming years more difficult than ever. All we can do is wait and hope these pandemic pets turn into irreplaceable family members.