You have heard of people falling in love at first sight after seeing a picture of someone online they thought would be an ideal partner. Well, that kind of chemistry can happen even between humans and animals. With the pandemic, social distancing is of utmost importance in curbing the spread of the coronavirus infections. Therefore animal shelters have had to be creative in ensuring that they are not swamped with animals, especially now that the breeding season is here and more cats are being born. If you do not know how to adopt a cat virtually in the comfort of your home, here is a detailed guideline as well as success stories to prove that it is possible.
Social media facilitates virtual adoption
Being locked up in your house can have you running out of ideas to keep your children entertained. As much as online classes take up most of their time, kids need a break, and having a pet around can help teach children about responsibility while also providing the much –needed playtime. That was the case with Sonja and her daughter, Amaya. Amaya is an only child hence lacked company once the lockdown order was implemented. Luckily while going through Facebook, mother and daughter came across a Facebook Live video of Wake County Shelter, giving the viewers a virtual shelter tour. The two noticed a cat, Annie, whose outgoing personality and playful nature was all that Amaya needed to chase the blues away.
Sonja and Amaya are not the only people who have taken advantage of social media to find furry friends and virtually adopt them. Marie Solis also helped Ava find her forever home. Marie follows a cat rescue organization, and the pictures they had posted of Ava convinced her that she needed to have the cat with her. Therefore she was asked to interact with Ava on FaceTime, and Marie panicked, wondering how a video chat with a cat would facilitate in making a longtime commitment to providing Ava with a home. However, after seeing Ava on the video for twenty minutes and having her answers answered by Valerie, Ava’s foster home, Marie took only twenty seconds to decide to be Ava’s lifelong companion.
The virtual adoption process for a cat
Before you even decide to go hunting for a pet, ensure that you are fully aware of what it will take to give the animal a comfortable life. Like most animal rescue organizations will advise you, adoption is a commitment, not just physically but financially too. However, if you have weighed the pros and cons of having an animal in your home and still decided to adopt one, you can browse several websites of local animal shelters. However, do not be quick to settle on the first one you will find. Take your time and note that even if you pick a specific animal, he may no longer be available for adoption since most organizations run hectic schedules and may have forgotten to update the list of pets available.
Once you are sure of the cat you want, you should contact the shelter and learn more about the animal. Since, like Ava, the feline is most likely living with a foster parent, you should also schedule a virtual meet and greet with the animal so you can collect all the information before making your decision. If you like what you see and are convinced the cat is meant for you, the foster parent will send you a link to an adoption questionnaire which you will fill and submit online. However, it would be best if you did not get excited yet about becoming a cat parent because there may be others interested in the same cat, and applications are approved on a first-come-first-serve basis.
Still, to be sure that you will provide the cat with everything it will need, you will also have to talk to an HRA staff member, according to Human Rescue Alliance. Such counseling sessions help to provide you with the animal’s background, both medical and behavioral, to prepare you for what is ahead. Once you discard any shred of doubt about the adoption, you can arrange with the foster parent on how to pick the cat while still maintaining social distance.
What if you cannot adopt a pet but still need their company?
If you have severe allergies or your landlord does not permit pets in the building, you can still have pets keep you company wherever you go. Raghav Chabra could also not make that commitment to adopt a cat because his work as a chartered accountant sees him spend most of his time working. Therefore instead of adopting an animal that you will never have time for, Chabra opted to stick to virtual adoption. Unlike Sonja and Marie, who took in cats, Chabra only sees his virtually adopted dog, Franny, online. The accountant pays for everything needed to give Franny, who lives on a farm in Delhi’s outskirts, a comfortable life. For Chabra, although he cannot commit to being with Franny forever, he cannot wait to be spending the weekends with the dog once the lockdown is lifted.
While this may seem like new technology, it has been in existent for over ten years. In 2010, Harris, a Reach-In engineer, tested a mechanical arm in his house and saw that his feline friend would play with it. He found it fascinating and wondered if it would enable his local humane shelter to find more people to adopt the animals. After pitching the idea to the shelter, Harris created a cat room and modified the mechanical arm to have strings and feathers. The engineer made it in such a way that people at home could play with a cat for two minutes by operating the mechanical arms and watching a cat play with it. As he told the Philadelphia Business Journal, that innovation helped people interact with pets from the comfort of their home, thus eliminating the need for them to drive down to the shelter. Besides, it enabled pet adoptions to increase since prospective pet owners could pick the right cat for them.