At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, people were adopting animals like crazy, but now the number of people seeking to adopt cats has slowed down.
Now there's an influx of cats, especially older cats, at the Animal Humane Society's shelters that need homes.
"The desire to adopt dogs skyrocketed and that need has been difficult to meet because transportation of adoptable dogs from shelters in the south have slowed way down due to the need for a lot of extra precautions due to COVID-19," Sarah Bhimani of the Animal Humane Society told BMTN on Tuesday.
"We did adopt out a lot of shelter cats in the beginning of the pandemic as well, but the number of people adopting cats, especially adult cats, has decreased."
There are currently about 70 cats available for adoption within the Animal Humane Society's system, which is a little more than the number of cats at the shelter at this time last year.
"We're at the tail end of kitten season, so we'll continue to see more adult cats needing homes," Bhimani said.
The animals currently available for adoption from AHS' shelters in Coon Rapids, Golden Valley and Woodbury can be found here. Though, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, shelters aren't open to the public. Instead, people who are interested in adopting an animal need to fill out an online adoption interest form and then they'll be able to meet the animal by appointment.
Finding forever homes for cats is especially important seeing as the overpopulation of cats in Minnesota is still a problem. This is caused by a strong population of feral cats, which are usually unsterilized and breed frequently.
"Feral cats would not do well in a home, so the best way to control their population is through trap-neuter/spay-release," Bhimani said. "By sterilizing feral cats and then returning them to where they were trapped, they’ll continue to use resources, but won’t be able to reproduce, decreasing the free-roaming cat population over time."
The Animal Humane Society has a community cats program that offers free neuter/spay services for feral cats.