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Old 10-16-2008, 05:56 PM
aliciahorsley aliciahorsley is offline
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Default interesting read about shelter design

Minimum requirements for cats housed in shelters

1. Size: 10.8 ft2 or greater floor space with 2 ft or greater height. At least 1 square meter of floor area per cage for singly housed cats is required in order to prevent excessive stress levels.[1] Enclosures for cats must allow the cat to stand up, turn around, lie on its side with legs extended, stretch, and exercise other normal postural movements in any direction without touching the sides of the enclosure. The height should be high enough to allow the cat to stand on its hind legs & fully extend its front legs without touching the roof of the enclosure. [2]
2. Hiding box. All shelter cats should be provided with appropriate places for concealment which comfortably allow the cat not to see or be seen by the public. [3-5]
3. Design your cat housing to allow cleaning without disruption of the cat. Large single cage with carrier that stays in the cage, double sided cage, walk in run or small group room. This facilitates disease control and dramatically reduces staff time for cleaning.
4. Double-compartment housing. In addition to allowing for easy cleaning without disruption, double sided cages or compartments allow for distinct separation of elimination areas from feeding and resting areas and promote friendlier behavior that may increase likelihood of adoption.[6]
5. Minimize moves. If possible design cat housing such that minimal housing changes need to occur. Frequent cage changes are stressful and increases the risk of viral reactivation and illness.[7]
6. Reduce noise and visual stressors. There should be no visual or auditory exposure to dogs. Exposure to dogs and other loud noises is a significant stressor for shelter cats. [8]
7. Separation between feeding, resting & elimination areas. Cats are fastidious animals and should have their food and litter boxes separated by at least 1.5 feet or greater. [9] ( Recommend minimum of 3 feet)
8. Soft bedding. Cats prefer soft sleeping surfaces over harder surfaces such as metal.[10, 11] Specifically, cats with bedding at least 3 inches thick had longer periods of REM sleep than cats on other surfaces. Sound sleep plays a factor in optimizing behavioral and physical well being in cats as in other species.[12]
9. One resting shelf A raised resting surface should be included in all cat cages. [2, 10, 13, 14]
10. Adequate lighting. Circadian rhythms( the 24 hour activity cycle of animals) occur in response to light conditions. At minimum a 12 hour light/12 hour dark cycle is acceptable.[15]
11. Environmental Enrichment. (socialization, toys, food toys, etc) As is appropriate for the individual cat.

Ideal recommendations for cats housed in shelters.
All of above, plus:
1. Indoor-outdoor access
2. Multiple shelves / climbing structures
3. Walk-in runs with floor area of at least 18 ft2 floor space. (necessary requirement for long term housing- to give cat ability to run and move freely)
4. Cats are not required to make housing changes. (ie. cats are housed from intake until adoption in the same cage/housing.)
5. Consider group housing on a case by case basis for long-term stays.
6. Providing cats with exposure to natural lighting.
7. Cat housing should be elevated off of the floor level and not higher than what is manageable by staff for cleaning and care when staff is standing on the floor.
8. Daily visual stimulation. (Window to view outdoors, playing, etc)

For more information on shelter cat housing please visit sheltermedicine.com

1. Kessler, M.R., Turner, D.C., Effects of density and cage size on stress in domestic cats housed in animal shelters an dboarding catteries. Animal Welfare, 1999. 8: p. 259-267.
2. The guide for the care and use of laboratory animals, N.R. Council, Editor. 1996, National Academy Press: Washington DC.
3. Carlstead K, B.J., Strawn W. , Behavioral and physiological correlates of stress in laboratory cats. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 1993. 38: p. 143-158.
4. S, M., Temperment and the welfare of caged cats. 1992, University of Cambridge.
5. James, A.E., The laboratory cat. The Australian and New Zealand Council for the Care of Animals in Research and Teaching News, 1995. 8: p. 1-8.
6. Overall, K.L., Recognizing and Managing Problem Behavior in Breeding Catteries., in August JR, ed. Consultations in feline internal medicine. 1997. p. 634-646.
7. Gaskell, R.M. and R.C. Povey, Experimental induction of feline viral rhinotracheitis virus re-excretion in FVR-recovered cats. Vet Rec, 1977. 100(7): p. 128-33.
8. McCobb, E.C., et al., Assessment of stress levels among cats in four animal shelters. J Am Vet Med Assoc, 2005. 226(4): p. 548-55.
9. Rochlitz, I., Comfortable quarters for laboratory animals in research institutions, In: Reinhardt, V., Reinhardt, A., eds. Comfortable quarters for laboratory animals., A.W. Institute, Editor. 2002: Washington D.C.
10. Ibanez M, D.M., Cats showing comfort or well-being behavior in cages with an enriched and controlled environment., in Third International Congress on Veterinary Behavior Medicine. 2001. p. 50-52.
11. Hawthorne AJ, L.G., Horrocks LJ. The behaviour of domestic cats in response to a variety of surface-textures. in Second International Conference on Environmental Enrichment. 1995.
12. Crouse, S.J., et al., Soft surfaces: a factor in feline psychological well-being. Contemp Top Lab Anim Sci, 1995. 34(6): p. 94-7.
13. Smith D, D.K., Roy D, et al, Behavioral aspects of the welfare of rescued cats. Journal of the Feline Advisory Bureau, 1994. 31: p. 25-28.
14. Rochlitz, I., A.L. Podberscek, and D.M. Broom, Welfare of cats in a quarantine cattery. Vet Rec, 1998. 143(2): p. 35-9.
15. Houpt, K.A., Domestic Animal Behavior for Veterinarians and Animal Scientists. 4th ed. 2005: Blackwell Publishing.
Alicia Ling Horsley
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Old 10-19-2008, 03:06 AM
ashleywong ashleywong is offline
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Default Re: interesting read about shelter design

Hi Alicia

thanks so much for sharing this information. It is indeed valuable information, not only for in business providing boarding facilities, for shelters for homeless animals BUT also for "private" pet owners - these are the basics that one must be able to provide (maybe not exactly the same dimensions and all of the above) to one's feline if one is inclined to keep it in a cage for some reason

the best is always not to keep them in a cage ..but if the need arises then the above information should suffice as a basic guideline for a more humane and conscentious way of providing for your cat

i believe if one is not able to provide the basics for a cat, then one shouldn't adopt at all, not even keep a pet.

that's my two cents. yes, this is my censure to those who read this thread and are guilty of confining their cats to cages (exception of for training reason which is short term).

thanks once again for sharing with us
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Old 10-19-2008, 07:23 PM
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hourus hourus is offline
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Red face Re: interesting read about shelter design

ermmm.....is there anything for dogs?

zzzzzz.....woof woof
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