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Kennel Enrichment for Kitties 101: A Little Privacy, Please

In-kennel enrichment… it’s not just for dogs. For the third installment in her series, the ASPCA’s Alex Mirontschuk, Manager, Shelter Research & Development, covers chill-out spaces and hiding places for shelter cats.

Hiding spots are very important for making cats feel more comfortable during a stay in the shelter.  However, many shelters are hesitant to give cats such a space for fear they may remain out of view of potential adopters. The good news? We may not have to choose. A study published in the journal Animal Welfare showed that cats who have a place to get away show significantly less stress than those who do not AND are more likely to approach the front of the cage. Having the hiding spot did not increase the number of days to adoption or reduce the number of cats adopted.

Here are some options for hiding spots, from no-frills and cheap thrills to major multitaskers:

- What cat doesn't love a paper bag? They make great (and truly low-cost!) hiding places and retreat spaces, which are called for in The Association of Shelter Veterinarians Guidelines for Standards of Care in Animal Shelters. Along the same lines, you can also try shoeboxes.

Photo credit: Katie Watts

- The Hide, Perch & Go™ box also serves as an elevated perch and converts into a carrier when it is time to go home.

- Winning combination: An elevated shelf that is partially draped by a blanket or towel. UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program has great instructions for making your own, or you can use Kuranda cat beds.

How are you providing places of retreat for the cats in your care? Don't hide your responses—please leave them in comment box!

Related links:
“Kennel Enrichment for Kitties 101: Fun on the Cheap”
“Kennel Enrichment for Kitties 101: Keep 'Em Thinking!”
“The Hidden Life of Shelter Cats”
Enrichment For Shelter Cats

Comments

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We provide cardboard boxes that are donated and put towels/blankets in them. New kitties also get a towel clipped to the kennel door the first day to make the whole kennel feel safer.

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Great ideas! We love the Hide, Perch and Go boxes! We'll have to try the 'winning combination' idea, too!

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