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The Use of Refuges by Communally Housed Cats.

de Oliveira AS, Terçariol CA, Genaro G - Animals (Basel) (2015)

Bottom Line: In a test with vertical environmental enrichment, the animals showed an increased length of stay in refuges located at a height of 0.5 m compared to those on the ground (0.0 m).Both horizontal and vertical environmental enrichment increased the use of available space, demonstrating that box refuges as enrichment are effective in providing a refuge when at a height, or a place to explore at ground level.This information adds to the body of evidence relating to cat enrichment and can be useful in designing cat housing in veterinary clinics, research laboratories, shelters and domestic homes.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Programa de Pós-Graduação em Psicobiologia, Departamento de Psicologia, Faculdade de Filosofia, Ciências e Letras de Ribeirão Preto, Universidade de São Paulo, Av. dos Bandeirantes, 3900, Ribeirão Preto, SP 14040-901, Brazil. adrianasicuto@gmail.com.

ABSTRACT
The increase of domestic animals kept in shelters highlights the need to ensure animal welfare. Environmental enrichment can improve animal welfare in many ways, such as encouraging captive animals to use all the space available to them. The effects of physical environmental enrichment on the spatial distribution and behavioral repertoire of 35 neutered domestic cats housed communally were analyzed. The provision of boxes in the environment increases the use of available space by the cats. We suggest this improves the cats' welfare while in communally-housed rescue shelters. The frequencies of active and especially inactive behaviors also increased in the enriched condition. In a test with vertical environmental enrichment, the animals showed an increased length of stay in refuges located at a height of 0.5 m compared to those on the ground (0.0 m). However, the entry frequency was higher in refuges at 0.0 m. Both horizontal and vertical environmental enrichment increased the use of available space, demonstrating that box refuges as enrichment are effective in providing a refuge when at a height, or a place to explore at ground level. We suggest it enhances the welfare of cats in communally housed shelters. This information adds to the body of evidence relating to cat enrichment and can be useful in designing cat housing in veterinary clinics, research laboratories, shelters and domestic homes.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

(A) Representation of pairs of cardboard refuges used in Experiment I; (B) Diagram with arrows that indicate the rotation applied to each day of Experiment I; (C) Sketch of total area available for cats observed in this study.
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animals-05-00245-f001: (A) Representation of pairs of cardboard refuges used in Experiment I; (B) Diagram with arrows that indicate the rotation applied to each day of Experiment I; (C) Sketch of total area available for cats observed in this study.

Mentions: The enclosure under study was divided into three areas: an internal area (Area I: 12.09 m2) that housed the beds and feeders and was protected with a masonry roof, a second smaller external area (Area II: 14.82 m2) that was surrounded by fencing and was the site of video recording and a third external area (Area III: 70.18 m2) (Figure 1). The animals could freely access all three areas.


The Use of Refuges by Communally Housed Cats.

de Oliveira AS, Terçariol CA, Genaro G - Animals (Basel) (2015)

(A) Representation of pairs of cardboard refuges used in Experiment I; (B) Diagram with arrows that indicate the rotation applied to each day of Experiment I; (C) Sketch of total area available for cats observed in this study.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4494404&req=5

animals-05-00245-f001: (A) Representation of pairs of cardboard refuges used in Experiment I; (B) Diagram with arrows that indicate the rotation applied to each day of Experiment I; (C) Sketch of total area available for cats observed in this study.
Mentions: The enclosure under study was divided into three areas: an internal area (Area I: 12.09 m2) that housed the beds and feeders and was protected with a masonry roof, a second smaller external area (Area II: 14.82 m2) that was surrounded by fencing and was the site of video recording and a third external area (Area III: 70.18 m2) (Figure 1). The animals could freely access all three areas.

Bottom Line: In a test with vertical environmental enrichment, the animals showed an increased length of stay in refuges located at a height of 0.5 m compared to those on the ground (0.0 m).Both horizontal and vertical environmental enrichment increased the use of available space, demonstrating that box refuges as enrichment are effective in providing a refuge when at a height, or a place to explore at ground level.This information adds to the body of evidence relating to cat enrichment and can be useful in designing cat housing in veterinary clinics, research laboratories, shelters and domestic homes.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Programa de Pós-Graduação em Psicobiologia, Departamento de Psicologia, Faculdade de Filosofia, Ciências e Letras de Ribeirão Preto, Universidade de São Paulo, Av. dos Bandeirantes, 3900, Ribeirão Preto, SP 14040-901, Brazil. adrianasicuto@gmail.com.

ABSTRACT
The increase of domestic animals kept in shelters highlights the need to ensure animal welfare. Environmental enrichment can improve animal welfare in many ways, such as encouraging captive animals to use all the space available to them. The effects of physical environmental enrichment on the spatial distribution and behavioral repertoire of 35 neutered domestic cats housed communally were analyzed. The provision of boxes in the environment increases the use of available space by the cats. We suggest this improves the cats' welfare while in communally-housed rescue shelters. The frequencies of active and especially inactive behaviors also increased in the enriched condition. In a test with vertical environmental enrichment, the animals showed an increased length of stay in refuges located at a height of 0.5 m compared to those on the ground (0.0 m). However, the entry frequency was higher in refuges at 0.0 m. Both horizontal and vertical environmental enrichment increased the use of available space, demonstrating that box refuges as enrichment are effective in providing a refuge when at a height, or a place to explore at ground level. We suggest it enhances the welfare of cats in communally housed shelters. This information adds to the body of evidence relating to cat enrichment and can be useful in designing cat housing in veterinary clinics, research laboratories, shelters and domestic homes.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus