By Marie Haaland // SWNS



It takes the average American four months and 20 days of searching to find “the one” — that is, their four-legged soulmate, according to new research.

The survey of 2,000 American cat and dog owners delved into the process of finding the right addition to the family after deciding to get a new furry friend.

It’s not always an easy task: half of respondents said they went to three or more shelters while looking for a pet, and during their search, the average respondent said they spent six hours and 24 minutes per week scrolling through pet adoption sites.

But it’s worth it to find “the one,” and six in 10 said it was “love at first sight” when they found their pet — while 63% said their pet is their four-legged soulmate.

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Royal Canin for National Pet Foster Care Month in May, the survey looked at fostering cats and dogs, and the bond that fostering can help create.

Of those who have fostered (75%), the majority (69%) said fostering helped them to become a more confident pet owner.

Sixty-eight percent of those who have fostered admit they’ve “foster failed,” wherein they ended up adopting one of their foster pets.

Of those, 87% said they knew they wanted to adopt their foster pet “immediately” after meeting them — and 73% said fostering first helped them create an even stronger bond with their pet.

But not everyone is fostering with the hope of adopting: interestingly enough, 52% said they want to ensure animals have a good temporary home before being adopted.



Twenty-three percent said they fostered because they were looking to adopt a pet, while 20% said it was a mix of both.

Regardless, 81% of pet foster parents said they love giving foster pets a place to stay until they can find their forever home.

“Fostering is one of the greatest gifts you can give to a pet until they go to their forever home. Not only are you saving a life, but you’re also freeing up space at a shelter for another animal in need,” said Catherine Lenox, veterinarian with Royal Canin. “First-time foster parents will face many challenges such as training their rescue on how to live in a home, but watching their rescue become a pet is truly rewarding.” 

A third (33%) of those who have fostered a cat or dog said it was “very easy,” but as any pet parent can attest, having a furry friend can still come with challenges.

Before fostering for the first time, the top thing people wish they knew more about was what they needed to have, versus what the shelter/organization would provide (53%).

In addition to that, respondents wish they had more information about how to get their home ready ahead of time (50%) and wish they knew how hard it could be to say goodbye (45%).

These are lessons many have learned recently: results found 29% of those who fostered did so for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Whether you’re a first-time foster parent or ready to foster again, it’s important to have your home ready for a new rescue, learn the basic training techniques and be prepared for the emotional toll it can take on sending your rescue to their forever home,” said Catherine Lenox, veterinarian with Royal Canin. “Foster parents are not alone in this journey as there are plenty of resources and networks to support them.”



  1. What I need to have versus what the shelter/organization will provide 53%
  2. How to get my house ready ahead of time 50%
  3. How hard it can be to say goodbye 45%
  4. The best way to introduce them to other pets 39%
  5. How rewarding it can be 39%

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