Wannabe rabbit, cat cuddlers inundate city with applications

Toronto Animal Services says it has been overwhelmed by responses to its call for rabbit and cat cuddlers and is no longer looking for volunteers — for now.

More than 900 people volunteered to snuggle pets at 3 shelters, Toronto Animal Services says

Toronto Animal Services says they received hundreds of applications from wannabe rabbit and cat snugglers to help socialize the animals for adoption. (Vessey Studio)

Toronto Animal Services says it has been overwhelmed by responses to its call for rabbit and cat cuddlers and is no longer looking for volunteers — for now.

The city has ongoing volunteer opportunities for cat and rabbit snugglers at three of its shelters, but was inundated with hundreds of people submitting applications for the position in the past week.

Mayor John Tory tweeted earlier this week that due to more than 900 responses, Toronto Animal Services has more than enough volunteers.

Mary Lou Leiher, program manager for animals services, says that doesn't mean they won't need more people in the future, but they are not currently accepting new applications.

She says the recent flood of applications appear to have spread after a volunteer reposted one of their calls for more animal snugglers on social media.

Leiher says the program helps socialize sheltered animals and also helps them get adopted.

"When animals are stressed, they get sick, so the volunteers help keep the animals less stressed," she said. "And it's good for the people, too — spending time with a cat, rabbit or a pocket pet can be relaxing."