Cat Housing: New Directions in Creature Comforts

The following is from the Summer 2010 issue of Protecting Animals, American Humane’s quarterly journal for animal welfare professionals. Used by permission. To learn more, visit www.AmericanHumane.org.

As animal shelters have become more progressive, we’ve seen increased recognition of the important role that housing plays in the physical and emotional needs of their residents. In particular, the size and type of housing can mean the difference between health and disease for shelter cats. Susceptibility to upper respiratory infections (URI) and other diseases is directly related to a cat’s stress level. Cats housed in cramped cages with little social interaction and no access to toys, hiding places or climbing places have much higher stress levels and are more likely to contract contagious diseases. Housing styles can also significantly affect cat adoption rates, as studies have shown that animals showcased in settings with toys, beds and attractive decor are much more likely to get adopted.

Fortunately, shelters across the country are outdoing themselves to create cat housing so attractive and appealing that it rivals anything seen on the pages of Architectural Digest. Here’s a sampling of some innovative designs that are helping shelter cats become healthier, happier and more adoptable.

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