(BVNA) The use of hides to reduce acute stress in the newly hospitalised domestic cat (Felis sylvestris catus) Louise A. Buckley BA (Hons), PG Cert (TLHEP), PGDip, PhD, RVN ABSTRACT: The aims of this study were to identify if newly hospitalised cats would both use a hide, and show a reduction in stress levels when one was provided. Healthy cats attending a clinic for elective neutering were randomly allocated to either the Hide group (n = 15) or the No Hide group (n = 15). Temperature, heart and respiration rates were recorded on admission and after 20 min hospitalisation. Cats were cat stress scored (q 2 min) and their location with the kennel scored (q 30 s) over this 20 min period. Cats provided with a hide spent more time in the kennel location containing the hide (P < 0.001), and used this enrichment primarily to hide inside (P < 0.001). Compared to the baseline measurement, only Hide cats showed a small reduction in heart (P < 0.001) and respiration (P < 0.001) rates after 20 min. Cat stress score decreased in both groups of cats, but was significantly lower in Hide cats than No Hide cats after 20 min (P = 0.002). It is concluded that hides are utilised and result in rapidly identifiable but small reductions in indices of stress in the newly hospitalised cat; thus, should be considered for use with this inpatient demographic.
- veterinary nursing