UPDATE: April, 2016
Shelter volunteer Lesley Allen has created hundreds of hammocks since this article was written. We’ve revised the cat hammock instructions based on Lesley’s years of trial and error and are including it on this post. How to make a cat hammock for OAS cats, updated 2016
We’re so excited to announce that our Cat Hammocks have been featured on the ASPCA Wordless Wednesday blog, as well as Dr. Jyothi Robertson’s website! See the full story below!
A few years ago, some of the staff and volunteers of Oakland Animal Services came up with an idea that is changing the lives of felines housed at the shelter. Space constraints at the shelter had made it difficult to give the cats the one thing that most of them really wanted: space to climb higher than is possible in the standard cat condo. Other key concerns included disease and stress –kitties in shelters often develop upper respiratory infections, creating a vicious cycle of stress and ill health. One option that was developed to remedy these issues was the cat hammock. We weren’t sure at the time if it would work, but we knew it would be worth a shot to see if stress and disease could be reduced during the cats’ stay at OAS.
Just as we had hoped, this ingenious idea solved several problems. The hammocks provided each cat a comfy space to curl up in, gave them the vertical space they craved and cut down on the prevalence of stress-induced upper respiratory infection, which is common in cats living in a shelter.
In addition, the design of the hammock is such that it doubles as a cage cover for those cats who are easily frightened and need a secluded place to hide. This is especially important for cats in a shelter environment, where coping with the noises and smells from so many other animals can be difficult. Needless to say, the hammocks, which have now been in place at the shelter for several years, have been the answer to many of the problems we had been facing. This may seem like a small thing, but it makes a big difference in the lives of shelter cats.