Cat cages in cat shelters don’t seem to contain places in which to hide

I think that everyone involved in some way with cat rescue realises that rescue cats in cat shelters, held in relatively small cages, suffer stress to varying degrees dependent upon the individual cat and the length of confinement.

Under the circumstances many cats reduce the amount of self-maintenance that they engage in. They are more likely to become ill. Some cats attempt to hide. When observed by humans they may disrupt their environment by, for example, tearing up their bedding and overturning food and water bowls.

It is presumed that this behaviour is driven by attempts to create an enclosed space in which to hide.

On the Internet, if you search for images of cats in cages at shelters, such as the one illustrating this page, usually you do not see a place to hide within a cage. Why is this?

A number of studies have shown that providing cats with a hiding place within their confined and temporary home significantly reduces behavioural measures of stress.

When the housing is “group-housing” cats that are targets of aggression tend to hide. They are unable to disperse because of the confined space in which they find themselves. Hiding places are important under these circumstances.

I would hope that somebody visiting this site can explain to me why it is that cat cages at cat shelters frequently do not contain a place to hide. Perhaps the illustrations that I have been looking at are not representative of modern shelters.







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Cat cages in cat shelters don’t seem to contain places in which to hide — 4 Comments

  1. Practically speaking it probably has to do with space. When you’re trying to shelter as many cats as space allows, you may not be thinking about places to hide.

    The shelter I worked at, gave cats who could get along with a few others, a couple of hours in our lunch room. Someone was assigned to be there to play with, cuddle, and generally supervise. This gave the cats several places to hide, windows to look out, and a cat tree or two, many toys, and catnip. Kittens got their play dates in our bathrooms.(with lids down)

  2. That’s a sad but interesting point. Would it help to partially cover the front of the cages? That way the cat could “hide” behind the cover but viewers could peek in.

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