Pet demand dramatically increases during quarantine

Raven Easterly, In-depth Editor

  From serving as a walking companion to offering a warm, friendly greeting every time someone walks in the door, it’s no secret that pets act as an instant mood-booster. Given the emotional and mental stress that many are experiencing as a result of the pandemic, more pets are being adopted to help improve peoples’ moods. 

  The most common pets people owned were cats and dogs, followed by small mammals and fish; however, there seem to be no variants to the degree in mental health benefits in correlation to what type of pet they own. 

  “My ferret is a baby right now; his name is Meeko, which is the same as the raccoon from Pocahontas,” Madison Contos, senior, said.  

  Out of the 86 students who participated in the survey, 24 had gotten a new pet during the quarantine. Camila Magana, sophomore, is one of these students. 

  “Balla is very vocal about her opinions and territorial, but physically she has black spots on her tongue, and it looks really cool,” Magana said. 

  Some shelters and humane rescue groups have been seeing double the typical number of requests to adopt animals since the pandemic hit the United States in early spring. 

  According to, demand for pets is high, but the number of adoptions was lower last year due to the low supply of animals in the shelters. The shelters have had a waiting list of people wanting to foster a pet, a program that keeps an animal in someone’s home instead of a shelter until it finds a permanent place to live. 

  Some may not have been looking for a pet during quarantine, but when an opportunity arises to own a new pet, they take it.  

  “My mom saw this post on Facebook saying there was a litter of 7 kittens in a house someone was renovating,” Grace Ketchmark, sophomore said. “We went to see them, and I instantly fell in love with Cora. She was the only one not hiding, and when I picked her up, she fell asleep in my arms. I knew then that was the kitten for me.” 

  Loneliness and social isolation are major risk factors for depression and can increase the risk of heart disease, arthritis, type II diabetes, and dementia. A survey done by found that owning a pet during quarantine helps minimize that loneliness and self-isolation. 

  “She’s improved my life at home. I’m in a much better mental state because of her. She is a constant reason to be happy for me,” Ketchmark said.  

  When it eventually comes time for people to return to work, pets may be ill-equipped to handle the long days at home alone. This transition period may create separation anxiety, which is as real for household animals as it is for humans. 

  “Since Xander is always with my mom all the time, he’s grown some separation anxiety with her,” Magana said. 

  It is a concern that after the pandemic, some new pet owners might not have the time or want the responsibility and cost associated with an animal. That could lead to some being returned to shelters. 

  “I appreciate that people put the animals in a place where they can still receive a loving home, but I feel like reaching out to someone you know who you know wants that animal and is in a place where they can care for them is a much better option,” Ketchmark said.