Unemployment skyrocketed during COVID-19 and people are struggling to put food on the table. If cat parents can’t afford to feed themselves, they’ll likely struggle to make ends meet for their pets.
When you are hurt, you know you are not alone. The ASPCA recently released new data showing that more than 4.2 million pets in the US are likely to fall into poverty due to COVID-19 in the next six months.
“With the potential for a sustained 10% national unemployment rate, the total number of animals living in poverty with their owners could rise to more than 24.4 million dogs, cats, horses and other animals – a 21% increase in the number of animals living in poverty compared to pre-COVID estimates [in February 2020]“Says Jessica Sweeney, senior program manager for ASPCA Community Engagement. “The number of families who may have trouble looking after their pets is staggering.”
The ASPCA then set up food distribution centers. The organization helped store the shelter’s pantries. Sweeney offers advice on finding this and other resources if you need help feeding your cat and no one should be ashamed to ask for help.
Find an ASPCA Food Distribution Center
As COVID-19 began to devastate the economy this spring, the ASPCA rushed to set up food distribution centers in New York, Los Angeles (El Monte and South El Monte) and Miami (Liberty City). Sweeney says residents of these areas can call the ASPCA Pet Food Distribution Helpline at 800-738-9437 for information and to make an appointment.
Look for a pantry
Those who do not live in an area with an ASPCA Food Distribution Center are out of luck – the local animal shelters run food banks and pantries. Pet owners can google “pet food storage near me” to find one. Local animal shelters and vets can also help you point in the right direction.
Look out in the hallways
Pet stores like PetsMart and Petco often have patterns in the aisles. They can try to stock up on these to surprise you. You can also have coupons that you can use. If you can’t find one, call your favorite salesperson and explain your situation. They may be ready to send you coupons or free samples.
Do not be shy
Asking for help can be emotional. You may feel inadequate because you cannot afford cat food or you are embarrassed to ask for help, but you shouldn’t. Organizations are here to help.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has presented pet owners with unprecedented challenges by draining essential owners’ resources and making it difficult for people to access the supplies and services they need to care for their pets,” says Sweeney. “We believe that pets and humans belong together. that financial circumstances alone are not a reliable indicator of the ability to love and care for a companion animal. “
Featured photo: Chalabala | Getty Images
Continue reading: Coronavirus and Cats: What Cat Owners Need to Know About COVID-19