Cats are extremely sensitive to noise, crowding, and stress. These often lead to illness in sheltered cats, particularly, upper respiratory infection (URI) or cat flu. By decreasing crowding and reducing stress, you can drastically cut the incidence of cat flu in your shelter’s cat population. It is very important to give cats a place to hide when stressed or fearful. Housing cats near dogs increases their stress, so minimize dog and other noises in cat areas.

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For dogs, here are some ideas to reduce stress. Pair housing compatible dogs, spot cleaning, frequent human interaction including teaching basic obedience, dog playgroups, and blocking visibility of dogs opposite, all help to reduce stress. Providing dogs with a place for retreat allows dogs to express normal behaviour and increases the choices the dog has within its environment. Animals can more easily adjust to their new environment when we provide them some opportunity to choose whether they are indoors, outdoors, in a bed, on the floor, on an elevated space, behind a wall, chewing on toys, snuggling under blankets, cooling off by lying in full stretch on the floor, curling into a ball on the bed, or the ability to walk around.

Other Resources

Check out ideas and webinars at Koret Shelter Medicine Program at UC Davis on the

Also see the University of California Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program and the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine Shelter Medicine Program Virtual Consultant. This a free web-based tool that enables animal shelters to assess their everyday practices

Other resources: University of Florida’s online Maddie’s® Shelter Medicine Program

Dogs playing for life Programs