Alex Romano

(Rock Hill, S.C.) — Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, pet adoption rates have soared across the country, as many adoption centers have reported an increase in people wanting some form of companionship, due to an increased amount of isolation that people have been experiencing.

Kayty Harrelson, manager of the Mac Tabby Cat Café in Charlotte, said they have experienced an increase in foot traffic and adoptions since reopening during the pandemic last April.

“We’ve actually been completely sold out in our cat lounge capacity for the past three weekends in a row,” said Harrelson. “Cats just have a very calm and healing energy just by themselves, they’re your ideal armchair, every-day companion.”

Kenna Wright, who recently adopted from the café, said she adopted her cat so she would have a companion during quarantine.

“I wanted a kitten that would be snuggly with me. My older cats do not like to snuggle at all, so I wanted a little companion to get me through the quarantine and just be my little friend,” said Wright.

Victoria Howard, a recent Winthrop University graduate, said the isolation, due to the pandemic, played a role in her decision to adopt.

“I’m at home by myself most of the time and I already have one cat, so I wanted a friend for him, since we’re not seeing that many people these days. So, I wanted to just have another buddy around to hang out with,” said Howard.

While there are more people looking to adopt during the pandemic, health and safety guidelines due to COVID-19 have posed a challenge for some adoption centers to bring in prospective pet owners.

Dana Good, store manager of PetSmart in Rock Hill, said that while they have had many people interested in adopting from their store, they have not been able to keep up with the demand.

“With the groups not being able to come in as often due to the pandemic, of course we weren’t able to adopt out that many cats,” said Good.

However, Good said they have been able to refer many people to other places to adopt.

“I do have to say though, we were able to direct people to animal control and shelters to adopt those pets, where the numbers were remarkable in that way, because people were looking for pets to adopt,” said Good.