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“Humanitarian companies and SPCAs are increasingly implementing best practices that optimize good outcomes for cats, such as higher adoption and lower euthanasia.”

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One of the few bright spots of the COVID-19 pandemic has been its impact on stray cats.

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The number of cats adopted in Canada in 2020 was the highest on record, with almost 70% of cats adopted in shelters. Cat euthanasia rates were also falling, according to Cruelty-free Canada .

Shelter intake for cats and dogs were also at historically low levels, with intake 25% lower than in 2019.

The results are contained in Humane Canada’s Annual Report , which examined activity at 83 shelters operated by humane societies and SPCAs across Canada.

Report author Toolika Rastogi, senior director of policy and research at Humane Canada, noted that the trend began even before COVID reached North America.

“While there have certainly been more people interested in adopting cats during the pandemic, humanitarian companies and SPCAs have increasingly implemented best practices that optimize good outcomes for cats, such as higher adoption and lower euthanasia, “Rastogi told the Toronto sun.

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“Humanitarian companies and SPCAs were doing this before the pandemic; However, public health restrictions, including the closure of animal shelters and reduced person-to-person contact, created a situation that prompted shelters to implement these approaches further, ”Rastogi added. “Some of these approaches involve moving adoptable animals from shelter to foster homes, being more inclusive in approving adoption applications, and helping families find solutions to keep their pets. cats, rather than abandoning them. “

The return rate of stray felines returned to their owners was at an all-time high in 2020: 17%.

“Healthy stray cats may not be lost at all and can return home on their own. Cats are much more likely to return to their owners by means other than admission to a shelter. “

Rastogi said humanitarian companies and SPCAs are focused on supporting animals and people in their homes, as they did during the pandemic.

“This includes increasing the number of foster homes, taking a more inclusive approach to adoption applications, and finding new ways to help families keep their pets. “

For example, Humane Canada, with funding from PetSmart Charities of Canada, distributed $ 80,000 in grants for the development and implementation of pet food bank programs across Canada “that help people. to keep their beloved pets in difficult times ”.

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