CORONAVIRUS

Utah Cats, Dogs Up For Adoption Finding Homes At Record Rate

Dec 30, 2020, 6:38 PM | Updated: 10:07 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – 2020 has been full of heartache, but there’s a silver lining for unwanted pets. Cats and dogs up for adoption are finding homes in Utah now more than ever before.

There’s been no shortage of cats at the Casteel home in Salt Lake City.

“Salsa and Dip. Apple butter,” said 8-year-old Aria Casteel. “Jean, Janet and Dawn, Jade, Aloe and Sunburst.”

Candace Casteel said her family has fostered 15 cats and one dog since March.

“Max was our only foster dog, and he was very annoying,” said Aria.

Aria and her younger sister, Zoe, love playing with them.

“They sing them lullabies and snuggle them in their shirts or blankets,” said Candace.

COVID-19 has been a boon for unwanted pets. Utahns have stepped up to foster and adopt in record numbers.

“Working from home and having a foster pet or a newly adopted pet, people realize that animals sleep most of the day,” laughed Temma Martin, spokesperson for Best Friends Animal Society. “They really don’t need that much.”

At Best Friends alone, nearly 5,000 animals have been placed in foster homes this year. That’s 2,000 more than last year, and 3,050 pets found forever homes in 2020 at the animal sanctuary, compared to 2,514 last year.

Shelters have adapted to COVID-19 by doing virtual visits with prospective pet parents. They found that animals show better in a home where they’re calm and relaxed.

“They’re able to share an animal’s likes and dislikes, their quirks, how they get along with other animals, how they get along with family members,” Temma said.

Possibly changing the roll of animal shelters forever. It could make them less a brick and mortar holding space and more a virtual hub for connecting animals to forever homes.

“Now we know the community is there to help,” Martin said. “They want to foster, they want to adopt.”

The Casteels are currently fostering a cat named Holly Berry, who they’ve had for four weeks.

“She’s really shy and so we’re trying to work on that,” Candace said.

The mother of two said caring for her and all the others is gratifying.

“Knowing that they’re good to go with a family forever is kind of a good feeling, just to know that you helped out in getting them on their way.”

Utah is now closer to becoming a no-kill state, meaning 10% or fewer of shelter animals are euthanized. The state would be only the second in the nation to achieve that distinction.

For those who would like to foster or adopt an animal in need with Best Friends, visit the organization’s website and click “Get Involved.”

If you’d like to help other shelters and groups throughout the state, go to NoKillUtah for a list of 62 NKUT coalition partners. You can also check in with your local shelters.

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Utah Cats, Dogs Up For Adoption Finding Homes At Record Rate