Cats are naturally independent and social creatures. They can flourish in wide open spaces and like to be given room to play.
The cold steel cages found in many shelters and kennels are built to store and isolate cats but were designed with little concern for the animals’ needs. Communal sheltering methods like Catty Shacks, in contrast, are helpful in getting shelter cats to re-socialize and learn communication and survival skills from other friendly cats. The open spaces allow cats to operate with more autonomy, lending them self-confidence and easing worry.
Rescue Rebuild maintains that the confined spaces of many shelter cages are stress-inducing to cats and can lead to compromised immune systems and ill tempers toward other cats.
“Cats frequently show signs of reduced stress, better health and easier adoption when they’re housed in group settings with other cats,” writes Kathy Mills, DVM, for Maddie’s Fund. “Additionally, part of what makes shelters difficult environments for cats is their natural tendency to roam, jump, and perch in high places. Standard animal shelter cat cages of 20″ x 28″ don’t even come close to providing them that opportunity, compounding their stress levels.”
“Despite all my rage, I’m still just a cat in a cage.”
With their natural feline instincts stifled over a long period of time, cats are more likely to develop illness and behavioral problems. The best remedy for these issues is a change of scenery and enough time outside the cage to return a cat to comfort.
Communal sheltering, as advocated for by Rescue Rebuild, has been connected to improvements in the health and wellbeing of shelter cats.
“As a bonus, the shelters’ volunteer rates increase, vet bills decrease, and adoption rates skyrocket,” says Dr. Bryna Donnelly, Director of Rescue Rebuild.
Adoption is the ultimate goal, but providing cats with a space they can thrive in while they wait for the right pet parent to come along is just as important. Donnelly’s organization promotes Catty Shacks as a more compassionate method of sheltering felines in any size facility.
“They also give adopters a comfortable and inviting place to spend time with their potential new family members,” she says. “These home-like environments help socialize the cats, ensuring that they will get along more easily with their new family’s other four-legged friends. As a training benefit, the Catty Shacks help cats transition with more ease into their new home environment.”
Make room for more furry friends by supporting Rescue Rebuild’s efforts to build Catty Shacks in deserving shelters across the United States. Click the button below to make a difference!
Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, going to the dog park, spending time with his daughter, and coffee.
Help Rescue Animals
Provide food and vital supplies to shelter pets at The Animal Rescue Site for free! →