Kitties Sitting in Boxes for Science
This post is yet another thinly veiled excuse to put pictures of my cat on the internet.
My cat, like many, loves sitting on boxes and other tiny places.
Several studies have indicated feline preferences for hiding and a reduction of stress levels when adequate boxes, or other small hiding places, are available to cats. Veterinarian Claudia Vinke recently published a study examining whether proper ‘hiding enrichment’ in shelter environments can lower the incidence of infectious diseases- a typical side effect of stressed cats in shelters due immunodeficiency caused by increased cortisol levels.
The study was relatively small, 19 cats were brought to a shelter, 10 were given boxes to hide in and 9 were not, and the cats were evaluated on the basis of the Kressler and Turner Cat-Stress-Score.
A significant difference was observed by days 3-4 where the cats with boxes showed a consistently low stress level where the cats without boxes showed a wide variance in stress levels that was, on average, higher than that of the cats with boxes. By day 14, all of the cats showed a similar stress level, but it was close to that of the ‘boxed’ cats after day 3.
The author of the study concludes that hiding boxes can be effective tools to assist cats recovering from environmental changes and promote feline health in shelter environments.