Sight/Visual
 
 

How can we reduce or utilize sight and visual stimuli to help animals feel more calm and comfortable with us during their stay in our care?

Reduce unpleasant visual stimulation:

Avoid housing animals facing each other with continuous visual contact

 

Minimize the exposure of visual contact of different species. For example:

  • Avoid walking dogs through cat areas.
  • Avoid housing birds in cat rooms

Use of barriers between dogs:

  • To decrease visual over stimulation, especially for very reactive dogs, install inexpensive barriers on the “working” side of the kennels where dogs are taken in and out.
  • Below is an inexpensive solution for a visually stimulated dog, courtesy of Dane County Humane Society in Madison, WI
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  • Some animal centres install “Dutch doors” where the bottom half of the kennel door is covered so dogs can't see other dogs as they walk by

a great idea or useful thing to know Retreat areas for all species can also be created using a plastic carrier, curtain, or other cage cover or hiding places within the enclosure

  • Cats feel more comfortable being up high. Avoid using floor level cages
  • Cats should be provided with a hiding box or a towel should be hung on the cage door. Hiding is the best coping mechanism cats have to deal with stress. A day or two with a place to hide will help the new cats adjust to the animal centre environment

Introduce pleasant, calming visual stimulation:

  • Within their enclosure cats prefer to have an opportunity to perch, such as on a shelf, sturdy box, or a hanging hammock
  • Add visual interest to animals’ rooms, such as aquariums, mobiles, television. For more ideas see the various Enrichment Sections
  • Support Circadian rhythms by providing day/night cycles with no or minimal lighting during the sleep cycle
  • Natural light helps support normal circadian rhythms, therefore rooms with windows are preferable
  • Create “low traffic” quiet areas