The Association of Dogs and Cats Homes’s statistics tell us that cats are twice as likely to be abandoned than dogs during the coronavirus lockdown in the UK. The lockdown is continuing in a sporadic way across Britain. So this particular issue is also continuing at least potentially. Why do domestic cats get such a rough deal compared to their canine associates?
The answer is probably because people feel they can abandon domestic cats more easily than they can abandon domestic dogs. Cats have a weaker connection to people who are ambivalent about cat ownership. This in turn is due to the fact that cats are perceived by people as being more independent. They can be ignored, left to fend for themselves, and therefore it is quite easy for some cat owners to disconnect from them and abandon them.
The Association of Dogs and Cats Homes survey of more than 130 animal-rescue homes in April found that 70% reported that more cats had been abandoned compared to dogs (8% were abandoned).
There are probably two reasons for this increase in abandonments during the pandemic. One is that some people may be frightened of getting Covid-19 from their companion animal and secondly they may have adopted the animal rather casually thinking that they needed extra companionship during lockdown but then decided that it wasn’t the right thing for them.
It should be noted that some of the rescue centres reported less cats and dogs being abandoned but in these instances it is more likely that dogs were not abandoned. It appears that the favoured companion animal during lockdown is the dog because there has been a surge in the dog adoptions. This, coincidentally, has resulted in scammers coming out of the woodwork and overcharging for dogs which may have been bred in puppy farms under appalling conditions (in Eastern Europe?). There is always somebody who will exploit someone else when they feel the time is appropriate. The coronavirus pandemic has distorted society allowing scammers to step in in very many areas to take advantage.