Cat videos are all the rage on the Internet these days. Somehow, watching tiny kittens or even mother cats try to catch a toy mouse, jump over desks into beds, or even roll over balls of fluff help people unwind and release their tension from the day. Longing for a fluffy ball of a kitty had crossed our minds once or twice. The sad reality is, not all fluffy kittens get a home— some are abandoned to fend for themselves, while some are surrendered to shelters for cats.
Shelters. Yes, such a thing exists for our mischievous kitty cats. These homes are built to provide homes for stray cats, and maintained mostly by volunteers whose hearts are big enough to look out for homeless felines.
It’s not all fluff and dandy for the staff and the cats in these shelters, sadly. The realities inside shelters for cats can be a little bleak, especially when it comes to measures for keeping them healthy.
Inside Shelters for Cats: Quarantine and Isolation
According to The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, approximately 3.2 million cats enter shelters every year. This is a staggering number, one that the number of shelters in the U.S. can’t accommodate comfortably.
Each cat, whether rescued from the streets or given up to the shelter, before being received into the shelter, would enter into quarantine for check-up and monitoring. These procedures are administered by all shelters for cats before introducing a new cat boarder into the general population. This makes sure that it doesn’t carry any diseases or infections that may endanger the other healthier cats.
According to Who Saved Who, if the newcomer is found to be carrying some contagious diseases, however, it will be put into isolation. This is done by completely removing an infected cat from any contact with other feline residents. In isolation, the cat will be up for observation and care, and under the treatment of the shelters’ veterinarian until the feline regains a clean bill of health.
Isolation, undoubtedly, is an important measure inside shelters for cats. It doesn’t only safeguard the health and wellbeing of the shelters’ cat population; it also tries to increase the chances of an infected cat’s recovery through close monitoring.
Measures to Follow for Good Isolation
How does isolation work for cats? There are measures that workers and volunteers of shelters for cats follow to make a sick cat’s stay comfortable and effective.
The UC Davis Shelter Medicine Program cites the following recommendations for a good isolation chamber for cats:
It must contain two apartments—enough space for our cat to pace and frolic around. It must be closed on all sides except the front; it could be closed by fiberglass with several holes in it or bars, as long as interaction between human and feline must be on one side of the chamber only and there is enough ventilation.
Space for Retreat
It is important that the apartment contains a space where the cat could hide in, away from light. It can be in the form of a draped towel under their elevated beds.
Food and Water
Space could be maximized inside the isolation apartment through elevated beds, and raised water and food troughs. It must also go without saying that food and water must be provided for the isolated cat regularly.
These royal felines mustn’t be left for themselves without something to scratch on or amuse themselves with. Their isolation apartment must be equipped with a mini scratch post, a ball of yarn, or a small mouse. This allows the cats to express their normal behaviors, even in isolation.
Last but not the least, the isolation areas for the cats must be accessible to natural light. Isolation chambers do not necessarily translate to clinical, bare white walls without windows. In fact, cats need visual stimulation—it is important that the shelters for cats have window or outdoor views. Give our cats “something to look at.”
These measures are important, ultimately to keep infected cats in maximum comfort and increase their chances of recovery. These recovered cats would become happy cats, which have higher chances of being adopted. Such is the life inside shelters for cats.