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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

Diagram of the experimental set up of Experiment II. The arrows represent rotation of the boxes in three different positions at the wall, applied to each day of testing.
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animals-05-00245-f002: Diagram of the experimental set up of Experiment II. The arrows represent rotation of the boxes in three different positions at the wall, applied to each day of testing.

Mentions: The same refuges as in Experiment I were used for this enrichment, and the animals were again kept outside of the feeding area for two hours before the beginning of the test (13:30 h), allowing for the setup of the refuges in the test environment. The refuges were attached with screws to the walls at various heights (0.0 m, 0.5 m and 1.0 m). During the three days of testing, the experimental protocol was the same: at 15:30 h, the gate allowing access to the feeding area was opened, and images were recorded for two consecutive hours. However, a height rotation was performed every day so that the three heights (0.0 m, 0.5 m and 1.0 m) were tested at three different locations—A, B and C(Figure 2). The frequency and the duration of both the use of the refuges and other types of interactions with them were quantified.


The Use of Refuges by Communally Housed Cats.

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

Diagram of the experimental set up of Experiment II. The arrows represent rotation of the boxes in three different positions at the wall, applied to each day of testing.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

animals-05-00245-f002: Diagram of the experimental set up of Experiment II. The arrows represent rotation of the boxes in three different positions at the wall, applied to each day of testing.
Mentions: The same refuges as in Experiment I were used for this enrichment, and the animals were again kept outside of the feeding area for two hours before the beginning of the test (13:30 h), allowing for the setup of the refuges in the test environment. The refuges were attached with screws to the walls at various heights (0.0 m, 0.5 m and 1.0 m). During the three days of testing, the experimental protocol was the same: at 15:30 h, the gate allowing access to the feeding area was opened, and images were recorded for two consecutive hours. However, a height rotation was performed every day so that the three heights (0.0 m, 0.5 m and 1.0 m) were tested at three different locations—A, B and C(Figure 2). The frequency and the duration of both the use of the refuges and other types of interactions with them were quantified.

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