KANSAS CITY, Mo. — With federal unemployment benefits over and eviction moratoriums, lifted some people are facing eviction and foreclosure notices. And in some cases, those with pets are left with no option but to surrender them at animal shelters.
Virgil is the latest guest staying at Matt Kizaric's home.
"I've enjoyed it so much more than I thought I would," Kizaric said.
Kizaric began fostering cats with special needs from the KC Pet Project (KCPP) right before the onset of the pandemic.
"I'd probably go a little bit crazy if I didn't have, you know, another, another living thing in here to kind of like keep me some company," Kizaric said.
There's no doubt these domestic creatures can soothe the soul in these times we're living in.
"Because that pet provides so much love and joy to that family and to have them, to have to part with that animal during such a stressful time would be just devastating," Tori Fugate, KC Pet Project chief communications officer, said.
But as evictions are on the rise so the animals arriving at shelters. So far this year, more than 1,550 pets have been brought into the KC Pet Project – 258 of them surrendered because of housing reasons.
"If people were to give up breed restrictions and weight restrictions and a lot of housing, that would open up so much more housing opportunities for people in Kansas City," Fugate said, "and also the pet deposits, some of them are outrageous, asking, you know, for $400 per animal."
KCPP staff are preparing for an influx they haven't seen before.
"We're looking into ways that we can help people and their pet stay together," Fugate said, "and we're actively exploring opportunities for short-term fostering."
And it doesn't take much know-how to welcome a dog or cat into a new home.
"I had no experience with cats doing it, but they're so good down at the shelter that they've really – they really taught me how to do all that kind of stuff," Kizaric said.
For more information on how to foster an animal from the KC Pet Project, visit the group's website.