Adopting a cat during the COVID-19 lockdown?

adopting a cat during coronavirus pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic, including lockdowns, is connecting many people more closely to their home, where they don't just devote themselves to home office and home schooling. Instead, many discover new hobbies, from baking to learning languages to knitting. The isolation during the pandemic leads to many animals lovers develop a strong urge to adopt a cat. There would be plenty of time available to get to know one another. However, is it a good idea to adopt a cat during the lockdown? We'll give you some tips!

Corona isolation – a strange time

If you click through social media and always get caught up with cute cat photos, you can soon develop a longing for a fluffy housemate. This is particularly pertinent if your contact with fellow human beings is limited. However, taking one or two cats into your home should be well considered and not a spur-of-the-moment decision. Impulse cat purchases aren't a good idea, because you take on full responsibility for a cat living a happy and species-appropriate life. Depending on the age at which it enters your home, this could be more than 20 years. If you're toying with taking on a cat, you're best off getting answers to the following questions before your final decision:

Will I have enough time after the lockdown for a cat?

We're currently spending a lot of time at home – but will this be the case after the COVID-19 pandemic? For many people, not just the duty to go to open-plan offices or sales meetings will call. Parks, cinemas and restaurants will prove tempting once again. If you work full time and are happiest being out and about after work, you shouldn't opt for a feline housemate, because shared play and cuddling time is important to cats.

Am I looking for an outdoor or indoor cat?

Cats with unlimited outdoor access can move in on their own, as they will look for their own feline companion. If they can enter your home through a cat flap, their owner being absent for longer will matter less to them. However, outdoor access should only be allowed in areas with little traffic. Otherwise, the risks of your cat suffering an accident are too great. If you make your garden cat-proof, this is an ideal compromise for your feline friend. Ideally, you will then take on a second cat too, because one cat will soon get bored on its own. This is true of all indoor cats. If you rent, you will need permission from your landlord before taking a cat into your home.

How do I imagine living with a cat?

If you browse online, you can get the impression that cats primarily bring fun to the home. With a cat by your side, (not just) the lockdown is easier to put up with. It's true that cats bring their owners a great deal of joy. However, living together can also mean hairs on furniture and clothes, gnawed house plants, loud miaowing in the middle of the night, vomiting on the carpet. You can underestimate this if you haven't lived with a pet before.

Who will take care of the cat during holidays?

Borders are currently closed and holidays are subject to uncertainty. This will change though and many of us will then be drawn away. Be it a weekend break or three-week holiday, where should cats go? Clarify this question before the move. Ideally you will find someone to take care of your cat within your home or you will get it used to a holiday home with your parents or a good friend when it is still young.

Can cat hairs and allergies be a problem?

So you've never spent a longer period with a cat in a tight space or are unsure whether you have a pet hair allergy? Then you should do an allergy test before the move. Since medical practices are currently reserved for emergency cases, you should postpone the test until after the lockdown.

How can I adopt a cat during lockdown?

So you've given it a lot of thought and would like to adopt a cat? Great – now the question is where you can adopt one or two cats in the time of coronavirus? Some cat lovers would like to make the most of the home office period to facilitate their cat's adaptation phase. However, many animal shelters are currently closed and aren't carrying out any of the necessary pre-monitoring procedures for rehoming. Nevertheless, animal lovers should keep an eye on animal welfare associations – especially in times of coronavirus. Many are currently experiencing financial difficulties, because they are no longer allowed to rehome cats but are still receiving them. Donations and fundraising events like Easter markets are no longer taking place. Please do not buy cats from disreputable sources because it's quicker right now. Be it an animal shelter or breeder, be patient if necessary. After all, you're looking for a companion for many years.

Local animal shelters

Has my regional animal shelter opened and is rehoming animals? There isn't a uniform answer to this question either in Europe or at national level in many countries. Hence, you're best off looking on the websites of regional animal shelters. Some are closed for visitors and give information online about current options. Animal shelters in Britain had to postpone animal adoption due to the coronavirus pandemic, but can now rehome again after new guidelines were approved by the government.

Adopting cats from abroad

Many people wish to give a cat from an animal shelter abroad a new home. Especially in countries like Greece, Romania or Bulgaria, thousands of cats are looking for owners and a new home. There are currently many international animal welfare organisations working on keeping business running, because the coronavirus pandemic has hit foreign animal shelters particularly hard. Many animals die in killing stations without being rehomed. Volunteers are not allowed to enter the country and fundraising trips with food and auxiliary measures no longer take place. Some of these animal welfare organisations can continue to rehome animals thanks to cooperation with national animal shelters across Europe. However, it can take longer than usual for cat lovers to be united with their future pets. If you're interested in a cat from an international animal shelter, you're best off looking at several websites of relevant animal welfare associations.

A cat from a breeder

If you're keen on pedigree cats, you're best off researching online reputable breeders for the breed in question. Many currently don't want any visitors to their home. However, do not get involved in a kitten purchase without a previous visit. Responsible breeders will wait or receive individual visitors whilst respecting common hygiene measures. Resourceful breeders give you an insight into the kitten area via video chat. Some would like to give kittens to their new owners by the age of 14 weeks at the latest so that they can get used to their future family in the best possible way. Beware though that long journeys to pick up your cat can be a problem depending on where you live. Due to border closures, you should choose a kitten from your own country. If in doubt, it's worth waiting for your dream cat.

Can you foster a cat during COVID-19 isolation?

Some animal shelters report of animal lovers who declare their willingness to look after an animal during coronavirus isolation. After all, they have a lot of time right now. However, foster homes limited to a few weeks hardly make any sense for animal shelters. It would be difficult for a cat to have to go back to its 'own' home at the animal shelter after three weeks. If you want to get involved with an animal shelter, you can do this again after coronavirus, for instance, as a dog walker or cat stroker.

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