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Pandemic-era pet adoption is on the rise

2 weeks ago by Julia Gray in

It took about three days of quarantine for my roommates and I to consider adopting a cat. Our furry friend would give us an activity, we reasoned, a sense of purpose. Surely, adding another creature to the mix would provide entertainment for when our jokes get stale. A cat would be the perfect scapegoat for when we're at each other's throats about who let the cast-iron skillet soak for too long. "Mittens did it!" Oh, how we'd laugh and laugh.

After some deliberation, we decided to hold off. After all, who would care for Mittens if we all got sick? The truth is, nobody knows how Coronavirus will affect us. You could be perfectly healthy today and wind up in the hospital next month. But for now, we're cooped up in quarantine, seeking comfort without clarity on the future. And what's more comforting than a tender little animal who has no idea that the world is crumbling?

The number of pets adopted from PetSmart ($PETSMART) has continued to rise since Thinknum started tracking the company's data in 2017, and it hasn't slowed down with the Coronavirus outbreak.

From the beginning of February through the beginning of March, the number of "lives saved" on PetSmart.com has gone up from 9.13 million to 9.17 million. In just two weeks, it grew to 9.23 million.

Those lucky enough to already have a pet are likely spending a lot of time with them, and play time is limited to indoors. As owners look for ways to engage with their pets and keep them stimulated, the average category rank for dog toys among Amazon's ($NASDAQ:AMZN) best-selling products has shot up from 96 to 63, 34% in just a few days. (A lower data point signifies a higher ranking on the chart below.)

Companionship is a hot commodity as we self-quarantine and social distance. We're reshaping our lives with no real end in sight. Adopting a panic pet might seem extreme, but no more so than spending a year in isolation. 

About the Data:

Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales. 

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Julia Gray

Julia is Thinknum's Innovation Editor. She also writes about music, art, and culture for the Washington Post, Playboy, Stereogum, Uproxx, and Paper Magazine.

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