A Code of Practice for Canadian Cattery Operations 2009

A Code of Practice for Canadian
Cattery Operations
Canadian Veterinary Medical Association
First Edition: 2009
The Canadian Veterinary Medical
Association (CVMA) expresses sincere
appreciation to Dr. Janet Lalonde, Ms.
Wiebke Heron, Ms. Nadine Gourkow, Dr.
Nicolette Joosting, Dr. Marcus Litman,
Dr. Anna Bolinder, Dr. Carol Morgan,
Dr. Alice Crook, and Dr. Diane Frank for
their dedication and hard work in preparing
this Code of Practice.
The CVMA is also grateful to the Canadian
Federation of Humane Societies, through
Ms. Shelagh MacDonald, for extensive
participation in the preparation of the Code.
The CVMA also thanks the Canadian Cat
Association, the Canadian Council on
Animal Care, the Pet Industry Joint
Advisory Council of Canada, Dr. Susan
Little, and Dr. Hugh Whitney for
providing review.





SECTION I: The Selection of a Cat…………………………………………………………………..6

SECTION II: Housing and Accommodation……………………………………………………….8

SECTION III: Care and Supervision………………………………………………………………….14

SECTION IV: Behavioural Needs……………………………………………………………………18
SECTION V: Transportation……………………………………………………………………………21

SECTION VI: Education………………………………………………………………………………….23

SECTION VII: Emergencies and Unforeseen Problems ……………………………………….24
SECTION VIII: Euthanasia………………………………………………………………………………..25

APPENDIX A: Cat Welfare……………………………………………………………………………….26
APPENDIX B: Feline Vaccines — Specific Recommendations. ……………………………30

APPENDIX C: Canadian Veterinary Medical Association Position Statement on
Onychectomy (Declawing) of the Domestic Feline…………………………32
APPENDIX D: Recommended Minimum Space Requirements for Cats………………….34
APPENDIX E: Organizations that Provided Information on Care and Humane
Treatment of Cats ………………………………………………………………………35
A Code of Practice for Canadian Cattery Operations
Canadian Veterinary Medical Association
Like the Codes of Practice developed by the
National Farm Animal Care Council, the
Canadian Federation of Humane Societies
(CFHS), the CVMA, and those associated
with the livestock industry, this Code of
Practice for the care, management, and
breeding of cats is a voluntary one. It can be
used as an educational tool by cat breeders,
members of the general public acquiring cats,
and animal welfare groups, and also as a
standard by all those interested in the
promotion of sound care, management, and
welfare practices.
Although there is no system to license
catteries in Canada, some provinces or
territories have laws or regulations covering
certain aspects of the care of dogs and cats in
breeding and boarding establishments.
Consult the relevant provincial/territorial
animal care or SPCA act.
The Canadian Council on Animal Care
(CCAC) is the national organization
responsible for setting and maintaining
standards for the care and use of animals in
research, teaching, and testing throughout
Canada. The CCAC guidelines provide
standards for animal facilities and ethical
requirements associated with the care,
management, and use of all animals,
including cats. All institutions, in which cats
are used in research studies funded by
granting councils, as well as federal and
provincial government laboratories, must
hold a CCAC Certificate of Good Animal
Practice® indicating compliance with CCAC
guidelines and policies, as assessed by the
CCAC Assessment Program.
The recommendations that are contained in
this Code of Practice for Canadian Cattery
Operations will not be comprehensive for all
circumstances. For example, cage and pen
size will depend on the breed and the
practices that can be applied to ensure the
welfare of the cats being raised or used. As
well, an important aspect of ensuring the
well-being of each animal is by paying
attention to its uniqueness. Undoubtedly, as
additional research information becomes
available and management practices and
requirements change, these guidelines, too,
will undergo change. Thus, this Code of
Practice is a “living document,” subject to
amendment as new information becomes
available. For this voluntary Code to be fully
effective, those involved in the care and
handling of cats and kittens should accept and
adopt the Code’s recommendations.
A Code of Practice for Canadian Cattery Operations
Canadian Veterinary Medical Association
The term “humane care” will be used
commonly in this Code of Practice, for it
forms the basis for all animal care,
management practices, and procedures.
“Humane care” is an all-inclusive term and
does not simply mean the avoidance of
deliberate pain. Instead, the goal is that all
avoidable pain, distress, discomfort, and
factors causing anxiety and suffering are
eliminated from the conditions under which
cats are housed, bred, and raised. This
includes selecting the proper site for a cattery
to ensure optimal conditions are provided for
the cats, particularly breeding cats or cats
maintained in kennels. The means of
confinement must also satisfy the cat’s social
and exercise needs. Humane care also implies
the maintenance of optimal sanitary and
environmental conditions with regard to air
pollution, noise, temperature, humidity, etc.
High quality, nutritional, contaminant-free
food, adequate potable water, and appropriate
accommodation, including shelter from the
elements and unnecessary variations in
temperature, must be provided. Cats should
be raised at temperatures as close as possible
to the comfort zone of the animal, appropriate
to its age and condition. It is also necessary to
provide adequate, regular supervision and
efficient knowledgeable health care controls
to ensure that animals are not harmed by
incompatible cats, sick cats, or other
adversarial animals or vermin. Sufficient
numbers of experienced personnel should be
employed as required. Such individuals must
have compassion and respect for all living
beings, particularly for those cats or kittens
for which they are responsible. It is not
sufficient that they have only knowledge of
feeding, watering, and removal of excrement;
they must be knowledgeable concerning the
animals themselves.
Breed: Cats with similar physical
characteristics and related ancestry.
Breeder: Generically refers to a person who
breeds cats. More specifically, the breeder of
a litter is considered to be the owner of the
dam (queen) at the time of breeding. (Note:
cats may be owned outright or leased for
breeding purposes).
Cattery: A facility where cats are kept,
including breeding or boarding facilities,
animal shelters, and pet stores.
Castrate: To surgically remove the testicles
from a male cat (also “neuter”).
Conformation: The form, structure, and
physical arrangement of body parts in
accordance with the breed’s standards.
Dam: The mother of a cat.
Estrus: The sexually receptive period of a
female cat during which she can become
pregnant; commonly referred to as being “in
heat” or “in season.”
Euthanasia: The term is derived from the
Greek “eu” for “good” and “thanatos” for
“death” or an easy death. The euphemisms
for euthanize include “destroy,” “put down,”
or most commonly “put to sleep.”
Gestation: The period of pregnancy in a cat
(approximately 66 days with some variation).
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Canadian Veterinary Medical Association
Kitten: A cat under the age of 8 months.
Litter: Kittens born at the same time from
the same queen.
Neuter: Spay or castrate a female or male
Parturition: The act of labour or giving
Queen: A female breeding cat.
Spay: To surgically remove the ovaries and
often the uterus of a female cat.
Stud: A breeding male, also known as a tom.
Defensive aggression: Threatening
behaviour displayed by a cat experiencing
fear by flattening its body, and giving
warning signals such as hissing, growling,
and spitting. A defensive aggressive cat will
bite and show teeth and claws if the threat
continues to approach and the cat has no
escape route.
Hyperactivity: A behaviour pattern
frequently characterized in cats by pacing,
vocalizing, and restlessness.
Lethargy: Behaviour displayed as excessive
quietness, absence of play in kittens,
extended sleep periods, or lack of interest in
feeding. It can be a sign of illness.
Socialization: The process by which a kitten
learns to accept certain animal species
including its own, as well as humans, in close
proximity. It occurs most easily during a
limited time span generally from 2 to 9 weeks
of age, but should continue for several
Submission/dominance: Submission
(deference) is signaled by cats in various
ways, such as avoiding eye contact with a
more dominant cat, or waiting for another cat
to pass before moving into an area. More
dominant cats may block the movement of
subordinate cats, chase them, or stare at them.
Relative rank can vary from one pair of cats
to another, and can depend on the context.
(Note: not all feline behaviourists agree about
the significance of submissive or dominant
postures in cats.)
Temperament: The behavioural
characteristics of a cat that are relatively
stable over time and across similar situations.
A Code of Practice for Canadian Cattery Operations
Canadian Veterinary Medical Association
ACFA: American Cat Fanciers Association
CCAC: Canadian Council on Animal Care
CFHS: Canadian Federation of Humane
CCA: Canadian Cat Association
CFA: The Cat Fanciers Association
CVMA: Canadian Veterinary Medical
NCAC: National Companion Animal
Coalition (CVMA, Canadian
Kennel Club, CFHS, PIJAC)
PIJAC: Pet Industry Joint Advisory
SPCA: Society for the Prevention of
Cruelty to Animals
TICA: The International Cat Association
A Code of Practice for Canadian Cattery Operations
Canadian Veterinary Medical Association
The Selection of a Cat
Cats can be obtained from various sources,
including breeders, pet stores, humane
societies or SPCAs, and rescue groups.
When selecting a particular cat from any of
these sources it is important to match the
characteristics of the cat with the owner.
Prospective cat owners are referred to “A
Commonsense Guide to Selecting a Dog or a
Cat,” published by the CVMA and available
on the CVMA Animal Health Care Web
Cats are considered pedigreed and not
purebred. Pedigreed cats are of known and
recorded ancestry. Cat breeds are separated
into breed classifications.
The term “breed” is used to describe natural
breeds, established breeds, mutations, and
“Breeder” refers to the individual who is
involved in the breeding of cats. In reference
to a specific litter, the breeder is the owner or
co-owner of the queen at the time she was
bred. Breeders are direct and primary sources
for kittens.
Individuals are involved in cat breeding for
any number of reasons, among them the
improvement of the breed and the progeny
resulting from their breeding stock. Cats are
mainly bred to be companion animals and are

not generally obtained to serve a function
other than companionship.
Breeders range from small home breeders
who keep their cats in their home to breeders
with larger populations who have a cattery
facility to house the cats. Good breeders
adhere to generally recognized breeding
practices and may be identified by the quality
of their animals, well-maintained facilities,
and a willingness to display the parents of the
litter. Good breeders will have well-groomed,
clean, healthy, and socially well-adjusted cats
and kittens, and will provide evidence of
vaccinations, and relevant health clearance(s)
showing that breeding animals are free of
certain genetic disorders or health issues.
Good breeders will keep the kittens to age 10
to 12 weeks and will not supply kittens to pet
Good breeders will provide a written
guarantee of the health of the kitten, will have
a written contract or agreement with the new
owner to take the kitten or cat back for
practically any reason, and will provide
financial or other reasonable compensation in
the event of certain genetic disorders or
health issues as identified in a contract.
Poor breeders reflect the opposite, with rundown and/or crowded facilities; a reluctance
to show the parents of a litter and other
progeny; dirty, unhealthy, and ill-adjusted
cats; kittens sold at a young age and often
without proper vaccinations. Poor breeders
also have little regard for the frequency of
breeding or the age of breeding stock.
Good breeders of pedigreed cats will register
their breeding cats and show cats, as well as
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Canadian Veterinary Medical Association
all litters, with one of the major registries
listed below, and follow the breed standards
when selecting breeding cats.
The Canadian Cat Association (CCA)
The American Cat Fanciers Association
The Cat Fanciers Association (CFA)
The Cat Fanciers Federation (CFF)
The International Cat Association (TICA)
Good breeders will not sell to people looking
to buy on impulse. Instead, they will spend
time with the consumer to make sure that the
chosen breed is compatible with the
expectations of the consumer and that the
new owner is prepared to adequately house
and maintain the cat. Good breeders will
educate consumers about allergies to cats and
the possible drawbacks of cat ownership,
especially for children with allergies to cats.
Good breeders will recommend that
households with allergies consult a physician
before acquiring a cat and make preparation
for the cat in advance should the allergy not
permit keeping the cat. Good breeders will
not sell cats to households with young
children that have known cat allergies or
Regardless of the source of the cat, a cat
owner who is not interested in the cat for
breeding purposes should be strongly
encouraged to have their kitten or cat spayed
or castrated at an appropriate age. Some
breeders may even have all cats neutered
before sale. From a health perspective this is
very beneficial to the cat. An unaltered
female cat will vocalize frequently and may
develop reproductive health problems. The
unaltered male (tom) cat will spray to mark
territory, generally making him unsuitable as
a house pet. There are also significant health
benefits associated with neutering cats.
The physical standard refers to the general
shape and appearance of the cat. Most
commonly associated with the pedigreed cat
fancy, the breed standard is a description of
the “ideal” appearance of any particular
breed. Cat shows provide a forum in which
the cat is judged against its written standard
to determine the degree to which the standard
has been met. Breed standards differ around
the world and the different registries will
recognize different breeds; some will not
register certain breeds. The fundamental
philosophy may differ as well.
The CFA is the world’s largest registry of
pedigreed cats and registers cats worldwide
including in Canada. It is a conservative
registry. Adding new breeds is very difficult
and requires much time and commitment.
The CCA, founded in 1960, is the Canadian
cat registry.
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Housing and Accommodation
The site needs to be suitable to the needs of
the cattery operation, and the cattery
operation suited to the needs of the breed of
cat to be housed. For small breeders, the cats
may simply live in the house, with no specific
confinement, other than providing a separate
room or area for queens with kittens, and for
studs. Regardless, the site must provide easy
cattery maintenance, whether the cattery is
one room or floor of the family home, or a
completely separate building. The cattery
must be well-maintained and clean, providing
a healthy environment for housed cats.
A separate cattery facility will require
sufficient land to accommodate the cattery
structures. Zoning and proximity to
neighbours need to be considered as cats can
be very noisy and stud cats can be odorous.
An investigation of zoning restrictions, bylaws, building codes, and standards will
provide valuable insight into the local
requirements for the cattery operation.
Researching and visiting existing, reputable
cattery operations can provide insight into the
site selection, including consideration of
drainage, waste removal, and access to heat
and electricity.
Interior walls and partitions may be
constructed of masonry, metal, Mazonite,
cement, plaster, or other washable,
nonabsorbable, and easily sanitized building
material. The walls should be smooth,
durable, and impervious for proper cleaning
and disinfection.
Exterior walls should be fire retardant and
impervious to moisture. Doors, window sills,
and window sashes may be constructed of
wood, provided they are rendered impervious
to moisture and are rodent and vermin
resistant. (Caution: some wood preservative
products are fatal to cats and/or cause illness.)
Combustible materials such as wood litter
should be stored in a fire resistant container
outside of the building. Clay and silicon litter
should be stored in a well-ventilated area,
preferably in a separate outside facility.
Fire extinguishers should be available,
accessible, and consistent with fire and
insurance codes.
Cat holding room temperatures are usually
maintained at between 18°C and 22°C. The
minimum sustained temperature for an indoor
cattery facility is 15°C. The maximum
sustained temperature for an indoor cattery
should be 27°C, ideally lower for full-coated
brachycephalic breeds.
Cats should be housed in temperatures as
close as possible to the comfort level of the
breed. For instance, a Persian, Maine coon, or
long-haired domestic will have a much
different comfort zone than a Cornish rex.
Most cats require supplemental heat during
adverse conditions. Considerations need to be
given to age and overall condition of the
individual cat. Older, very young, and infirm
cats will require a warmer and more
comfortable environment. Temperatures
should be monitored and adjusted if needed.
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Interior conditions should be constantly
maintained, and fluctuations in temperature,
light, and noise levels should be avoided. A
thermometer and hygrometer should be
placed at animal level.
Insulating material may be toxic or irritating
to cats and should be inaccessible to even an
inquisitive cat. Windows will provide the cats
with access to natural glass-filtered sunlight
and the chance to observe the outside
environment. Birdhouses or feeders outside
the windows offer a source of environmental
enrichment. (See enrichment devices p. 19).
Humidity should be measured and maintained
at 44% to 45%. The introduction of outside
air or a dehumidifier and fan may help to
maintain constant humidity.
Roof coverings, fastened to sheeting or
directly to the roof joists, should be
constructed so as to protect the cats from
adverse weather and to prevent the entrance
of rodents and vermin into the cattery.
Ceilings should be constructed of materials
similar or equal to those of the walls and
partitions. Ceilings, walls, and partitions
should closely abut to prevent crevices that
can lead to rodent infestation.
Corners of ceilings, walls, and partitions
should be caulked and painted so that they
may be completely sanitized and are resistant
to cat urine from spraying toms.
Ceilings should be solid to prevent cats from
Floors should be constructed of dense mixed
concrete or another material that when
finished provides a smooth surface which is
impervious to moisture and odour. This will
facilitate cleaning and sanitizing.
When an impervious material like linoleum is
placed on the floor, it should extend at least
20 cm up the walls. This material should be
molded so that there are no crevices or cracks
in the corners.
Proper air circulation is essential in
preventing respiratory disease. Ventilation
should be adequate to keep cat areas free
from dampness, noxious odours, and drafts.
A source of fresh air is critical in a cattery
facility, as re-circulation of inside air
distributes contaminants, odours, bacteria,
viruses, fungi, and molds unless an adequate
filter system is included.
When ambient temperature reaches 27°C
(80°F), additional ventilation such as air
conditioning or exhaust fans should be added.
Drafts and chills should be prevented. High
humidity promotes illness and disease, and
should be avoided.
All cat holding rooms should be lit during
daylight hours and artificially illuminated for
access during darkness. The minimum light
requirement is 8 hours per day. Sunlight is
the preferred means of lighting, provided that
shaded areas are available. Lighting should
be as close as possible to natural conditions
of duration and intensity. The cattery should
have natural darkness for a sleeping period of
at least 8 hours.
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The primary enclosure should be structurally
sound and maintained in good repair to
protect the cats from injury, contain them,
keep other animals out, and to enable the
housed cats to remain dry and clean.
The primary enclosure should provide
sufficient space to allow each enclosed cat to
turn freely and to easily stand, sit, and lie in a
comfortable position. The minimum primary
enclosure space for a single 2 kg or greater
cat should be a minimum of 1.5 m2
in area
and a minimum of 0.75 m in height
(Appendix D). Quality of space is more
important to cats than increasing space. Use
vertical space for enrichment. Resting
perches and a hiding area should be provided,
as well as easy access to food, water, litter,
and bedding. Cats housed in groups must be
watched for submissiveness, fighting, and
rejection of members because of the cat’s
natural instinct for territorial and personal
defense. Extra resting boards placed at
different levels within an enclosure allow cats
to establish a “mini-territory” within the
group housed together and minimizes the
chance of aggression. There should be as
many hiding areas and perches as there are
cats. There should be corner shelves where
shy cats can perch without the risk of being
approached from behind. The need should be
minimized for cats to cross paths with other
cats to access food and water and litter pans.
The primary enclosure shall be constructed
and maintained so that cats have convenient
access to clean food, water, and litter. Cats
may refuse to eat if litter trays and food
dishes are in close proximity. Litter pans, at
least one pan per cat, shall be located away
from bedding and food and water.
A primary enclosure shall not be constructed
or maintained with an exposed wire mesh.
The number of cats in a primary enclosure
shall not exceed the number that would
prevent proper ventilation and sanitation. To
keep the stress level low, aggressive or overly
exuberant cats should not be housed in the
same enclosure as timid or lower ranking
cats. Note that relative rank can vary from
one pair to another, and depending on the
context. (See below.)
Single Enriched Living
Single housing is appropriate only for short
stays, unless the cat is not suited to
communal living (see Communal Living).
Some cats may prefer single housing.
Because of lack of space and environmental
complexity, cats in single housing have less
choice for behavioural expression. These
cats may become frustrated or depressed. To
meet the psychological needs of cats, housing
must be enriched (see Section IV,
Behavioural Needs.) Cats housed for longer
terms may benefit from being moved around
or by having their cage rearranged
occasionally. (Be sure to monitor cats for
stress, see Appendix A).
The single cage should provide:
• Separation between functional areas,
such as food and water bowls secured
on cage door, and an elevated bed.
• Some control over the amount of
exposure to cattery activities.
• Opportunities to engage in a wide
range of behaviours such as hiding,
perching, playing with toys to
simulate hunting behaviour (batting,
pouncing, throwing up in the air),
scratching, and playing with people.
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• Substrates to facilitate scent marking.
Cats feel at ease when their space is
familiar – containing their own scent.
Communal Living
In view of the fact that cats hunt alone, they
were long believed to be asocial. However,
there is much evidence to the contrary. Cats
living in colonies form strong bonds,
particularly females who sometimes share the
care of kittens. Cats engage in affiliative
behaviour with other cats such as body
rubbing on each other (allorubbing),
grooming each other (allogrooming), nose
touching (greeting behaviour), and play.
Cats show a repertoire of submissive and
dominant behaviours to reduce conflict.
In a natural setting, familiar cats tend to
resolve conflict by increasing space between
them. When creating communal spaces for
adult cats that may not care much for each
other, it is important to organize space in a
way that minimizes the possibility of ongoing
or repeated conflict as this can cause high
stress. It is essential to recognize that when
cats have not been exposed to other cats for
their entire life, they may have little or no
tolerance for other cats and may not be well
suited for communal living. Cats that engage
in aggressive behaviour or show signs of
stress after 24 hours should be housed singly.
The use of communal enclosures can be
counterproductive if not appropriately
designed. Communal living must encourage
social contact between cats while meeting
their need for personal space and safety.
To meet the psychological needs of cats, the
communal area should provide:
• More single size shelves than cats and
at least one meter between shelves.
• At least one single size hiding area
per cat.
• Several vantage points at different
heights and with different views of the
• Corner shelf viewing points from
which the cat cannot be approached
from behind.
• Separation between feeding and
elimination areas.
• Food and elimination areas should be
located in places where shy cats
cannot be intimidated by more
confident cats.
• Enough free floor space for cat-cat
play and interaction.
• At least one perching area that can fit
several cats.
Introduction of new cats to a communal
• A new cat arriving into a communal
area changes the dynamic between all
cats and is a known source of stress.
• Introduction of new cats should take
several days.
• Place the incoming cat in a single
cage within the communal.

• The cage should have a Plexiglas door
with several small holes to enable
visual and olfactory contact between
• Provide a hiding area for the cat in the
introduction cage.
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• Once the incoming and resident cats
seem relaxed, let the new cat explore.
• Monitor initial contact between cats.
Cats must not be kept on wire floors or any
other material that will injure their feet or
The queening area should be separate from
other cats to permit privacy. A quiet, secure
area should be provided that is of sufficient
size to allow the queen ample opportunity to
move around. Queens with kittens require
additional space beyond the minimum
requirement of 0.85 m3
. The queening area
should be quarantined or be the area entered
first before the “dirtier” areas to minimize
exposure of newborns.
Human supervision and immediate assistance
is important during the queening period and
the days following the birth of the kittens.
The queening area should be located in an
area that will facilitate ongoing 24-hour
supervision by the breeder.
The queening area might consist of a private
pen containing an enclosed, easily accessed,
covered queening box. This box should be
lined with soft, easy-to-change bedding for
the queen and the kittens. Bedding should be
changed daily or more often if required.
Supplemental heat, generally in the form of a
heat lamp, should provide an ambient
temperature between 29°C and 32°C. Care
should be taken so that the area is not
overheated and that the kittens and queen can
move out of the direct heat and return to it as
Scratching posts allow for scratching
behaviour and should be standard equipment
in cat facilities. The primary enclosure or the
exercise area should contain a scratching post
so that cats can engage in the natural habit of
scratching in an appropriate way. The post
should be high enough for the cat to fully
extend its body when scratching. Some cats
like to scratch horizontal surfaces. Suitable
material is a solid wooden post positioned
securely and covered with sisal. For kittens
that will be adopted to households, it is
important to use a cat scratching post without
carpet. Cats develop a preference for certain
material and may begin to scratch that same
material in the home.
Group housing should be equipped with
several scratching posts, preferably placed
both vertically and horizontally to provide for
varying preferences by the cats. Scratching
posts also allow for cat-cat olfactory
Litter boxes should be of appropriate size for
an adult cat (at least 1 ½ times longer than the
cat). Trays should be of sufficient size and
height to allow the cat to scratch, dig, turn,
and squat comfortably. Adequate litter
material should be provided to allow the cats
to engage in the complete sequence of
elimination. Not all cats cover their feces.
Commercial cat litter, sawdust, shavings,
sand, or shredded paper will allow cats to
satisfy their desire to dig.
Adequate litter pans should be provided to
avoid contamination of the surrounding
environment (high-sided rather than
completely enclosed pans are suggested) and
without having to compete for facilities. A
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litter of kittens and the queen can share one
large pan if it is cleaned more than once
daily; the recommendation in any colony is
one litter pan per cat, plus one. The litter pans
should be of a material that is easily washed
and disinfected daily, and of adequate size.
Weaned kittens and adult cats should be fed
at least twice a day, unless otherwise
specified by a veterinarian. Food should be
free from contamination and should be
wholesome, palatable, and of sufficient
quantity and nutritive value to meet the
normal daily requirements for the condition
and size of the cat. Food must be provided in
sufficient amounts to ensure normal growth
in kittens and maintenance of normal body
weight in adults.
Cats must have continuous access to clean,
palatable water. Food and water receptacles
must be accessible to each individual and/or
group of cats and should be located to prevent
contamination by excreta. Feeding dishes are
to be kept clean. Self-feeders may be used for
the feeding of dry food and should be
sanitized regularly to prevent mold,
deterioration, or caking of food.
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Care and Supervision
Efficient regular supervision and an
effective health care program should be
provided on an ongoing basis. Staff should
be experienced in the needs of cats and
kittens. Such individuals must have
compassion and respect for the cats and
kittens for which they are responsible.
The attendants should understand the
breed’s characteristics, normal cat
behaviour, and social interaction within a
normal cat colony and should be provided
with a copy of this Code of Practice.
Identification of each cat as well as the
maintenance of individual records is
essential to good management practices.
Ideally, cats should be permanently
identified by means of a tattoo on the
abdomen or microchip implant.
Record-keeping is essential. Individual
records should be developed by the time
each litter is weaned. New owners should be
provided with copies of the cat’s individual
records. The cattery should maintain and
keep records for a minimum period (i.e., 5
years) and in such a way as to facilitate the
diagnosis and surveillance of heritable or
infectious diseases, such as polycystic
kidney disease, sudden death, or other
problems that may be genetic or
Records for all litters should include a daily
record of each kitten’s progress, such as
weight gain of neonates, weakness,
supplemental feeding, etc., as well as
numbers and sexes. Ideally, each kitten has
its own record at the time of birth. Kittens
should be weighed at birth and then daily for
at least the next 4 weeks. Desirable and
nondesirable traits should be noted. The
records should specify individual birth
weights, condition, and vigour.
Individual records should include breed, sex,
date of birth, the name and description of the
queen and tom, tattoo or microchip number,
and FeLV/FIV status of the queen, tom and
kitten, colour, and markings.
Both individual and litter records should
include information concerning the nature of
the food provided, any medications,
vaccinations, and examinations for internal
and external parasites and the results
The success of a good management program
depends on the nature of the building,
building materials, and the various types of
equipment available for proper cleaning,
sanitation, and disinfection.
Cleaning and sanitizing should be carried
out daily. Individual circumstances may
require more frequent cleaning.
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Daily cleaning and disinfection with
appropriate products, such as bleach or
quaternary ammonium, are necessary to
eliminate odours and bacterial or viral
contamination, as well as to control
parasites. Cleaning and disinfection are
integral to a good preventative health
Isolation facilities must be provided for
individual queens with litters that are
experiencing upper respiratory tract or other
illness. Ensure the isolation area meets the
welfare, socialization, and development
needs of the kittens and queen. Caretakers
should be cognizant of the infectious and
often asymptomatic nature of feline
respiratory disease and have facilities to
adequately disinfect their hands, clothing,
and the isolation areas. The same principles
apply to ANY infectious disease of cats.
Regardless of health status, caretakers
should at least wash hands with soap and
water (or an alcohol disinfectant product if
hands are not soiled) between handling
litters or individual adult cats.
Certain internal parasites of cats are
remarkably resistant to normal cleaning and
disinfection and can remain viable in the
environment for long periods of time. Even
indoor-only cats may cycle low levels of the
parasites from litter pan to mouth for years,
undetectable by fecal examination. It is
recommended that all cats be maintained on
a parasite control program, and that kittens
be routinely dewormed from 3 weeks of
age. (Please see the Companion Animal
Parasite Council recommendations2

Companion Animal Parasite Council
Caretakers should be knowledgeable about
the zoonotic disease toxoplasmosis and take
appropriate precautions when handling litter
and feces.
External parasites require immediate
appropriate treatment of all affected cats and
kittens, as well as thorough cleaning and
sanitization, and/or appropriate preventative
treatment to prevent spread of the parasite to
other cats and kittens in the colony.
Visiting toms and queens should be
thoroughly checked or treated
prophylactically for external and internal
parasites and quarantined before
introduction to the colony. Vaccinations
should be up to date.
Outside runs, particularly those involving
crushed stone or dirt floors are difficult to
clean; this can lead to poor control of
parasites. Good drainage, daily cleaning, and
preventing contact with nonfacility animals
will facilitate parasite management.
All cats should be under the supervision of a
consulting veterinarian(s) responsible for the
prevention and control of disease, the
provision of adequate veterinary care, and, if
the need for euthanasia arises, provision of a
humane death. Catteries are encouraged to
develop a comprehensive preventative
health program with the consulting
veterinarian that is supported by cattery
visits, annual health checks of the queens
and toms, appropriate vaccination (see
Appendix B), appropriate feline
immunodeficiency virus (FIV) and feline
leukemia virus (FeLV) testing of queens and
toms (Please see the American Association
of Feline Practitioners’ Retrovirus
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Management guidelines3
for more
information), prevention and management of
dermatophyte infections (for example,
ringworm), appropriate diagnostic testing,
accurate record keeping, and follow-up
The keys to preventing disease in a cat
colony are to avoid overcrowding, to
provide sanitary living conditions with good
nutrition of all cats, and to recognize and
treat problems early and appropriately.
Also crucial is early recognition of
abnormalities in behaviour, appetite,
elimination, and coat/body condition by
those individuals who see the cats and
kittens on a day-to-day basis.
Breeders are encouraged to participate in
and promote programs that diagnose,
research, and prevent:
• inheritable diseases, such as polycystic
kidney disease screening program, and
• infectious disease, such as FIV, FeLV,
The breeding of cats is a serious
responsibility that requires a commitment of
both time and financial resources. Breeders
should ensure all breeding cats are of sound
health and temperament and have been
tested for inherited disorders where
appropriate. Breeders should also ensure
there is a market for the offspring prior to
Queens should not be bred before they are at
least 80% of their usual bodyweight at
maturity. Breeding may continue for as long
as the queen is physically and mentally

3 American Association of Feline Practitioners
healthy. Male cats should be provided with
their own special breeding cages so that they
are not stressed by trying to establish new
territory at every breeding. After queens
have been placed with the male and bred
several times, they should not be allowed to
wander because additional breeding can
occur by undesirable males for up to two
days later. This will prevent the possibility
of unwanted cross-bred kittens in the litters.
Cats are highly fertile and can conceive even
while they are suckling so they should be
isolated from intact males at all time unless
breeding is desired. Although long-haired
breeds may not be receptive to males in
autumn and winter, to prevent unwanted
pregnancies, queens must be regarded as
being potentially fertile throughout the year.
Queens should not be allowed to breed
unless clients have expressed real interest in
purchasing their kittens. Indiscriminate
breeding is to be discouraged and queens
should be ovariectomized as soon as there is
no longer demand for their kittens.
Kittens must be provided with proper
housing, nutrition, health care, exercise, and
socialization. They should be gradually
nutritionally weaned from their mother and
introduced to food starting around 4–5
weeks, and completely weaned by 6–7
weeks. It is very important that the kittens
be exposed to a range of people and stimuli
so that they will adjust to novel situations,
environments, and people when they go to
their new homes. The minimum age for
kittens to be placed in their new homes is 8
weeks; however, 10–12 weeks is preferred
as kittens are generally more robust and will
be more socially developed by that time.
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Breeding for extreme types may be
associated with negative effects on the
welfare of both the queen and her offspring.
Breeders should be aware, through reading
and consultation with their veterinarian, of
any problems prevalent in their breed.
Breeders must also take steps to eliminate
genetic defects by establishing suitable
breeding programs, including (when
possible) testing and certifying that all
breeding stock is clear of genetic disorders
that are prevalent in that breed. Breeders
should provide written guarantees against
such disorders in the kittens they sell.
In The Welfare of Cats4
, Steiger lists various
cat breeds and their associated welfare
problems, and discusses principles of
responsible breeding and measures to
improve welfare. Breeders and judges are
urged to reconsider breed standards in light
of welfare-associated problems in extreme
cat breeds.

Steiger A. Breeding and welfare. In: The Welfare of
Cats. Rochlitz I, ed. The Netherlands: Springer,
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Behavioural Needs
The physical and mental well-being of
domestic cats in confined facilities is greatly
improved in an environment where the cats
can express a wide range of normal feline
behaviours. The complexity of a cat’s needs
should be kept in mind when designing and
developing catteries or other animal
quarters. The cats must be allowed to engage
in as many species-typical activities as
possible. (See Appendix A for more
Sufficient space, proper and comfortable
housing complete with stimulating physical
facilities and activities, cat-to-cat
socialization, and human contact are all
important elements of good housing.
Housing is a major factor contributing to the
cat’s well-being. Cats housed singly need
more stimulation than those in communal
pens – they will need more social contact
(i.e., play sessions). Wherever possible, a
cage-free environment is preferred for
housing cats in groups and is considered
more conducive to a variable, stimulating,
and less stressful environment. Once
established, most socialized cats respond
well to communal living. Group housing can
contain up to 15–20 cats, although smaller
groups may be most desirable. Smaller
groups formed by, for example, removing
walls on solitary cages to create pair or quad
housing. (See also pages 11–13.)
Individual variations in personalities and
compatibility must be understood before
arranging the groups or introducing new cats
to an already established group. Overly large
groups may result in excessive fighting,
causing problems for subordinate (or more
timid) individuals. Relative rank can vary
from one pair of cats to another and can vary
depending on context.
Play is an important factor in feline wellbeing. Cats and kittens should have the
opportunity to engage in simulated hunting
behaviour through play, including
behaviours that simulate the hunting
sequence. They should also have
opportunities for inanimate play with rolling
and batting toys. Play may be facilitated
through enrichment devices, cat-to-cat
contact, or human-cat interaction.
Access to toys enriches the environment for
cats and stimulates play activity.
• Play behaviour and climbing needs may
be supplied by children’s kindergarten
play equipment or other climbing
• Furniture and toys should not restrict the
free floor space necessary for
socialization with other cats.
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• Cats’ patterns of play reflect predatory
behaviour specialized for prey such as
rodents or birds. A prey-sized moving
object will draw a cat’s attention.
Appropriate toys create movement and
noise that intrigue the cat.
• Toys may be hung or placed to
encourage jumping, batting, pouncing
and running. It is also important that toys
be safe, and not have chewable or
swallowable parts.
• Toys need to be changed about every
three days to generate renewed interest,
and may be reintroduced after a short
period of removal. It is important that
toys be appropriately sanitized if they
are interchanged among different
Cardboard boxes placed in the housing area
are popular as hiding places or resting areas.
Specially designed boxes5
improve cat wellbeing by providing:
• opportunities to engage in a wide
range of behaviour (hiding, perching,
jumping up/down);
• choice of viewing points;
• choice of textures;
• opportunities for marking (face
rubbing on box), scratching; and
• more control over the amount of
exposure to people or other cats.

Socialization with people and other cats is a
critical part of every cattery operation. Cats
that are unsocialized with people and other
cats become poor pets and are unsuitable for
breeding stock.
Socialization is a response to learned
behaviour. The ability to become sociable
differs from cat to cat and may relate to
genetic or family dispositions. However, any
cat raised in isolation or deprived of
sufficient contact with animals of its own
kind will develop abnormal social
behaviour. Auditory socialization should be
provided in breeding facilities. Kittens
should be exposed to household sounds such
as toilets flushing, vacuum cleaner,
doorbells, and so on to prepare them for
home life. Commercial CDs of these sounds
are available.
Social relationships develop within the first
two months of a cat’s life. Following this
time period, cats need continued
socialization with other cats.
Most social bonds between cats occur
between adults and juveniles with the
strongest bonds occurring between family
members and between females.
Social hierarchies develop within a group of
cats. Aggressive behaviour can be
minimized by providing sufficient housing
area and adequate structures for hiding and
seclusion. Independent of the housing
system, cats should be given the chance to
interact with other cats daily.
Visual and olfactory contact is important for
cat-to-cat interaction. Cats communicate
with each other through scent marking, a
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behaviour promoted by offering furniture or
objects for the cats to rub on. Visual cues are
expressed in body and tail posture as well as
facial expression with ears, eyes, mouth, and
Social behaviour is also fostered by
interactions with humans. The socialization
of kittens to people must be introduced
within the kitten’s first three weeks of life.
Older kittens should receive human contact
for a minimum of 40 minutes daily. Contact
with more than one person increases
acceptance of humans later in life.
Adult cats should be given the opportunity
for individual human contact routinely,
preferably daily or at least five days a week.
Interaction should be a positive experience
for the cat and may take place during
feeding time, grooming time, play time with
interactive toys, or as “quiet time” when the
animal caretaker is present in the housing
quarters and available for interaction if the
cat so chooses. Do not hand play with cats
as this may cause some cats to develop
predatory play behaviour towards humans.
Socialization of the kittens and cats to
human beings and other cats should be a
goal of all those who care for the animals.
Kittens should remain in sibling and colony
contact for a minimum of 8 weeks (ideally
10-12 weeks) and be handled by humans,
including children, from 3 weeks of age
until sold. The social development needs of
the kitten into early adulthood should be
explained clearly to the new owners.
A Code of Practice for Canadian Cattery Operations
Canadian Veterinary Medical Association
A comprehensive set of regulations with
regards to the transportation of cats is
legislated within the Health of Animals Act
(Canada). Sections discuss pre-shipping
concerns associated with both import and
export of cats.
The following points should be addressed
when transporting cats.
• Within the cattery, all animals should be
handled on a daily basis to facilitate
restraint and ensure socialization.
• Cats or kittens should be conditioned to
their shipping container to learn to
regard it as a comfort and security zone
prior to shipping.
• Shipping stresses the animal by causing
changes in immune function and thereby
making it more susceptible to disease.
• Cat carriers (cages) must meet the
requirements of the Live Animal
Regulation of the International Air
Transport Association (IATA) for
import/export air transport.
• Proper health certificates and
vaccination requirements should be in
order prior to shipping the cat to the
desired destination or when importing a
cat or kitten into Canada.
• Weather conditions should be assessed
prior to shipping to prevent possible
harm to the animal from excessive heat
or cold.
• Kittens should be at least 8 weeks of age
before shipping and should be
transported by the fastest route possible.
If a kitten is to be in transit more than 4
to 6 hours, provision must be made for
food and water en route.
• Every vehicle in which cats and kittens
are transported must be free of
mechanical defects and designed in such
a fashion as to provide adequate levels
of fresh air at a temperature suitable for
the health, welfare, and comfort of the
animals. Containers holding live animals
should not be carried in trunks or in the
open backs of vehicles. The vehicle
should be designed and properly
maintained in order to prevent the
entrance of exhaust fumes.
• Individuals who are responsible for
shipping animals should establish that
those handling the animals in transit
recognize their responsibility for the
health, welfare, and safety of the
animals. Qualified individuals with
proper training in the care of animals
should be selected.

• The shipper should notify the consignee
of the actual time of departure, expected
transit time and stopovers, designated
destination, and expected time of arrival.
The consignee must ensure that
arrangements are in place to receive the
animals and, if customs or health
examinations are required to clear the
animals, that those individuals are
notified and at the destination site when
the cats arrive. Arrangements should be
in place for any emergency care or
treatment or, if quarantine is a
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requirement, that acceptable facilities are
available with qualified personnel.
• While most containers and most
agencies or transporting companies
allow only one animal in a container,
there are situations where containers are
designed to handle more than one animal
in comfort. Where more than one cat is
transported in a large container or cage,
all animals so transported should be
compatible and socially adapted to the
company of other cats. Cats that have
aggressive tendencies or behaviour
should not be mixed. Females in estrus
(heat) should not be transported in the
same cage with a tom.
• To ensure the welfare of cats and kittens
during transportation, preplanning is
essential. This includes making certain
that proper documentation, containers,
fastest and safest routing, and
notification of arrival are in place before
the journey starts.
• All personnel in the transport chain
should be adequately trained and
experienced with the necessary
requirements, in order to maintain and
ensure the health and well-being of cats
before and during transportation as well
as at the final destination.
• Tranquilization or sedation is not
generally recommended, and should
only be used on the advice of a
veterinarian, as certain drugs can be
counter-productive to safe, humane
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An important aspect of cattery ownership
and breeding is that all those involved must
be knowledgeable concerning the needs of
the cats and kittens for whose care and
treatment they are responsible. Every effort
must be made to discourage impulse buying.
This may be achieved through education by
breeders, cattery operators, pet shops,
animal welfare organizations, humane
societies and SPCAs, the CCA, and the
Breeders/cattery owners should educate
themselves with the most current
information available on their breed(s) and
breeding practices and use this information
to create rigorous training standards for their
staff. Staff members need to be aware of
their responsibility to provide high quality,
humane treatment to the animals in their
care at all times.
Buyers need to be informed in writing of
any potential health issues, as well as which
veterinary care/procedures have been
performed and which are yet necessary.
Additional information provided at the time
of purchase should address routine health
care, behaviour, spaying/neutering,
responsibilities to cats, and community
standards for cat ownership. Kittens should
not be sold before 8 weeks of age.
Breeders must spend time to screen and
educate buyers, and to ensure buyers are
aware of their responsibilities as a pet
owner. Kittens and cats should be matched
with good, caring homes. Breeders should
provide a written guarantee of health to all
buyers, indicating what compensation would
be provided in the event of a genetic
disorder or health concern.
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Emergencies and Unforeseen Problems
Preventive medicine is the dominant theme
in good cattery management. Despite good
efforts to prevent illness or accident,
emergencies will occur. A well-managed
cattery will have an established rapport with
a local veterinary hospital to deal with
emergencies or unforeseen problems.
A standard emergency/crisis plan should
include emergency contact numbers for all
staff, a local consulting veterinarian, local
animal control, poison control centre, and
local emergency services such as fire,
ambulance, and police. The plan should
include detailed instructions for protecting
staff and animal health in emergency or
unforeseen situations, including:
• sickness, injury or death,
• cat fights,
• cat bites to employees or visitors,
• fire,
• flooding,
• power outage,
• evacuation,
• exposure to chemicals or other noxious
stimuli, and
• escape of animals.
Written procedures for cat care should be
posted within the facility and any satellite
locations so that they are available to all
employees at all times. These procedures
should include methods of handling
sickness, injury, or death of cats and should
include telephone numbers of veterinarians
and back-up car transportation. As part of
their required training, all staff should be
familiarized with the procedures.
Specific written procedures should be
prepared for cat escapes, exposure to
chemicals, and cat bites.
All catteries should have emergency
evacuation capabilities. Emergency
procedures should be posted, clearly
understood by all staff, and updated
Emergency equipment should be installed,
including an effective smoke and fire
detection system, fire extinguishers that are
appropriately rated and emergency lighting
Cattery owners should consult with local fire
departments and request a site visit to
review their emergency preparedness and to
familiarize emergency responders with their
site and operation.
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The term is derived from the Greek “eu” for
“good” and “thanatos” for “death” or an
easy death. In veterinary terms it is used to
describe the humane ending of an animal’s
life. Euthanasia is warranted when an animal
is in a state of illness, pain, or distress that
cannot be alleviated nor reasonably expected
to abate.
Euthanasia must be carried out by a trained
individual, preferably a veterinarian, so that
the animal does not experience panic, pain,
or distress. The veterinarian should use
professional judgment in deciding when cats
or kittens must be euthanized.
The method of euthanasia must render the
animal irreversibly unconscious as rapidly
as possible with the least possible pain, fear,
and anxiety, followed quickly by cessation
of cardiac and respiratory function. It is
broadly accepted that the most humane
method for euthanizing individual cats is the
intravenous injection of a concentrated
Ideally, animals should be
sedated prior to the administration of a

Canadian Veterinary Medical Association’s
Euthanasia position statement
The experience, training, sensitivity, and
compassion of the individual are important
issues when considering whether an
individual is competent to perform the
procedure of euthanasia.
As well as being humane, the method used
for euthanasia must:

• produce minimal undesirable
physiological and psychological effects
on the animal,
• be compatible with the requirements and
the conditions under which the
procedure must be performed,
• be safe and produce minimal stress for
the operator and any assistants or
• have minimal ecological impact, and
• be carried out in a location separate from
other animals.
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Cat Welfare
Welfare is best described as a continuum from poor to good. Stress, disease, and abnormal
behaviour such as inhibition of feeding or engaging in repetitive behaviour (stereotypies) are all
indicators of poor welfare. The absence of such indicators is, however, not sufficient to place the
animal on the “good” end of the welfare continuum. In the case of cats, indicators of good
welfare may include behaviours such as object and social play, affiliative behaviour towards
humans and cats (when housed communally), face rubbing, “normal” use of
space, interest in the environment, and so on. Equating welfare to the absence of stress, disease,
and emotional distress would be equivalent to saying that when a human is not physically or
mentally ill, that automatically means that she or he leads a happy and fulfilling life.
The environmental and social conditions needed for good welfare vary from individual to
individual depending on personality, previous learning experience, life stage, and so on.
In an effort to improve welfare, many humane groups and organizations responsible for animal
care have embraced the scientific concept of the Five Freedoms (Farm Animal Welfare Council
1. Freedom from hunger and thirst – by ready access to fresh water and a diet to
maintain full health and vigour.
2. Freedom from pain, injury, or disease – by prevention or rapid diagnosis and
3. Freedom from discomfort – by providing an appropriate environment including
shelter and a comfortable resting area.
4. Freedom from fear and distress – by ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid
mental suffering.
5. Freedom to express normal behaviour – by providing sufficient space, proper
facilities and company of the animal’s own kind.
Freedom 1: Freedom from hunger and thirst
To meet this freedom, it is important to understand the feeding behaviour of cats.
• Close proximity between feeding and elimination areas may inhibit eating or drinking.
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• In communal housing, confident cats may restrict access to resources such as food and water
from less confident cats. Positioning of bowls must ensure access for all cats.
• Cats in communal housing must be monitored for dehydration and body condition to ensure
they are getting proper nutrition.
• When under stress, some cats do not eat. Reducing stress is essential to encourage feeding
• Pet cats that are anxious may not engage in feeding behaviour unless petted by a familiar
Freedom 2: Freedom from pain, injury, or disease
To meet this freedom, it is important to recognize behavioural and clinical signs of disease and
pain. Internal communication among staff members must be efficient and decisions must be
prompt to ensure veterinary care is provided at the first indication that the animal is not well.
Geriatric cats housed in communal pens may injure themselves or experience pain when jumping
up or down to, or from, a shelf. Steps or ramps must be provided to reduce the risk of injury.
Freedom 3: Freedom from discomfort
Comfort needs are species-specific but vary based on individual preference, age, and previous
experience. To meet this freedom, cat enclosures must provide a waste-free living area with
appropriate ambient temperature, natural light, good ventilation, and comfortable bedding. As
geriatric cats are often more fragile than younger ones, communal enclosures in particular must
provide for the comfort needs of geriatric cats.
Freedom 4: Freedom from fear and distress
To meet this freedom, an environment must be provided that enables cats to self-manage stress
and negative emotions, such as having the opportunity to hide. Opportunities for positive social
interaction with people and other cats must also be provided.
Anxiety is an emotional state that the cat experiences when it is uncertain about the environment,
usually because it is novel. Anxiety is defined as the anticipation of a future danger or threat –
real or imaginary. The cat needs to assess what is happening and the potential for danger. Posture
varies with the intensity and duration of the stimulus and the individuality of the cat.
Stimuli that may cause fear and anxiety in cats include the arrival of a stranger, intrusion into the
cat’s personal space, sudden movements, loud noises, novel objects or smells, and loss of control
over the environment.
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Behavioural indications of fear and/or anxiety
• The cat may be immobile at the back of cage.
• Eyelids may be wide open with pupils partially or fully dilated.
• Eyes may be pressed shut indicating feigned sleep.
• There may be reduction or complete inhibition of self maintenance behaviour.
• The cat may lie flat – immobile in the litter box with eyes peering over the edge.
• Body and ears are flattened, whiskers are retracted, and tail is tightly held near the
• The cat may urinate or defecate.
• The cat may drool excessively or repeatedly lick the lips.
Freedom 5: Freedom to express normal behaviour
To meet this freedom, environmental and social enrichment must be provided to enable the cat to
engage in a wide range of behaviours normally expected of cats known to enjoy good welfare.
Exercise and social activities such as object play, affiliative behaviour, rubbing, exploring,
chasing, pouncing, and so on (these activities will vary based on personality and age) will ensure
that cats are enjoying physical and psychological contentment.
When animals in captivity are not able to engage in the behaviour normal to their species, they
may become frustrated. This is true of cats housed in traditional kennel or shelter settings that
offer few opportunities for meaningful interaction with the environment.
Behavioural indications of frustration
Extroverted cats that suffer from frustration may show the following behaviours:
• Be moody (friendly one minute, aggressive the next)
• Seem to be friendly, trying to catch people passing by with their paw
• Be very vocal
• Engage in escape behaviour including pacing or pawing a cage closure
• Spray or eliminate outside the litter box (also associated with anxiety)
• Sit at the front of the cage, meowing continuously, with intensity increasing
when you approach or depart
• Seek eye contact
• Continuously try to open the cage
• Pace
• Shred or destroy cage items
• Turn all items upside down (can be a sign of frustration if the cat is not also
trying to hide)
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Introverted cats may choose to relieve their frustration with quiet repetitive behaviours,
such as:
• Over grooming or focus licking on one area of the body causing damage to the
skin (This may also be a sign of a medical condition or a response to pain.)
• Self-mutilation (as above)
• Sucking, chewing or eating non-edible items (These behaviours my also occur
with gastrointestinal disorders.)
• Focusing interest on one part of the cage
Gourkow N, Fraser D. The effect of housing and handling practices on the welfare, behaviour
and selection of domestic cats (Felis sylvestris catus) by adopters in an animal shelter Animal
Welfare 2006;15:371-377.
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Feline Vaccines–Specific Recommendations
Vaccine Type of vaccine Schedule Vaccine Site
Feline Rhinotracheitis
Virus (Feline Herpes
Virus –1)
First – can be
8 weeks
12 weeks
16 weeks
Below elbow right
Feline Calici Virus Killed Given with FVRCP
Feline Panleukopenia
Killed Given with FVRCP
Feline Chlamydia Killed/modified live Given with FVRCP
combination if upper
respiratory tract
disease is a problem
in the cattery
Intranasal Optional – Given if
upper respiratory tract
disease is a problem
in the cattery
Feline Leukemia
12 weeks
16 weeks
Below stifle left hind
limb subcutaneous
Optional – Cats and
kittens previously
unvaccinated for FIV
should test negative
for FIV and FeLV
before giving this
12 weeks
16 weeks
20 weeks
Below elbow left
FIP Not recommended
Rabies Killed virus;
recombinant vaccine
Below stifle right hind
limb subcutaneous
FIV—feline immunodeficiency virus; FeLV—feline leukemia virus; FIP—feline
infectious peritonitis; FVRCP—feline viral rhinotracheitis calicivirus panleukopenia

A Code of Practice for Canadian Cattery Operations
Canadian Veterinary Medical Association
Vaccines should be boosted at intervals as
recommended by the consulting
veterinarian. Veterinarians may propose a
different vaccination schedule according to
specific requirements. Vaccine sites may
vary according to the veterinarian, but
should be documented clearly in the kitten’s
medical record and never given in the
“scruff” or intramuscularly.
Vaccines form an integral part of the cattery
preventative health program. Disease control
and prevention should be a primary
consideration. Catteries are encouraged to
develop a comprehensive preventative
health program with a consulting
veterinarian that is supported by cattery
visits, annual health checks of the queens
and toms, regular FIV and FeLV testing of
queens and toms, appropriate diagnostic
testing, accurate record keeping, and followup regimes.
Rabies is a fatal viral disease that can affect
all mammals. In Canada, pet owners are
advised to vaccinate their pets according to
provincial recommendations. Rabies
vaccination is required every year in some
areas and in other areas every three years
after the first booster vaccine. Local
authorities should be consulted. Although
there is some risk of reaction to
vaccinations, the public health consequences
of not vaccinating are high. Consult your
local veterinarian for advice on routine
For more detailed vaccination
recommendations (American Association of
Feline Practitioners) please see
A Code of Practice for Canadian Cattery Operations
Canadian Veterinary Medical Association
The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association Position Statement on
Onychectomy (Declawing) of the Domestic Feline*
“Declawing of domestic cats should be considered only after attempts have been made to prevent
the cat from using its claws destructively or when clawing presents a zoonotic risk for its
owner(s). The CVMA believes it is the obligation of veterinarians to provide cat owners with
complete education with regard to feline onychectomy.”
The following points are the foundation for full understanding and disclosure regarding
1. Scratching is a normal feline behavior, is a means for cats to mark their territory both
visually and with scent, and is used for claw conditioning (“husk” removal) and
stretching activity.
2. Owners must provide suitable implements for normal scratching behavior. Examples are
scratching posts, cardboard boxes, lumber or logs, and carpet or fabric remnants affixed
to stationary objects. Implements should be tall or long enough to allow full stretching,
and be firmly anchored to provide necessary resistance to scratching. Cats should be
positively reinforced in the use of these implements.
3. Appropriate claw care (consisting of trimming the claws every 1-2 weeks) should be
provided to prevent injury or damage to household items.
4. Surgical declawing is not a medically necessary procedure for the cat in most cases.
While rare in occurrence, there are inherent risks and complications with any surgical
procedure including, but not limited to, anesthetic complications, hemorrhage, infection
and pain. If onychectomy is performed, appropriate use of safe and effective anesthetic
agents and the use of safe peri-operative analgesics for an appropriate length of time are
imperative. The surgical alternative of tendonectomy is not recommended.
5. Declawed cats should be housed indoors.
6. Scientific data does indicate that cats that have destructive clawing behavior are more
likely to be euthanized, or more readily relinquished, released, or abandoned, thereby
contributing to the homeless cat population. When scratching behavior is an issue as to
whether or not a particular cat can remain as an acceptable household pet in a particular
home, surgical onychectomy may be considered.
7. There is no scientific evidence that declawing leads to behavioral abnormalities when the
behavior of declawed cats is compared with that of cats in control groups.
A Code of Practice for Canadian Cattery Operations
Canadian Veterinary Medical Association
1. Frank D. Management problems in cats. In: Horwitz DF, Mills DS, Heath S, eds. British
Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA) Manual of Canine and Feline Behavioural
Medicine. Ames, Iowa: Blackwell Publ, 2002.
2. Overall K. Clinical behavioural medicine for small animals. St. Louis, Missouri: Mosby-Year
Book, 1997.
* This statement is based on that of the American Veterinary Medical Association, (adopted
March 2003), and is used with permission.
(Revised July 2004)
A Code of Practice for Canadian Cattery Operations
Canadian Veterinary Medical Association
Recommended Minimum Space Requirements for Cats7
Minimum floor area per cat (m2
) Minimum Height (m)
Cage Group housed (pen)
Adult cat 1.5 1.7 0.75 (cage)
1.75 (pen)
Kittens < 12 weeks 1.5 0.75

Canadian Federation of Humane Societies. Shelter Operations Manual. Ottawa, Canada: CFHS, 2007:86.
A Code of Practice for Canadian Cattery Operations
Canadian Veterinary Medical Association
Organizations that Provide Information
on the Care and Humane Treatment of Cats
Canadian Veterinary Medical Association
339 Booth Street
Ottawa, Ontario
K1R 7K1
Canadian Federation of Humane Societies
102-30 Concourse Gate
Ottawa, Ontario
K2E 7V7
Canadian Cat Association
5045 Orbitor Drive, Building 12, Suite 102
Mississauga, Ontario
L4W 4Y4
The Cat Fanciers Association Inc.
1805 Atlantic Avenue
Box 1005
Manasquan, New Jersey, USA
Tel: (732) 528-9797
Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council of
2495 Lancaster Road, Suite 202
Ottawa, Ontario
K1B 4L5
Animal Alliance of Canada
101-221 Broadview Avenue
Toronto, Ontario
M4M 2G3
British Columbia Society for the
Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
Behaviour & Welfare Dept.
1245 East 7th Avenue,
Vancouver, British Columbia
V5T 1R1
A Code of Practice for Canadian Cattery Operations
Canadian Veterinary Medical Association