2020 was certainly a year we won’t forget anytime soon. However, rather than social distancing, masks, and COVID, we will remember it as the year that our community came out in force to support our mission in various ways. We’ve always known that cat lovers are a special group, but 2020 showed us that in ways we couldn’t imagine.
The most obvious success is the number of adoptions we performed in 2020. When we decided to go ahead with contactless adoptions in April 2020, we weren’t sure how people would react. After over a year of contactless and later socially distanced adoptions, we now have our answer: the reaction was overwhelmingly positive. As you can see from the graphic below, we adopted out over 200 more cats and kittens that we normally do in the average year. We never expected to see such a large increase in adoptions, but we are certainly glad we were here to meet the need for companionship and love during a difficult year.
In addition to adoptions, our supporters were exceptionally generous in gifts. We sent out our Annual Appeal letter in November, and by January 2021, we had received double the amount of donations we normally do at the end of the year. Again, we are in awe of how generous people can be during such troubling times. These additional donations will help offset lost revenue from retail sales and services, plus helped cover the increased costs of getting an extra 200 cats ready for adoption!
As 2021 began, a number of our foster homes were empty. Our Wisconsin transfer partners were in good shape thanks to lower intake and record adoptions, so we looked out of state for cats to transfer to Wisconsin for the first time in Angel’s Wish history. Unfortunately, in some regions of the US, most cats entering shelters are still at risk of euthanasia for space. We partnered with two rescues in Arkansas and one in Louisiana to bring 120 cats and kittens to our organization and give them a second chance at a forever home. Many of these transfers were moms and their nursing kittens who are still growing up in our foster homes. While our Quarter One adoption numbers may look smaller compared to 2020, we still celebrate each of those 196 adoptions as a success in itself. After an unusual year, it’s nice to see something going back to normal.
Unfortunately, we’re still a little while away from things going back to completely normal. While the news of vaccinations and decreasing number and severity of COVID cases in the US is encouraging, the Angel’s Wish Board of Directors feels our safest course of action is to continue adoptions by appointment only. Rest assured, we are excited to open, safely, when we’re able to. We’ve already started talking about the tasks we need to complete and the procedures we need to put in place to keep our volunteers and adopters safe. While we all wish we could be together again, we want to make sure we’re taking the appropriate precautions and have the best information when we open our doors again.
As kitten season 2021 starts gearing up, we look forward to another year full of adoptions, whether that’s adoptions by appointment, in-person adoption events, or a combination of both. Our community of supporters helped us weather the challenges COVID threw in our path, and we will always be grateful for each donation, social media share, recommendations to friends, adoption, and the countless other ways we’ve been supported. We wish the best to you as the weather grows warmer, the plants grow taller, and the future looks brighter.