For those without pets or an affinity for creatures great and small, the idea of adding responsibility for another living thing may sound insane, but for many, animals can provide companionship and a welcome relief from the isolation and loneliness of quarantine.
“You can’t have another person in your house, what else are you going to do?” said Pamela Staeudle.
Staeudle herself chose to adopt a fairly portly orange tabby cat that originally went by the name “Cheetah.”
“Cheetah moves like a sloth,” Staeudle said. “That’s why we don’t call her ‘Cheetah’ anymore, she came in as Cheetah and immediately got renamed as ‘Chonky.’”
ASPCA President Matt Bershadker says there has been a 70 percent increase in fostering in New York City and Los Angeles in the last few weeks.
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“Not only fostering at higher rates, but individuals who were contemplating adopting animals have gone ahead and made that adoption,” Bershadker said. “They provide joy and companionship and love, and this is a stressful time.”
The ASPCA says that the distraction pets can provide, along with the comfort and companionship of pets explains the rise in fostering and adoption.
The ASPCA has committed $3M to set up at least four regional four food distribution centers to assist pet owners worried about providing for their dogs and cats during the outbreak, plus an additional $2M to support shelters across the nation.