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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