The coronavirus pandemic has inspired hundreds to thousands of people to adopt or get a companion animal. But the sad reality is, the outbreak also forced many humans to abandon their cats and dogs due to several key factors.

“I came here because I don’t go out so often these days, but I spend more time home alone with my child. I thought having a pet would be comforting,” a 40-year-old woman from Tokyo said while visiting a pet shop with her daughter.

Anicom Holdings, Inc. a pet insurance company, reported that the number of people who bought animals in stores saw a 33 percent increase from the same period last year to 53,456 – a record high for the quarter. According to them, the buyers were mostly first-time pet owners.

On the other hand, thousands of people are also giving up their companion animals due to several reasons, with financial difficulties as its number one cause.

Neko Ken, a nonprofit organization that protects or finds home for cats, reportedly took back cats that were given a new home years ago. The owners recently visited the group and told them that “The novel coronavirus has left me with no work, and I cannot afford to keep them anymore.”

From April to June, another nonprofit organization reportedly received 15 other cats and pups from owners who said they could not take care of them anymore.

“Owners are responsible for keeping their pets until they die,” the chairman of Hiroshima Prefecture said. “We urge would-be owners to think well about whether they can fulfill that role.”

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