Now Socially Isolated, Some Turn To Cats For Companionship

Mar 25, 2020

As folks stay home to avoid contracting or transmitting COVID-19, some are turning to fostering cats for companionship, which is good news for nonprofit animal rescue Cat’s Cradle. But others are having to give up their pets, for the same reason. WMRA’s Randi B. Hagi reports.

Cat’s Cradle is a foster-based organization, meaning that the cats they care for are mostly placed in people’s homes, rather than a central shelter location. And while they’ve had to cancel adoption events at Petsmarts in Harrisonburg and Waynesboro, they’ve seen an increase in applications to become cat-foster parents. 

 

Foster cat Tawny and one of her humans, Cat's Cradle's Christy Tabor.
Credit Christy Tabor

CHRISTY TABOR: I’ve gotten about a dozen just in the past couple days. And it’s a variety of people. It’s students, just people in the community I think that are working from home, and they have their kids at home. So it’s a great time to foster. 

 

Christy Tabor is a foster coordinator and licensed veterinary technician.  

 

TABOR: We are able to put cats into foster care and still practice social distancing and good, you know, good hygiene. And give the fosters what they need.  

 

Their services are especially important now – because besides the novel coronavirus, it’s almost time for another pandemic: kitten season. In light of the annual deluge of kittens usually born in the Spring, Cat’s Cradle is holding a fundraising challenge through April 1st called “Beat the Heat” to fund spay and neuter surgeries. Tabor said a generous donor is matching monetary donations, which can be made through their website

 

TABOR: This is something that we do every year, it’s for our spay/neuter program, and we do it about this time of year because we’re getting ready to … come into kitten season. So this is a time when cats start coming into heat and start breeding and producing kittens. 

 

Sadly, in addition to more people interested in fostering, Tabor said they’ve also gotten more calls in the last few weeks about people looking to surrender their cat, because they can’t currently afford cat food or medical services.  

 

TABOR: If it’s food related, we can certainly help out with food. That’s why donations are very important, that way we can pass them on to people who are in need right now. I think people are also maybe thinking they might not be able to care for their cats in the future because of COVID-19. 

 

But for the felines who do end up in the care of Cat’s Cradle – 

 

TABOR: Now is a great time to foster, so I would love to keep seeing the foster applications come in. … [cat meows, Tabor laughs]