Cats in animal shelters experience two very stressful transitional periods
Their stay in the shelter.
Traveling to their new adoptive homes and making the adjustment in the new households.
The BC SPCA's Hide, Perch & Go box™ helps cats adapt to both situations. The box is designed so that the cat's one familiar item at the shelter - the Hide, Perch & Go box™ - moves with the cat, by conveniently converting to a temporary transport carrier. Once in the new home the carrier is reassembled becoming a safe, familiar "haven" for the cat that is saturated with the cat's own scent, which helps reduce stress for the cat in the new setting.
For shelters, the combination cat welfare box and carrier means eliminating the need to continue to purchase separate cat carriers. At the BC SPCA this effectively saves our organization between $50,000 and $75,000 per year while increasing the welfare for cats, improving adoption rates, decreasing length of stay, and lowering disease rates.
Because the box is also a carrier, the cost of the box can be easily justified to the adopter and included in the adoption price. The box can be continually reused for trips to the veterinarian, for short transport needs, or in disaster planning. The box can also be sold to the general public and used as a bed and rest area in the home.
How the box helps cats adjust to the shelter:
In a typical cage system the box aids in separating feeding, elimination and sleeping areas - crucial in helping cats feel a sense of control over their environment in very limited space
The box provides the opportunity for hiding, perching and face rubbing - all natural behaviours cats engage in to manage stress
The box offers choice of different areas and textures to lie on, ways to regulate body temperature and light exposures
Allowing more control over the amount of exposure to the shelter activity the box permits cats to self-manage stress.
Enabling the cat to saturate the cage with his own scent by face-rubbing on the box, and to scratch and claw the cardboard surface allows cats the ability to leave scent markings making the cage more familiar.
When cats can hide, perch, scent mark and control the amount of exposure to human activities and/or other cats, along with experiencing positive interaction with humans - they will adapt to shelter life faster and will be healthier and friendlier. The benefits are increased adoptions with shorter pre-adoption time, reduced rates of illness and euthanasia and improvement of emotional health. Once a cat is adopted his Hide, Perch & Go box™ is converted into a temporary transportation carrier.
Helping cats adjust to their new home
When a new family adopts a cat from the BC SPCA he goes home in his Hide, Perch & Go box™ and the family is given the CatSense™ Behaviour Sheet - Welcome Home! Bonding With Your New Cat. This sheet helps a new family convert the box back to the hide and perch format and provides procedures to help the cat gradually become familiar with his new family - including other pets. The Hide and Perch box™ provides something familiar (and saturated with his own scent) for the cat to retreat to and as he relaxes he can control his exposure to the activity in his new home.
Hide, Perch & Go box™ dimensions
The box has been designed to be used in most conventional cat cages and in communal cat rooms.
In the Perch form
In the Go form
Shelters interested in purchasing the box
To minimize potential disease spread, Hide, Perch & Go boxes™ should not be not transferred between cats. If a cat is euthanized or passes as the result of disease, the box should be destroyed. There is no clinical studies on disease transfer via a used Hide, Perch & Go box™ but the BC SPCA does not recommend that the box be re-used between cats.
While there is also no scientific research involving rabbits and the box, BC SPCA shelters have found the box to be extremely useful for rabbits. The boxes provide hiding, perching and scent-marking opportunities for bunnies.