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Potential Wave Of Dogs And Cats In 2021 A Cause for Concern

2020 has been a strange year for many reasons here at the Home but particularly in terms of the number of dogs and cats coming to us. With a 4 month lockdown earlier in the year the number of dogs and cats who have come to us is significantly down compared to 2019. While it is great news that many dogs and cats are remaining with their owners in loving homes we are concerned about a potential wave of dogs and cats coming in to us in the future but can only speculate in uncertain times.

Despite a decline in animals we have seen many more kittens being brought to us or being born at the Home, luckily they are popular and easy to rehome. Worryingly though the portion of dogs who have come into the Home because of behavioural issues has increased and although we can only speculate why this is the case, separation anxiety and other issues related to restrictions are a concern and could be a trend going forward. Our dedicated team are experienced at resolving these issues and are working hard on training plans to prepare these dogs to find their forever homes.

Due to social distancing and government restrictions we have had to adapt our way of doing things as it’s been impossible for potential new owners to come to the Home and meet our dogs and cats as they have in the past. We’ve been forced to move our rehoming process online and despite this being a challenge initially this process means our staff can dedicate more time to the care and enrichment of the dogs and cats onsite as well as making us more successful at finding forever homes for our dogs and cats. An important part of the process is ensuring potential new owners are thinking about the future, post pandemic and ensuring they are adequately prepared for the commitment of a dog or cat for the future to ensure we find them forever homes.

October marked the one year anniversary of our pet foodbank offering struggling owners support to help feed their pets and keep them in loving homes. We’re now expanding the service into the community by linking up with other charities and community groups with already established connections in their community to get dog and cat food to those in need. This way we can reach many more people and their pets and a wider reach into the Lothians, Fife, the Borders and wider Edinburgh. Since October we have been in contact with 31 groups and already supported over 450 pets and their owners across the South East of Scotland with the help of a team of volunteers and while adhering to the Scottish government regulations. This hasn’t been easy during a pandemic but it’s likely even more pet owners will face hardship this year and we want to do all we can to support them and their dogs and cats.

It’s difficult to predict what the future will hold and what will happen once the furlough scheme ends and people return to work. It’s possible there could be an influx of animals coming to us at some point and that we will continue to see young animals coming to us as they grow from kittens and puppies into cats and dogs who require more enrichment and exercise. All we can do is continue to care for the dogs and cats who come to us, continue to support pets and their owners in the community and prepare optimistically for what 2021 will bring.

Jamie Simpson

Director of Operations

Jamie is the Director of Operations at Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home. He has an extensive past experience in operational and commercial roles working in international education and in the tourism industry.

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