Since the start of the COVID-19 Pandemic, the process of adopting out cats and kittens has been hampered, putting additional strain on animal shelters in Barrie.
Mark Adams from Furry Friends Animal Shelter says they typically have between 75-100 cats in the shelter at any time, with an additional 56 cats arriving at their door since mid-March when the provincial shutdown began.
“Having a 50 percent increase in just a few weeks was difficult to manage. We couldn’t bring them directly into the shelter, we also couldn’t do adoptions which created a real pressure point in terms of numbers,” Adams says.
Furry Friends is a volunteer, non-profit, no-kill shelter that has been running with a small group of essential volunteers since they had to shut their doors. With the physical shelter being closed to the public, they have relied heavily on volunteer foster families.
“We now have 65 foster homes that are caring for 120+ cats & kittens, that’s on top of the 70+ cats in the shelter. When kitten season arrives, we anticipate needing to house over 200 kittens too,” Adams shares.
The good news is that even though adoption rates are down, interest has been through the roof.
“We have lots of online applications from potential adopters patiently waiting for their furry friend,” Adams says.
Volunteers have come up with innovative ways to find these animals a home by launching a pilot program that arranges for a contactless adoption process. Through this program, they have placed 20 foster cats in permanent homes since the beginning of May.
Using their new website, furryfriendsbarrie.com, potential owners can browse through adoptable cats, learn more about them, then find a suitable match. It also allows owners to post if they have lost their pet, or have found a stray.
“We look forward to rolling out this program and sending even more deserving cats and kittens into their ‘furever’ homes,” Adams says.
Currently, the Board and key shelter volunteers are putting policies in place to maintain everyone’s safety as they plan to re-open their doors on June 30.
The organization is putting the call out for more foster families. The application can be completed on-line. The cost of food and vet care are covered.
They also need donations of wet food for shelter cats and those in foster care.
feature image courtesy of Furry Friends Animal Shelter via facebook