Lying in wait to GET you ?
some say yes, others say no
Date: Thu, 19 Nov 1998 20:02:41 -0600 (CST) Subject: FEL-L: Concrete floors
Are there any websites, studies, etc. that talk about concrete floors being bad for animals and what exactly they do to them. I would love it if things would be perfect for the animals where I work (not that anything I say will change it).
Date: Fri, 20 Nov 1998 17:14:38 -0500 Subject: Re: FEL-L: Concrete floors
A study on animals or humans, I would bet that the results would be very similar. Imagine living on bare concrete all of the time, I would go crazy, I am sure the cats feel the same way.
How much more tolerable would prison be if, instead of concrete floors, there was carpet, wood or even dirt there. (Now that would be an interesting study!?)
Although I am sure that there are physical ramifications to living on concrete floors, my feeling is that there are also huge psychological issues involved as well.
Date: Fri, 20 Nov 1998 20:22:20 -0600 Subject: Re: FEL-L: Concrete floors
All our cages have natural flooring. Concrete is rather expensive and when one builds without it, that frees up a lot of funds to go into fencing, roofing and habitat enrichment.
I always point out to people that if the cage is small, a natural floor will be paced into a mud hole during the rainy season. You have to build bigger when you build on the ground.
We provide wheelbarrow size piles of rice hulls for kitty litter, and rake the floor of debre occasionally. Feeding areas are on large slabs of slate, or specially poured concrete slabs. The natural cleansing of rain keeps the cage floor clean, and continuous removal of feces prevents parasite buildup.
Often I hear that concrete is used for sanitary reasons. I cannot think of anything less sanitary than constantly removing feces with high pressure water that breaks the feces up into smaller pieces that get lodged in the cracks and forms a stinking, muddy, feces-filled slurry on the outside of the cage.
I have seen cats who live on concrete that constantly limp from sore paws, and aching joints. Cougars that carefully eased off the roof of a 4 foot tall house rather than jump to the concrete floor. Don't need a web site - just see for yourself.
I think MS state keeps their bobcats in 10 x 10 cages if I remember right - - that's just too small to be ground contact. That's probably why they won't listen to you. I think a 300 square feet cage size would be the minimum for each bobcat using ground contact - but it could be done with the money saved from no concrete expense.
Date: Fri, 20 Nov 1998 20:43:18 -0800 Subject: FEL-L: concrete floors
Just a personal comment. We have natural enclosures. We had an adult cougar here awaiting placement for about 8 months. The home he went to had a concrete floor. Within a month, he had open sores on several toes that ended up looking like hamburger. They put spring wood flooring over the concrete and oiled it to soothe his feet. It turned out that this cat had a butcher job of a declaw surgery. Several of the toe's tendons had been severed and were "floppy". This resulted in the remaining toes supporting all the weight instead of being evenly distributed. No problem on our natural substrate, but it manifested into a serious problem on rigid flooring. I've also heard of a tiger that had to be euthanized at a few years old, due to a bad declaw job that became a problem only when she obtained her mature weight.
Date: Sat, 21 Nov 1998 09:49:19 -0800 Subject: FEL-L: Re: felines-l-digest V1 #202
It seems some of us humans are only capable of looking at the world though our own experiences and eyes, rather than the perspective of the critters. Our cougars, lions, bobcats, and tigers should all have remote controls for their cage doors and heated dens set to a nice toasty 70 degrees };-)
Yes, you would go crazy without the comfort of your cup holder and CD player in your car, or without heat in your home in the winter, or without a TV or radio. I doubt that an outdoors cat would miss any of these "creature" comforts, despite their readily apparent psychological merits to humans. While the cats do possess extraordinary intelligence and feelings, they are not in the same context as that of a naked ape. The ape needs clothing and foot coverings to interact with its environment and would be torn apart from prolonged exposure to the environment.
Mountain Lions (as an example) live, in some instances, in Mountains - large chunks of ROCK, sometimes comprising limestone. Limestone is one of the key ingredients of concrete. Gunnite is a sprayed form of concrete used to simulate rocks at MOST animal exhibits.
Carpeting or wood lends itself to absorption of animal fluids and can host parasites. There's nothing worse in life than urine burns for any animal. Flooring in an animal enclosure should lend itself to being clean. Dirt floors present their own problems, particularly in rainy climates and again pose a problem to keep clean. Clean = Happy & Healthy, especially for an animal that ingests the floor it walks upon (watch the cat groom herself, especially after a meal). Treated wood is poisonous.
Linoleum, in my mind would be ideal, however, as most people here could attest, a cat will find a way to peel it up and ingest it, causing severe, if not fatal, problems for kitty.
There's no greater fun for a cougar than to play "soccer" with her zoo ball by batting it around on her concrete floor at full speed. Lounging on it in the summer cools her. In the winter time, it makes for lots of fun sliding in the snow. there's nothing like getting a good grip before leaping over her cage mate when at play. Body slamming each other on it causes no harm and there's no danger of being impaled on a splinter or rock. In the rainy season, the floor drains extremely well, with a mere film of water for the animals to walk upon, as opposed to a mudpit with an earthen floor. Carpets are gross when wet. Gravel floors drain nicely, but unfortunately are less than ideal when the cats carry food off onto the gravel before eating.
Sorry, I completely disagree with the armchair observers' certainty and feelings (not you, Lynn)......if it's large enough, slightly inclined, and a little roughened to simulate rock, I have never seen a problem with a concrete floor with the cats. No limping or foot problems (my cats are not overweight, excess weight may be the root cause of the leg problems in the first place) and my cats do not pace - an indication of psychological distress. Cleaning is done with a square bladed shovel - the solid material comes up clean with no residue, though it's nice to be able to hose down afterwards.
The big disadvantage of concrete is $$$. One could build a second enclosure for the price of flooring and skirting.
As you can see, varying environmental and individual traits determine appropriate flooring. The habits of the cats and the keeper, as well as design of the floor itself, play a large role in effective floor choice. people comfort does not necessarily relate to critter comfort – try hanging upside down for 8 hours some time.
I expect emotional debate on this issue, so I might as well welcome commentary.
Date: Sat, 21 Nov 1998 02:55:38 EST Subject: Re: FEL-L: Concrete floors
Don't know of any studies for concrete floors. I only know of personal experiences of owners. Concrete floors tend to cripple cats eventually. Lots of knowledgeable folks have said that here. I guess you would have to think how you would feel living on concrete 24/7 yourself.
Date: Sat, 21 Nov 1998 13:11:46 -0500 Subject: Re: FEL-L: Concrete floors
All one needs to do is look through most any industrial supply catalog. In them you will find for sale various types of pads to cushion worker's feet who must stand all day on a concrete floor. Many of these claim to reduce stress, injuries, and lost time. So, concrete floors have detrimental effects on human feet, as well. Perhaps, some of these products might want to be investigated as suitable matting for cat enclosures. In the lion enclosure I fantasize of building some day, it would feature concrete just in the area where feeding and indoor shelter was provided. The rest (several acres) would be whatever terrain was available on the site when I acquired it. Well, it's fun to dream!
Date: Sat, 21 Nov 1998 14:26:44 EST Subject: Re: FEL-L: Concrete floors
About concrete floors-------I have always had them in my 45 years plus with both large cats and small. They are so much easier to keep clean and to help cut down on worms, fleas and other diseases.
Of course the animals also have large den boxes, shelfs, tree trunks, etc., to lay on plus mats or whatever else that they may like. I also have play areas that are not the cages they live in to put them with grass. Also in their cages I put safe lage potted plants and even had a diet area where a tree or ??? could be planted.
I have never had any problems with concrete and will continue to use it. It worked wonderful even with my cheetahs and they loved it in the hot summer when we would wash it down with the hose. It helped keep them cool. Purrs, Jan
Date: Sat, 21 Nov 1998 21:00:44 -0500 Subject: FEL-L: re:cement floors
I also think cement is best for sanitation purposes. As long as there are other surfaces ie: shelving, logs, shelter roof, etc. to walk on, roomy, clean environment and mental stimulation to prevent boardem and "pacing" I do not think cement will cause any long term problems. I think the problems have more husbandry or individual cat related issues than just using concrete or cement flooring.
Date: Sat, 21 Nov 1998 21:05:36 -0600 Subject: Re: FEL-L: Concrete floors
A friend of mine in New York had a yearling cougar with foot problems. She finally took him to the vet and was told it was caused by the concrete. She purchased some very heavy rubber flooring from a company that sells it for dairy barns and layed it over the concrete. She reported the foot problem is solved. And the cat cannot chew up the floor.
Date: Sat, 21 Nov 1998 23:42:36 -0600 Subject: FEL-L: Re: Concrete Floors
1. There is a big difference between concerete and limestone. Concrete forms trapping water within its structure, and never truly dries. Also, concerete, being a composite has a tendency to have roughness that can abrade the paws. If the concrete sees an acid environment, it can start to etch or dissolve. This can lead to chemical reactions with the sweaty pads on cats' feet. The roughness can also contribute to catching cleaning chemicals that don't get washed off well.
2. I've always used a two part epoxy paint (industrial strength) to seal the concrete and smooth the surface. This is the same sort of epoxy used where they are driving forklifts around, so it tends to be real tough and resistant to any sort of cleaning chemicals. It will chip, though. I've seen it in all sorts of colors. It will stain, so pick a color to mask the stains.
Date: Mon, 23 Nov 1998 11:52:44 -0800 Subject: FEL-L: concrete floors
>Concrete forms trapping water within its structure, and never truly dries
Going back about 20 years to my freshman engineering materials class, I recall that water actually REACTS with the chemicals in cement to form concrete.....there is no real drying process and there should be no water left - it's a chemical reaction. Too much water in the mix actually weakens concrete - there's a tradeoff between workability and strength. John is correct that concrete is a sponge for water after it cures...that's the reason a good bedding of gravel & sand should be used as drainage before putting it down along with some plastic sheeting in wet areas. I'm leery of epoxy (major carcinogen in its uncured state - don't know when cured) or anything that chips away. Is there a non-toxic (John - - you should know since you're in the food industry)?
Cats are naturally sprung (see cougie go 17 feet straight up or felis cattus go up onto the top kitchen cabinets), so I still think there's an underlying physiological problem to the lameness stories on concrete. Perhaps diet?????? Declaw???? Lynn's was the only explanation I've seen so far that I buy into (not that it matters to anyone else, right?).
As I said, my animals are perfectly fine on the material, though it's not floated as you would find on a garage or basement floor and it does have about a 15% grade to it. We sometimes get concerned when they body slam each other during rough play, but they don't even seem to notice anything but the opponent, rendering a deserved hiss to maintain that all important kitty dignity (we have successsfully socialized two subspecies of cougar - they're now inseparable buddies and snuggle together in a dogloo in colder weather - yes, they fit!). The wood chips are an interesting and natural approach, however it should still be on a well drained or concrete substrate (don't forget, the enclosure is to keep other animals from digging INTO the cage as well as keeping your animals from getting out).
>Even simpler is the fact that all large zoos have veterinarians that are willing to help colleagues.
I was under the impression that most zoo cats are fully equipped (claws-wise). Anyone?
Date: Mon, 23 Nov 1998 11:58:51 -0800 Subject: Re: FEL-L: concrete floors
I have been told by Vets and have seen first hand what concrete does to cats feet. Its not good. I think that the climate warmer vs. colder has a large part in how quickly their feet and joints are affected. I would love concrete for sanitation reasons too but not at the expense of having lame animals. Maybe in warmer climates the effects aren't as apparent. I have seen cats that have lost part of their toes from being on cold cement in the winter from frostbite. They had den boxes and loafing shelves. If cement is used in winter it must be heated somehow. I have been dealing with cats since 1986 and have consistently seen and heard these problems. As far as the rubber coatings to go over cement I have seen them too but the last time I checked the coatings that were tough enough to stand up to the cats and soften the floor enough cost way more than what the concrete itself did. Money may not be a problem for you but most of us are trying to do what we can and can't justify spending thousands on cement just to have it shorten our cats life span. Glenda
Date: Mon, 23 Nov 1998 18:26:47 EST Subject: Re: FEL-L: concrete floors
Again I must say that I have used concrete for over 45 years and have yet to see any foot problems.
As I said before, I also have shelfing that is on the walls of the cages, off of the floors and den boxes to sleep in that are also off of the floor and enclosed.
In the summer, my cats love to lay on the concrete after is has been hosed down. The floors have a slant so that all of the dirt, etc washes off and out of the cages. There are also places left in the larger cages where trees were planted and dirt area around them for watering. I have also put "safe" plants in large pots inside cages for them to play with.
My cheetahs lives on concrete all of their 16 years plus of life and cheetahs feet are special--but I never even had any limping problems.
Every one has different problems. My cats even have some very heavy mats that they love to lay on in their cages. They are like headoor mats that feel like a heavy brush. One of my cats loves this mat better than anything and does not even try to chew on it.
Concrete is so easy to keep clean and disease free---cuts down on my Vet bills.
Date: Tue, 24 Nov 1998 22:10:47 -0600 Subject: FEL-L: Re: Concrete/Epoxy Sealers
With regard to epoxies -- USDA Dairy Inspection recommends epoxy as a floor/wall sealer, particularly where there is heavy traffic, including fork lifts. You want to have good ventilation when the epoxy is applied. After 24 hours, it is hard and set and essentially inert. My only problem has been occasional chipping from moving furnishings around in the cages. The geoffroy's don't seem able/inclined to try to chip at the paint. It's the only paint that I found that would hold up to geoffroy urine. Other paints (latex, oil base, marine grade) all tend to peal fairly quickly. The urine reacts also with the concrete, or else the limestone in the concrete, so I feel it is necessary to seal the surface. Also, the smooth painted surface is easier to keep clean/disinfected. I have, in some areas, to improve traction, added sand to the epoxy to roughen the surface.
Date: Sun, 06 Dec 1998 11:02:06 -0700 Subject: Re: FEL-L: Concrete floors
I have a Siberian Lynx that I got as a rescue last spring. He is only 3 years old, buy he is very crippled. He spent most of his life on blacktop, which is not as hard as concrete, but it still did a lot of damage to him. I had begged his owner to get him off the blacktop the last couple of years, and even accompanied her to a vet appointment when the vet suggested the same thing, but her husband refused to put the cats on natural ground because the asphalt looked pretty and was easy to clean. The last 6 months they had the cats he put down stall mats and that helped some, but the damage has been done. I have him in a cage with a combination of areas including peat moss, sand, and shavings. He has improved a lot, but I don't know if he will ever be able to walk normally again.
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