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Cats made great pandemic pets but are they on the brink of a crisis?

Innovations with Leap Venture Studio: Working Together to Keep Pets out of Shelters

A surge in pet ownership during the pandemic summoned some positivity during an otherwise grim period for the world. As people adapted to being indoors during the series of Covid-19 driven lockdowns, a significant increase in pet adoptions brought new hope for animal shelters.

With the growth in the number of pet parents in the US and Europe, population of pet cats rose significantly. There are more cats than dogs in European homes, and in the US, the number of pet cats increased by almost 2 million in 2020 from 2016we’re not kitten!

“When the pandemic started, we knew that we had to do everything to clear the shelters of all animals because the shelter staff could not be there to support the animals in mass,” said Michelson Found Animals CEO, Brett Yates. “People saw this as an opportunity to take home a new friend; an opportunity they had been waiting for. During a time when people needed companionship the most, shelter pets provided that much needed bond. In fact, more and more people were adopting cats.” 

So what makes cats great pets?

  • They’re independent creatures

Nothing purr-sonal but cats are pretty self-sufficient. They usually don’t take up too much space or need daily walks; a safe and quiet sleeping spot and a litter box is enough to keep your kitty perfectly content. But your feline friends also crave affection. Be sure to offer undivided attention to your cat for at least 10-20 minutes each day. Excessive or unusual attention-seeking may be a sign that needs the intervention of a vet – so if you’re worried, be sure to reach out to your vet. 

  • They don’t need extensive training

Cats are truly exceptional. Some elementary introduction to the litter is all it needs. Training felines to walk on a leash is also possible and rather beneficial for senior cats that need physical exercise or those that need to lose that extra weight (however, don’t force your cat to wear a harness if it’s regularly causing them stress or discomfort).

  • They are therapeutic

A research study shows that cat owners are psychologically better off than those who don’t own pets. Felines can help older adults cope with loneliness and social loss. The presence of cats can impact cardiovascular reactivity to psychological and physical stress by lowering heart rates and blood pressure

Cat population on the rise

Despite the growing popularity of cats amongst pet owners, shelters are still grappling with a surge in intakes, slowed adoptions and staff shortage. Over two years of pandemic-driven restrictions also made it difficult for shelters and clinics to carry out spay and neuter drives, which has led to the rise in cat and dog population since 2021.

Pet adoptions were on the rise during the pandemic and so many people volunteered to foster animals until they found new homes, we hoped this would continue. We should try to encourage fostering to be a normative response when shelters need help,” said Gina Knepp, National Shelter Engagement Director for Michelson Found Animals.

How can Michelson Found Animals & Leap Venture Studio come together to solve this crisis?

Michelson Found Animals is dedicated to keeping pets and people together; it is working to keep animals out of the shelter system by advocating for pet adoptions, fostering, volunteering, resource donations, and funding. Through the Leap Venture Studio, the world’s first pet startup-specific accelerator, which we run jointly with Mars Petcare, we are investing in innovations that are solving several pet and pet parenting challenges. This International Cat Day, Michelson Found Animals reiterates its commitment to champion pets at every point they interact with society, and seeks to work with passionate startups that are determined to find solutions to connect our feline friends with committed parents. If you have a startup that’s solving pet and pet parents’ pain points then connect with us. Join our Slack channel; we would love to learn more about you!