Putting a cat in a crate may sound like a terrible thing to do. But sometimes crating can be helpful or even necessary. Crating a tiny kitten will keep him safe and out of trouble at night while everyone else sleeps. And crating an elderly cat who gets confused will make him feel secure and safe.
If you crate your cat at night, make sure the crate is comfortable. You don't want Kitty to feel like he's in jail!
Carrier or Crate?
Carriers are designed for transporting animals, not housing them. Even the largest carrier is dark and stuffy inside and doesn't make a comfortable “bedroom” for a cat. If you need to confine your cat at night, he'll be happier in a dog crate, or cage.
Pet supply stores sell both wire and nylon crates with mesh windows. For night-long confinement, Kitty will probably prefer a wire cage. He'll have a better view of everything that's going on around him, and the air circulation is better.
Choosing a Crate
Crates come in a variety of sizes. Some are designed for very small dogs, while others provide enough room for a Great Dane. Although your cat is small, think big when choosing his crate. He’ll need enough room for a litter box, dishes, a bed and some toys.
Be sure to get a collapsible crate. It will be easier to store in the garage or basement when Kitty’s not using it.
When to Crate a Cat
No cat should live permanently in a cage, but crating a cat for just a few days can be helpful for retraining him to use his litter box, medicating him if he's difficult to handle or introducing him to new feline family members. Some rescuers crate feral kittens while taming and socializing them.
For cats who are very fearful, a crate with the door open can be a safe place to retreat from other family members.
A Private Retreat
Kitty will love going into his crate at night if you make it cozy and comfortable. Put a comforter in the back so he'll have a soft place to sleep. Add a small kitty condo or cushy bed. He'll also need a litter box and bowls for food and water. The bowls that hang on the sides of bird cages are great for cats because they're off the floor and won't collect scattered litter during the night.
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