With Victoria set to come out of lockdown 4.0, the Cat Protection Society ofVictoria has reported a record month for cat adoptions as Melburnians haveturned to feline support to help reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness.

When the fourth lockdown hit Victoria, the Society returned to onlineadoptions, asking anyone interested in adopting a cat to fill in an onlineapplication form. They received over 100 new applications within a fortnight,contributing to the highest number of feline adoptions during the month of Mayin over five years.

The Society’s Shelter Manager Lisa Agius isn’t surprised by the hugecorrelation between adoption applications and the continued lockdown inMelbourne.

“We’ve always known the superpowers of cats. They have that incredible abilityto calm and comfort their owners, so to see Melburnians crave that connectiononce again during lockdown is no surprise,” she says.

Spokesperson for the Cat Protection Society of Victoria and Research Fellow,Dr Vanessa Rohlf, together with Professor Pauleen Bennett and Dr TiffaniHowell, are currently conducting a La Trobe University study into pets and petownership during the pandemic. Dr Rohlf believes that it is the human responseto connect during a crisis which is a huge driver in the rise in adoptions,which are likely to continue as the pandemic drags on.

“The reason we’re seeing this increase is that humans are social creatures andare hard wired for connection, especially in times of crisis. I think peoplemight be experiencing greater levels of loneliness and isolation, as well asrising levels of stress, so see a pet as easing some of these negativefeelings,” Dr Rohlf says.

“With current restrictions in place, people haven’t been able to turn to theirfriends, family and colleagues for that much-needed social support, so a safeform of social connection is to adopt a cat.”

“Prior to the pandemic, research showed that those who owned a cat reportedtime spent interacting with their cat improved their mood and reduced theirlevels of depressive and anxiety symptoms,” she says.

Pets can also provide safety and routine for their owners, something they arelikely to crave during lockdown, particularly children.

“Pets can offer a stable and secure connection. For many people, the pandemichas disrupted their lives and routines, and having a pet that wakes us up atthe same time every morning for a feed, for example, can give us a reason toget up in the morning. Pets can really offer some certainty, purpose andcomfort during these difficult times,” she says.

The Cat Protection Society of Victoria does advise however that a cat is forlife, and people should ensure they have the resources beyond the pandemic tolook after their pet.

“Do your research and make sure you understand exactly what is required whenit comes to looking after a cat,” says Ms Agius. “Fortunately, through ouradoption process, the extra time we spend with our adoptees has ensured theyare aware that adopting is a lifelong commitment and they’ve been provided allthe information they need to assist with their new ‘furever’ family member.”

A delayed kitten season has meant that the Cat Protection Society of Victoriacontinues to have both cats and kittens available for adoption. Find out moreat www.catprotection.com.au/adoption/

To find out more about Dr Rohlf’s study visit

https://redcap.latrobe.edu.au/redcap/surveys/?s=8HTPTTH79X

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