IBNS: For the petcare industry across the globe, pandemic sparks growth and creativity. Alyse Pfeil, Stephen Vierling, Lucas Owens and Heather Wang from the USA’s Midwest and Amir Bin Rafi from India’s Kashmir report.
Two orange tabby cats pawed at each other playfully near the feet of their owner, Eli Bolding.
The cats, named Tax Fraud and Ponzi Scheme, are brothers who were inseparable at the shelter they were adopted from, and they remain that way today. They get noticeably anxious when apart from each other for too long.
Bolding, of Columbia, Missouri, says the cats fill a void in his life — as pets do for millions of others around the world.
“I get to college, I’m kind of here on my own … everything’s fun … but there’s something missing,” said Bolding. “Now that I have a cat it feels right.”
During the COVID-19 pandemic, pet ownership rose sharply across the world. In the pandemic’s early months, lockdowns forced people to stay home. When restrictions loosened, some continued to work from home. Many brought new pets into those homes for companionship, and others grew closer to the pets they already had.
Businesses worldwide reacted, rushing to meet their needs with everything from pet food to veterinary care to elaborate dog parks. The already-flourishing pet care industry in the U.S. grew even bigger, while a burgeoning pet care industry in India also saw significant growth.
According to a 2022 Forbes Advisor survey, 78% of pet owners got pets during the pandemic. In Missouri, operators of dog shelters in the St. Louis area and Columbia said they saw huge upticks in adoptions.
“Initially, we saw a lot of dogs being adopted (during the pandemic),” said Jennifer Alley of Dirk’s Fund Golden Retriever & Large Breed Rescue near St. Louis. “We, maybe in a two week period, only had seven dogs…