Wednesday 28 April 2021

Cats and dogs have been as important as human family members during the pandemic

A survey conducted online about the human-to-cat (and dog) relationship threw up the following information. The survey was conducted by the dog and cat well-being business Paws Group.

  • 70% of dog and cat owners believe that their companion animal helped them with their mental health during lockdowns during the Covid-19 pandemic;
  • 70% of children also benefited, according to their parents, from living with a dog or cat during the Covid-19 restrictions:
  • 61% of owners used their companion animal for comfort during the pandemic;
  • Of those cat and dog owners who are married or living with a partner, 67% said that their companion animal was just as important for their well-being as their human partner;
  • 49% agreed that talking to their dog or cat is easier than talking to a human family member;
  • 47% felt that their cat or dog might suffer from separation anxiety when the lockdowns end;
  • 38% agreed that they would like to take their cat or dog to work in the future (I guess this has come about because they have had much more time with their companion animal working from home under the coronavirus restrictions).

Comment: for me, the results are expected and perhaps predictable. To other people they might not be, particularly the statistic about it being easier to talk to a cat or dog than a human partner. Or perhaps, on reflection, it isn't unexpected when you think about it!

Cats and dogs have been more important than human family members during the pandemic?
Cats and dogs have been more important than human family members during the pandemic? Photo: Pixabay.

One of the perennial sayings from companion animal owners is that they love their companion animals unconditionally. It seems that they can pour more love into an animal than they can a person. And the love is reciprocated or that is they way feel. The love is purer, therefore, than perhaps a typical human-to-human relationship.

We also know of the very many search projects which confirm time and again that children benefit enormously from a relationship with an animal, particularly children with conditions such as ADHD and autism. You don't have to go far in your search on the Internet to find the truth in that statement.

The pandemic lockdowns have brought people nearer to their companion animals which is a good thing. However, the consequences of these lockdowns is not all good with respect to the health and welfare of these animals. There have been a lot of fresh adoptions by arguably unprepared new companion animal guardians who perhaps don't have quite the right mindset to take on the responsibility of looking after their animal for the life of the animal.

It almost seems that they wanted to adopt a cat or dog to see them through the pandemic and after that, when they go back to their offices, they intend to relinquish their pet either in an online sale or via a rescue centre. That paints a rather negative picture but there have been many reports from cat rescue organisations who have expressed this fear.

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