Practical feline behaviour understanding cat behaviour and improving welfare

(Axel Boer) #1

Advice for Other Cat Carers 181

● Away from bright, flashing or harsh artificial lighting.
● Avoiding extremes of temperature (local licensing regulations must be followed).
Pens should be well ventilated and kept warm in cold weather and cool in hot
weather, so that a fairly constant and comfortable ambient temperature is achieved.
Ideally, individual outdoor space should also be available that allows the cat access
to sun, shade, and fresh air.

Construction, design and furniture

Following local licensing regulations as a minimum guideline, sufficient space within
each pen must be provided (local licensing regulations must be followed). Vertical
space, i.e. access to shelves or surfaces at varying levels, is particularly important. Being
in an elevated position can help a cat to feel more in control and less threatened.
However, it is also important that access to elevated areas is not challenging or diffi-
cult, especially for cats that have reduced mobility owing to old age, injury or disease.
Ramps or steps should therefore not be too steep and should have non-slip surfaces.
Cats housed in individual units should not be housed where they are in con-
stant sight of other cats. This may be prevented by erecting a solid barrier over cage
wire or by applying frosting to glass through which other cats are likely to be seen.
Provision must be made for the cat to be able to access a sectioned off ‘private’ area.
This area needs to be large enough to contain a resting area, food, water and a litter
tray, all of which must be positioned well apart from each other. This can often be best
achieved by allowing the cat access to different levels within the sectioned-off area.
Hiding places should be provided in addition to the ‘private’ area (Fig. 12.1). Boxes,
solid-sided carriers, igloo beds, covered litter trays converted into beds or even a towel
draped over a fitted shelf can be used for this purpose. If a cat is aggressive or appears
highly fearful and stressed, increasing the size of the pen and options for hiding often helps.

Fig. 12.1. Hiding places must be provided.

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