It is wrong that Covid lockdowns led people to adopt cats and dogs

Remember Covid? It has been shunted to the back of the news thanks to the possibility of World War 3. But there is a legacy in terms of cat adoptions. To take two countries, Japan and the UK, cat and dog adoptions went gone up due to the Covid pandemic lockdowns. It is now a well-known fact that there were more than the usual cat and dog adoptions during the Covid lockdowns which were quite common in many countries because people were seeking companionship during that period of social isolation. The idea was to support their mental health.

Empty shelters thanks to Covid and increased adoptions
Empty shelters thanks to Covid and increased adoptions. Screenshot from video on The Independent.
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For example, in Japan, the Japan Pet Food Association estimated that in 2021 the number of domestic cat companions in Japan increased by about 320,000 over the previous year. Professor Miyamoto suggested that the pandemic was the cause. This is a known phenomenon. The professor said that “more people have been spending time in their homes, leading more to wish for an animal companion to provide them with psychological healing”.

On that statement, we conclude that people adopted a cat or dog during lockdown to benefit their mental health. And I am saying that that should not be the only reason to adopt a cat or dog. And therefore, it is not a good reason on its own to adopt.

I am saying that it was wrong to be motivated to adopt a cat or dog solely during Covid lockdowns. The lockdowns have ended (we hope) but in various countries they were quite commonplace. In the UK there has been a surge in cat and dog adoptions during those times.

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If people adopted a cat just because they wanted company during a Covid lockdown it can’t be a good reason. This is because a lockdown was a short-term measure of a fixed duration and adopting a cat is for the lifetime of the cat. It’s a long-term relationship. And it’s a two-way relationship in which both parties mutually benefit.

When adopting under the unusual circumstances of a Covid lockdown, the reason is to benefit the adopter i.e. the human. The cat becomes a therapy animal which is a one-way street. This is not ideal in a long-term relationship and it is liable to end up with the cat being relinquished when normal conditions resume.

When a person adopts a cat the sort of questions to ask oneself is you can fund cat caregiving for the life of the cat and whether you are in a position in terms of facilities and lifestyle to look after a cat properly for the cat’s lifetime. The questions are focused on the welfare of the cat not solely on whether the person wants company.

This is my argument as to why it was incorrect to be motivated to adopt a cat during Covid lockdown.

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