The Association of Shelter Veterinarians (ASV) compiled the Guidelines for Standards of Care in Animal Shelters to provide research-based guidelines that will help any sheltering operation meet the physical, medical, and behavioral needs of the animals in their care. The ASPCA and ASV presented a series of 1-hour webinars through early 2012, each spotlighting a section of the ASV guidelines.
This webinar covers:
Cage/kennel size, setup, and materials
The importance of compartments and visual choices
Differing needs of dogs and cats
Use of adoption-driven capacity
Top Tips from This Webinar
Room to Breathe
How big should an enclosure be? Each animal in the shelter needs room to:
Easily stand, sit, and stretch
Move his head without touching the top of the enclosure
Lie in a comfortable position with limbs extended
Move about and assume a comfortable posture for eating, drinking, and elimination
Hold his tail erect (applies to cats and dogs)
Give Some "Alone Time"
Animals in the shelter should be able to see out of their cages but also have the opportunity to avoid visual contact with nearby animals. Given a choice, cats will spend only about half their time within visual contact with other felines. One way to provide kitty privacy is to buy or make a partial cage cover that blocks the view through half of the front of the cage. (Visual barriers don't tend to work as well for dogs.)
Create a free parvovirus protocol in minutes
Show, Don't Tell
Once you've worked out the ideal cat-cage setup, take a photograph and post it where staff and volunteers can refer to it as a model when setting up clean cages. Here are some key tips:
Maximize the distance between litter, sleeping, and food/water areas.
If possible, use elevated food and water dishes mounted to the cage door.
If the cage size permits, use an insert to contain litter to the litterbox area.
Allow each cat enough vertical space in the litterbox area to use it comfortably.
A Great Crate Escape
Although dogs shouldn't be housed in crates — even if it's just for a few days — crates with their doors removed can be used inside kennels to offer both a cozy place to lie down and an elevated spot to rest.
Keep 'Em Separated
To maintain shelter animals' good health and psychological well-being, they should be segregated by the following characteristics:
Bonus: We've packaged the guidelines into a free resource, Shelter Care Checklists: Putting ASV Guidelines Into Action, and we invite you to use this set of easily understandable and actionable checklists in your shelter.
Director, UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program & Founder, Million Cat Challenge
Upon graduation from the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine in 1999, Dr. Hurley went to work as a shelter vet. She investigated one of the first documented outbreaks of virulent systemic feline calicivirus, and has done extensive research on the relationship between housing, health, wellness and adoption for shelter animals and feline upper respiratory infection in the multi-cat environment. Dr. Hurley co-chaired the organizing committee for a specialty in Shelter Medicine, an 8-year process that culminated with AVMA approval. Most recently, she helped launch the Million Cat Challenge, a campaign to save one million cats in North American shelters over the five-year period from 2014-2019.