Isolated and alone, Australians turn to pets during coronavirus shutdown

A dog sits in its enclosure at Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals New South Wales shelter, during a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Sydney, Australia, April 1, 2020

For Chris Moysa, a Sydney schoolteacher, the spread of coronavirus means long days at home without company. But like scores of other Australians, Moysa now has a new housemate after he adopted a cat named Fred.

“It’s just the companionship, having something around, makes you smile, they do stupid stuff,” Moysa told Reuters as he strokes Fred, a white cat with black markings, who was looking for a new home after being in and out of foster homes.

“They hang out with you, they don’t judge you, the love is unconditional so what’s not to like.”

Like in many countries, Australians have for weeks been told to stay home to fight coronavirus.

The social distancing measures have helped slow the spread of coronavirus in Australia, with the growth rate in new infections falling by nearly two-thirds in a week.

But it leaves many people isolated and lonely.

To fill the void, Steve Coleman, chief executive officer of The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in New South Wales, said many people have turned to animals.

“In the weekend just gone we saw almost a 300% increase in the adoptions across our state, which is just terrific,” Coleman told us.

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