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Behavior Department: Back to Basics: Shelter Cat Enrichment

Simple tips and tricks to help your stressed cats come back

  • Like people, all cats have a unique personality, and what works for one cat may not work for the next. Particularly in a shelter setting, many cats arrive afraid and withdrawn, and will not welcome any interaction, play or otherwise. Aleksandrova Photo/

When Orange Blossom, a 2-year-old female cat, began rubbing her face against the side of her kennel, staff at the Tuscaloosa Metro Animal Shelter became concerned. The friendly cat, who had arrived in early June, soon rubbed her face to the point where her fur was gone and her skin was raw.

“She was a nice cat, very adoptable, but it was just a slow time of year for us,” says Linda Workman, assistant director and volunteer director at the Alabama shelter, explaining that the lack of visitors made the cat’s stay longer than it should have been.

After receiving medical treatment, Orange Blossom healed and awaited her new home in a cat condo in the front of the building, where staff could keep a closer watch on her, and monitor her stress levels. The more visible location worked to get her noticed, and in October, she was adopted.

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