Theophanes is a New-England-based blogger, traveler, writer, photographer, sculptor, and lover of cats.
Can You Crate Train a Cat?
I have had cats bless my life almost from the time of my own birth. In those days, I lived in a rural, agricultural community, and cats were often seen as great pest control for barns and were sometimes kept as pets. Even the pets rarely got to see the luxury of living full time in the house, however. Boy, things have changed! In those early years, I would have said the idea of caging a cat was cruel and unnecessary, and pretty much everyone would have agreed with me. The only caged cats I'd ever seen were at shelters or kitten mills.
As I had to deal with more and more cat problems, I learned that temporary caging can be a very effective and useful tool for a variety of reasons and shouldn't be an idea immediately discarded by caring pet owners. I hope to illuminate some of these uses below.
To most cats the litter box is instinctual, and even a cat who's never seen one may be inclined to use it. Others aren't so easy, and this is often because they've learned bad litter box habits from another cat, usually their mother. I learned this the hard way when I had a litter of three kittens who were not caged at any point. They followed mama cat around and learned that litter boxes were decorative items and the best bathroom was behind all the furniture. This problem could have been so easily prevented if I had just known to cage the mother during their infancy.
The idea is to have a cage just big enough for food, water, a nesting box (not on a shelf! Don't want those babies toppling off!), and a litter box. This forces even the dirtiest of cats to use the litter box and reinforces the behavior in the kittens. Usually, by six to eight weeks of age, the kittens are prepared by this experience to live an ordinary life within the house. In the meantime, you can let mama (and the kittens as they get older) out from time to time to exercise so no one suffers from being cooped up for too long.
Feral cats tug at the heartstring of anyone who loves felines. Some of them have been abandoned by their people, while others have been born on the streets, never knowing what it's like to have a home. It is the latter that is the hardest to reintroduce to domestic life, but people do this every day. The first and obvious use for caging in feral cats is to keep mothers and kittens confined—not just for litter box training but also to make them easier to physically catch and socialize.
Generally, kittens born into this environment will turn out to be human friendly, but be careful—if you don't separate the mother from the kittens at the age of weaning, they may pick up on her fear of you and revert back to wild behaviors. Cages can also be used in ferals to tame older cats but expect this to be a process and take quite a bit of time. The cage will be to keep the cat in one area, forcing it to be in contact with you.
Hopefully, over time, it'll learn you're not there to hurt it, and trust can be established—keep in mind adult ferals rarely tame down completely. They may trust one individual and remain aloof or never tame down, but it's worth a try!
And finally, caging ferals is super useful if you're catching them for a spay and neuter program. It is much easier to house them in cages and wait for a vet appointment than hope to catch them on the day of surgery. They also can recover in the cages where they can't move around too much—hopefully preventing any after-surgery accidents.
Quarantining is a super beneficial practice to anyone who has more than one pet, especially if they're the same species. Sadly I don't see it being practiced enough for my liking but this is your first line of defense against contagious disease. Of course, if you are bringing a new cat into an already established household you should always make sure they have been tested and come up negative for FIV/FeLV (feline leukemia and feline AIDS respectively.) Both these diseases are very contagious and fatal so you don't want this in your house if you can prevent it!
From there, cages are a great way to keep a new cat away from any resident cats for a period of time when you should be keeping an eye out for:
- boogery noses or eyes,
- skin irritations,
- diarrhea, or any other signs of sickness.
During this time the cat should preferably be somewhere where there's no shared air between the other felines—this means a garage, a shed, a barn, a friend or neighbor's house, but I realize this can't always be accomplished so keeping it in a separate room away from the other cats is better than nothing.
Quarantine should last at the very minimum two weeks, only if no symptoms have shown up, but preferably should last 4–6 weeks. This includes both cats from rescues and from breeders!
Introducing a New Cat Into the Household
One of the main themes of this article is going to be prevention. Trust me, when it comes to cats, prevention is always better than trying to solve a problem after the fact.
One of the most common problems in cats is spraying and this is frequently caused by the introduction of a new cat. Can you really blame them? I mean, I wouldn't be terribly happy if I came home from the grocery store and found Bob on my couch—a complete stranger who's now been forced to live with me. I can't say my first reaction wouldn't be, "Get out, Bob! This is MY house! Who do you think you are?!" Cats aren't any different. That's why using a cage to introduce them is always an attractive option.
The new cat should be kept in the cage somewhere in the house where the resident cat can come up and sniff it through the bars. This is a far gentler, less territorially threatening introduction. Depending on how they respond to each other, you can move forward and let the new cat have play time outside of the cage one room at a time, slowly expanding its territory until it shares it completely with the resident cat. At the first sign of distress from either cat, you should back up a step and try again. Patience is key.
Using a Cage to Help Diagnose Ailments
Cages can be intensely useful, especially in the muti-cat household, to pinpoint which cat is having a problem. Let's say one of your cats has diarrhea, but you don't know which one. By using a cage, you can determine who is having the problem by taking them one at a time and waiting for them to show you what you need.
Other times cages can be useful if you know something is wrong, but you're not quite sure what . . . These cages can be used to figure out everything from common constipation to crystals or blood in the urine, runny or bloody stools, or even internal parasites. Did I mention it makes it very easy for you and your vet? Now you know which cat left which pile of pee or poo and take it in accordingly to be tested properly. This is also great to use with cats who have chronic issues like bladder stones or UTIs to figure out if that is what is currently causing them to show symptoms or if it's something else.
If you need to collect urine (to see stones, crystals, blood, strange coloration, or PH levels for diabetes testing), then you can use a litter box with no litter in it and hope your cat will use it, or you can use the old school method of keeping them in a cage with a grated bottom and waiting for them to pee so that it can be collected by the tray underneath. The first option is less stressful for the cat involved, but some cats are less than cooperative. Make sure they have food and water either way!
Very Short-Term Penning & Crating
If you have a cat that likes to disappear into the black hole that every feline-friendly household has, then temporary crating and penning may be useful to you at some point in the future! If you have a vet appointment or are moving, then gather the cat the night or week before, and then you won’t have to scramble around the morning of trying to find the missing beastie!
Temporary caging can also be used wonderfully if you are having a gathering of some sort and can’t trust your visitors not to let your cat outside or in an area of the house it’s not supposed to be. This is more for the cat’s safety and for your own peace of mind than anything.
Also, please crate your cats when you bring them anywhere. It doesn’t matter how mellow the cat appears to be if it’s suddenly spooked, it’ll only take a second for it to leap out of your arms or out of the car. I have heard so many cats permanently lost in this manner, so pleeeease, if you are traveling with your cat, make sure to crate them! (And I don’t want to hear “well, you can leash them” because certain cats can wriggle out of harnesses and leashes in the bat of an eye, and most can if they’re panicked.)
Doling Out Medcation
Let's face it; most cats hate to be medicated! Unfortunately, sometimes it’s necessary for their health. If you have a cat with an infection or something else that needs to be medicated in the short term, a cage can be your best friend. I had to treat my felines for coccidia, a nasty disease if there ever was one, and it took me 21 days worth of medication with the 21 days having to be reset if they missed even a single dose! If I did not use cages during this time, I would have never solved the problem! They would have all hidden around the house in avoidance of me!
Caging also is great in the sense they’re cornered which means they generally don’t struggle too much. If you have to give them pills try investing in a piller. Most pet stores and feed stores sell them, and some vets might as well. Otherwise, some medications might be able to be hidden in food or eased down the throat with a generous coating of butter. Make sure to ask your vet about the medication and if it is OK to mix with food or crush into food because some are not!
Also, if you are a cattery or rescue that has a vet that does home visits for inoculations and whatnot, please have pity on the vet and cage the cats that need to be treated. It’ll take much less time and will be less stressful for both the cats and humans involved!
Introduction Into a New Enviroment
If you are planning a move, please consider caging your kitty or kitties to ease their transition into the new environment. A lot of cats will go missing, sometimes for a few weeks, when let out into a new house without a proper introduction! This can be a scary event for them and if your cat is particularly skittish or nervous then it may take a little while to get used to the sounds, sights, and smells before they feel safe enough to explore the world outside the cage. After the cage is opened, make sure it stays open because it will be the cat's own safe spot to be and it may retreat back to it from time to time until it gets settled in.
Caging as a Training Device
Cages can be used as a weapon of peace. Sometimes even after proper introductions, cats may start to squabble, perhaps when a kitten grows to maturity and challenges the status quo of the household, or perhaps there is no concrete reason us humans can see. Either way, sometimes the resolution can be found by caging the offending cat for a while until they cool down.
Depending on the situation, caging or crating may be necessary. I had unaltered males running around a stud room for a number of years. I always brought in new “studs” as kittens, but sometimes when they grew to sexual maturity, they would start squabbling. Whenever I caught them in the act, I’d put each of the offenders in a crate/small carrier for an hour. If they started to squabble again after I let them out, I’d stick them back in the crate. Generally, after the first or second stretch, they were ready to behave themselves again. I think the record was four stints, but that was it. After two months of this ritual, everyone was living in harmony again, four unaltered adult males, who I was told beforehand I’d never be able to accomplish!
Some people feel that cats should have access to the outdoors. However, the outdoors is a very dangerous place for a cat to be. There have been studies that suggest indoor/outdoor and exclusively outdoor cats live drastically shorter lives on average than housecats. This is because of the cars, stray dogs, various wildlife, and the possibility of getting into poisons and toxins you wouldn’t ordinarily have in your house.
Take, for instance, your cat catches a mouse that just previously had ingested rodent poison. If your cat eats the mouse or a few drops of sweet-tasting antifreeze in a neighbor's open garage, then the likelihood of it surviving isn’t very good. Most cats raised exclusively indoors won’t bother to try getting outside, where it may be some other cat’s territory.
Some cats will still try, and other cats who were previously indoor/outdoor cats may be impossible to keep exclusively indoors. This is when outdoor runs become a nice way to deal with the safety issues while still allowing your cat fresh air and sunshine. Some outdoor runs are just outdoor cages or tunnels, just big enough to sunbathe or enjoy the outside without too much room to exercise and play.
Other outdoor runs can be much larger and are often homemade. They can resemble chicken coops, roofed dog runs, or even outdoor aviaries. Be creative in looking around as there don’t appear to be any large outdoor runs being marketed for cats. If this is an option you wish to look into please make note that whatever you choose needs both a roof and a wire, concrete, or other solid bottoms. Cats can easily dig their way out if they want to, and there’s nothing to stop them.
Sometimes caging can be used to aid breeders. Some females are hard to breed in an open area, either because they roll before the male can properly mount them or because they like to tease the male and stay just out of reach. In these cases, a breeding cage is often used.
This is a very small cage, just big enough for two cats with no food, water, or litter box. Females need to be bred by the males five times before she starts to ovulate. This means the cats must couple numerous times over the span of at least an hour, usually several.
After they are done, they should be allowed out to continue their normal lives. Also, the female cat should be caged a week or two before her due date. This is so you know she won’t have her kittens in some inappropriate area of your house where you can’t reach them or where they might be in danger.
Caging Cats Can Be Beneficial
I hope this article has cleared up any misconceptions people have about the caging of cats. Really it's for the benefit of the cats, their health, and social stability. I know there are catteries and rescues out there that rely only on small cages and nothing else for the entirety of the cat's life, and I think both the humans and the cats are missing out on a lot in these situations.
That being said, I know there are also catteries, rescues, and owners who have made enormous, elaborate enclosures both indoors and out, and I think this can't be a bad thing. All and all, most cats should be kept in the home, with their owner, where both are free to bond and enjoy each other.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
© 2009 Theophanes Avery
Shivani Vakil Savant on July 06, 2020:
My cat is ill & so a little aggressive. We're in a multi cat household. We have kept him in a large cage with food & water. The cage itself is placed on a litter tray. Is that okay? Any way of ensuring he poops & pees fine? We are hesitant to keep him out of it till he's done with the antibiotics.
Shivani Vakil Savant on July 06, 2020:
My cat is ill & so a little aggressive. We're in a multi cat household. We have kept him in a large cage with food & water. The cage itself is placed on a litter tray. Is that okay? Any way of ensuring he poops & pees fine? We are hesitant to keep him out of it till he's done with the antibiotics.
Daphne Evans on July 01, 2020:
I have a new kitten and a 12yr old cat who is very good natured, after 2 weeks together they are starting to get on with each other. The kitten wakes up about 5 in the morning, I let her run round and play for half hour and then I put her in a 'medium dog' sized crate by a window so I can get another couple of hours sleep. I don't think that's cruel, she doesn't meow so she's not unhappy
Betty evans on June 21, 2020:
I need to get my dog use to kitten
Lorraine Eagleton on June 06, 2020:
We have a feral mama cat with four babys and we want to neuter mama to help and we caught them all together and now how to separate them carefully was my question?
Tanya on January 16, 2020:
I adopted two sisters when they were 4 months old last year. Now one of them is peeing everywhere and has even pooped on our bed. I love them with all my heart but my husband is ready to give them up. I’ve moved their litter boxes and they have 4 between the two of them. I took them both to the vet last week because I thought one had a urinary infection. One had a really small bladder so she got an antibiotic shot. But you t seems to be getting worse. I dint know what to do, I’m crying as I am texting this to you! Please help our family
Regina on May 27, 2019:
Help! I am looking to cage my 1 year old male for the remainder of his life basically. My baby is bottle fed sole survivor and has never been outside other than 20min as a kitten and he hated it. I have to cage him at least most of the time for both his safety and ours. He has SEVERE gran mal seizures that make him mean and aggressive. I worry about him hurting the kids and about him having seuzures when im not home amd getting tangled in something. Any options im not seeing?
Abby on March 28, 2019:
I have a cat with incontinence. We are putting her in a cat cage while I sleep and working. It works to monitor her bed wetting. She has a damaged spine and spinal cord damage which is causing her to have this bed wetting when she sleeps. We have had our second injection and have two weeks to see.
It's 50/59 chance the vet says.
The cage system has been so helpful during this time. I wonder if it would be fine to keep this system going, if the injections don't help.
She can stay with me and have a place to wet the bed without ruining anything.
My other plan is to try find someone capable of handling a kitty with incontinence. As I am a single mom with a few other pets already.
So far she has been happy. She comes out to play and she seems content.
Also just send well wishes and hopes that this final injection helps!
Cece on March 01, 2019:
I live alone, and most of the time I work from home, but there are times I have to be out for 2-4hrs, either at classes or running errands. My kitten is too young to be left alone, so the ONLY time they are in the cage is during those times. Once they are old enough to not get into too much mischief I won't need the cage anymore. The cage is very large with plenty of moving space and 3 tiers. I dont see why this would be a problem when I am trying to keep a small kitten from harm when I cant be present to watch them.
Ag on February 17, 2019:
We have a cat that has shredded our previous furniture, it was brand new. We just bought more new furniture and are crating him for 30 mins early he scratches the new furniture. I'm hoping it works as a behaviour modification tool. I feel bad doing it, I'm hoping he will quit after a couple of weeks of this method.
Michtou on November 26, 2018:
I am at wit's end with my cat because he won't let me sleep more than a few hours. He subvocalizes or meows for an hour or more when he wakes up in the morning, usually two hours before I am ready to get up. I am seriously thinking of crating him at night, although I love having him sleep against me for the few hours he does sleep with me. I try to occupy him during the day so he will sleep better at night, but I'm not home all day, and cats will sleep when they will.
Edith M Pagan on November 23, 2018:
I have to kennel my girl. She is 1years old this December. I live in a second floor and my neighbors have dogs, plus some of my neighbors are superstitious and poison or trap cats to throw them out on far away streets. What i make sure is that my cat is cozy in her kennels.
Emma on September 27, 2018:
I’m getting a kitten (we have no other cats but we do have an old dog who is very sweet but still) and I want my kitten to get to go outside some but I have nursing school in the morning and I’m not comfortable just letting it outside while I’m gone is it okay to leave him in a cage for just a few hours in the morning to be let out later in the afternoon when I get home?
Sherri on August 18, 2018:
I’m having a lot of problems with my black & white cat and my hymalayayn We have had the Himalayan about 10 years and the black and white with pink nose cat for about five years and I thought they were getting along better the black-and-white one does have anxiety and I do give it to some medication but lately it’s been peeing on my full-time thing on my carpet She will do good for a certain length of time and not do it and then she does it to her three times it’s been five years often on his ass and I have just about had it I shampoo the carpet’s constantly and the full time it was a brand new mattress sold and the other cat doesn’t even go on it I don’t know why she would be on that one but she does any suggestions I’m open fori she will do good for a certain length of time and not do it and then she does it to her three times it’s been five years often on his ass and I have just about had it I shampoo the carpet‘s constantly and the full time it was a brand new mattress sold and the other cat doesn’t even go on it I don’t know why she would be on that one but she does any suggestions I’m open for it t I need help
ShedCat on July 11, 2018:
To Jane Ehrlich:
I have been feeding mom and her son feral cats for close to a year. They eat but will not interact at all. Recently, I saw mom had a pronounced limp on her rear left leg, a few days later she was carrying the leg in the air. Where I live is near a large watershed reservoir thickly wooded secluded area, every outdoor critter and predator are out there, these cats were living in an old shed behind my house. Due to the coyote problem here, and seeing mom on 3 legs, I havahart trapped her and got her set up for TNR and pleaded with the vet to examine the leg/foot. Turns out two broken toes...they did not set correctly. So, they spayed her, and put a splint on the foot, and asked me if I could keep her caged in my home for 4 weeks, that the toes may never be right, they would have ton check back. I had no problem doing this, because I had her in my room for a week caged, waiting for her TNR turn. Though very explosive when approached I got her to eat from my hand and she let me scratch her head and chin. There's more to the story but I'll make it short.
I do not care what your cat behavioral books and authors say. It turns out she will never have full use of this rear leg making her EASY PREY if released outside. Shes got a large cage, daily food and water, vet treatment when needed, her first own bed,and 2 caretakers watching over her. Yes, she may be depressed she can't run back into her woods, but no, she will never be ripped to sheds by a larger faster predator while she tries to hobble away from them.Sometimes common sense and circumstances win over literary intellect. She's safely curled up in her bed right now. Purring.
shelley on May 30, 2018:
We have 2 female cats and one male all 2 years old. Would like to have a litter, but he acts scared of the females and runs away from them. When they are in heat, they throw themselves in front of him, and he walks away uninterested. Do I put male with female in cage to force the issue? How does that go? thanks for any help.
Theophanes Avery (author) from New England on April 29, 2018:
epoch270: Sorry for the slow reply! What you suggest sounds just fine if he's allowed out during the day to exercise and get love. At the end of the day you need a happy human to keep a happy cat and this sounds like something you need for that! Otherwise he sounds like he might be pretty bored. Maybe also consider a companion or more interactive toys perhaps? Good luck!
epoch270 on March 31, 2018:
Our cat creates havok at night. If we shut bedroom doors he scratches at them incessantly, keeping everyone awake AND ruining the doors and floors. If we leave doors open he comes into the rooms and crys or plays with feet while sleeping, again waking everyone.
We currently lock him in the garage at night where his food/water/box reside anyhow. He now scrathes the closed garage door, ruining the door/frame and weather stripping.
We are contemplating crating him at night with his food/water/box in his cage. At night we will close the crate. During the day we'll leave it open to access his stuff.
Heidi on March 26, 2018:
I need a play pen that has a top to prevent my other kitties from jumping in and a removable floor for pee and poop. For fostering a pregnant stray and her babies until I find them homes.
Parneet on March 03, 2018:
I have a 8 weeks old male kitten, can you suggest me how to make him sleep at night. If I will put him in a cat crate with a pillow is this a way to make him sleep. Because he meows at night if I take him to my room he jumps on bed. I want him to sleep in my room only
bluecat10 on February 28, 2018:
I have a cat and she has a timper
NANA GYASI .D. YAW on November 23, 2017:
Thanks so much,I'm having hardtime with mine,With this sweet advice on them,will put me therr
ya ya on November 17, 2017:
That was grateful of that
Sienna on November 10, 2017:
My neutered male cat gets very aggressive for no reason. One second he wants me to pet him the next he is attacking me, literally running at me with ears back biting my legs and scratching my arms.. I end up getting a blanket and putting him in a kennel until he calms down. I have two other cats that he then goes after if I do not do this. Been doing this for a week. I have seen some improvement. I just worry he isnt getting enough play time and it will make it worse..
Judith on August 31, 2017:
My male cat around (3 yrs. old, mixed Himalyan) poops outside the box...when he wants to. He will use it for urinating but randomly poops outside the box. I limit his space for a few days and when I let him out I never know when he will do it again. When he is "free" he comes to sit near me while reading, he can be very sweet. Anything you can offer is appreciated.
Thank you for this article on July 31, 2017:
I've been searching for where to have my 13 month old kitty, we got him today and didn't have any other place that he could sleep plus since we just got him means that he just got a new home. But thank you very much
DJ Bleam on July 25, 2017:
Thank you soooooo much for this article. I just got a new kitten and she must not have been litter trained by her Mother. She was going on my bed (peeing) and on my laundry piles. I was distressed to think that I would have to get rid of her until I thought of buying a dog fence. I bought a dog fence at a pet store and put a large piece of wood on top for a roof (she climbed the fence and got out until I did this). She has lots of toys, a scratching post, a sweater of mine for her bed and her potty box. It is in my sunroom and my other cat can lay in the sun on her cushion and get to know the new tenant. I have noticed that my older cat has calmed down and the kitten is being forced to use the litter box for both needs. She is only let out when I am at home. I also put her in the pen while I sleep. I am hoping this will only last a couple of weeks and then I can let the kitten out when I'm not at home and at night.
Noni on May 02, 2017:
I have a mom and 5 kittens that are 3wks. We started in a kennel and then i let her move them after she had tried several times. I let her keep them in a corner of the dining room that had an extra coffee table in the corner behind some boxes that worked for 10 days. She is trying to move them again, so i put her back in the kennel. The mom is spilling the food and water everywhere and pawing at the door. If i let her out to walk around she tries to move the kittens under my bed or in another room. Any tips for a mom with anxiety in the kennel?
Paula Ginther on February 17, 2017:
My 15 pound cat HATED his vet. Every visit was stressful for him, me, the vet and all of his technicians. A squeeze cage helped tremendously, and he was able to get his shots safely, while keeping everyone else safe.
Epithode on February 10, 2017:
Thank you very much for these clarifications. This helped me decide to re-cage my new cat. He's too aggressive with the resident cat. I'm too quick I think, so I'll have to recage. /:
Allison Jenkins on November 27, 2016:
So, caging them to make it so they can't spray your walls and ruin your furniture anymore to regain the peace and joyful environment your home always had before your cat went insane is not cool?
Jane Ehrlich on October 03, 2016:
Outrageous. As a cat behaviorist--accredited with the IAABC--I cannot condone cageing cats, outside of transport. There are kinder ways of introducing, or altering a cat's way. Read Prof Tony Buffington of Ohio State on the physical damages of stress that comes from using cages, and Beth Adelman's data--not opinion, but researched--on the cat's 'learned helplessness' response. I do not know of any respected vet-behaviorist or behaviorist that approves of cageing cats for the reasons suggested here, including Nick Dodman, emeritus of Cummings School of Vet. Medicine at Tufts and former Director, the Behavior Dept. there. Jane Ehrlich, Cattitude Feline Behavior
Maitreyi on May 18, 2016:
I have 2 male cats from the same litter which started getting rough and aggressive towards each other around 1 year. And that didn't stop even after getting them neutered. Caging was the only solution to keep them safe and give us some peace of mind while we were away at work. It worked out really well since we didn't have a spare room to separate cats before reintroducing. Now we have a cat being fostered, and not tested for any illnesses yet. So having a cage is helping us manage pretty well. I don't think it is cruel to keep cats in cage as long as they are large enough for them to move around (usually a big dog crate works well) plus enough place for their food bowl just in case. After all you want them to be healthy, safe and happy! :) I have spent many weeks feeling guilty for caging the cats but I am over it now ...such a good article..makes so much sense..esp for concerned cat parents!
Kramer451 on May 09, 2016:
We rescued a litter of 4 kittens who are almost 1 year o!d now. They have been crated, at night and when we are not home, since we got them. The crate is huge, has a ledge and litter box as well as food, etc. They can look out the French doors into the garden. They are crated for their safety. One eats hair ties, etc. One chews wires. And 4 kittens playing and climbing on tables with no supervision can be destructive. We allow one kitten at a time to run at night (not either of the ones who eat things). The kittens and, their cage and most importantly are safe. We block toddlers from harm, either with gates, playpens, or bouncy seats, why not kittens?
LauraPalka on November 25, 2015:
This article was helpful to me in so many ways! 1) I will be moving soon 1-1/2 hours away and have been concerned as to how to best move my 4 cats with the least amount of stress on us all. I was going to use pet carriers but crates will be much better. 2) Two of my cats fight so I have to keep them separated so I have been desperately looking for a way to re-introduce them. Nothing has worked (they are currently separated as basement vs. main floor cats). Putting them in crates when they fight will work great. 3) When I move I am going to set up a kitten fostering room and your explanation of how a cage will come in handy, particularly for litterbox training, is amazing. I can't thank you enough!!
Kristen on September 02, 2015:
I have a about 10 week old kitten who was dumped at our house by an unknown party. Some people in my house are highly allergic to cats. I have been looking at keeping her in a outdoor ca
Bella on June 24, 2015:
hey my mom wants my kitten Roco outside, but we have other wild cats that aren't nice to each other, so i keep her in a nice square door cage. im not around all the time to let her out, so how much should i let her out of the cage. ps i have a dog and it kee nuzzlings the kitten is that ok
soon.to.be.bengal.owner on June 09, 2015:
Great article's!! Thank you!
You mention a lot about introducing kittens to new homes, feral cats and cats to multi cat homes, but what about a 2 yr old bengal that is used to 2 dogs to a new owners home with no other pets?
Any tips please :)
Robyn on May 29, 2015:
Thanks but you forgot a major reason, the main reason I've had to cage cats, and that's for the end of life. At some point, cats can no longer control their bodily functions, require constant care, sometimes can barely move or instead hide, and/or don't get along with the other animals, and spending the end of life in a cage is the only option. My cat, GK, had an abscess lanced today so she can no longer be outside. My father has dementia so he'll open doors even if I tell him not too so no bathroom for GK. GK won't use a litter pan either. She's 16, 4 pounds, and on the way out. She hates being touched. I hate to cage her but what other option do I have.
Liam on April 13, 2015:
What do you do when two cats don't stop the squabbling even after doing what you advised? What if it keeps continuing for months and they only behave when caged, yet misbehave and purposely fight after being out of the cages for so long? What then? Please help!
Rissaroo on April 10, 2015:
What do you do if your parents won't let you let your cat roam around and keeping him in the cage??
Michelle on April 09, 2015:
My poor kitty needs to be crated for 8 weeks after surgery on a broken femur! Non. Stop. Meowing It's only day 2....
Charlie on April 02, 2015:
I have a 16/17 year old cat who seems to be leaving no option other than caging her at night. We bought a large rabbit hutch with two rooms (she is very small too) and this worked well for a while with her litter box in another room.
Lately however she has been completely trashing the inside of the box pooing and weeing everywhere, completely missing the litter tray. It gets up the walls, in her bed, in the water bowl and then drips onto the floor through gaps in it. It can take an hour a day to clean it up.
Recently she was left loose at night a few times and behaved perfectly well for a while until today when she urinated all over the kitchen table despite having access to a clean litter tray. My father is threatening to put her down. I feel this is a shame as there is nothing else wrong with her.
The only solution I can think of is to construct some kind of entirely waterproof and easily removable version of the hutch she has now so that if she makes a terrible mess of it, it stays contained and can be easily lifted outside and cleaned on the grass with a hosepipe and then some bleach solution.
Has anyone had a cat problem like this before?! If I didn't know better I would say that she deliberately makes as much mess as possible!
Theophanes Avery (author) from New England on August 17, 2014:
Poweranni - I hadn't thought about the destructive aspect but I have had animals before that fit that category! Animals can be weird sometimes. It's a shame when you have to take such measures but sadly sometimes it's the best thing to do.
dave g - Just make sure they have a place to hide within the cage as well as some entertainment (toys) and they should be fine in temporary kenneling. :)
hellovictoria - You've probably moved in by now. I hope you had good luck with it! Thanks you for commenting, I am sorry for my slothful reply.
Anne Gillingham from Los Angeles, CA on August 17, 2014:
I love my kitty so much that it hurts. He has his own "condo" outfitted with an "indoor toilet" and a "kitchen" and "running water." It is also carpeted and has two stories.
In other words, he has an all-you-can-eat feeder, a water bowl, litter box and a ledge that he can sit on.
Why do I do it?
Well he has this habit of chewing up wires, which could actually end up burning the house down.
He also has this mild obsession with chewing plastic which I fear could get him an intestinal blockage.
That is a harsh way to go. And no matter how much I clean, he manages to find some kind of plastic to chew on.
That is why he lives in a condo, but he gets out of it, pretty much on request.
dave g on April 26, 2014:
I have been taking care of a feral cat and her two five WK old kittens . Last week when I let her out a waiting coyote got her . These little ones are great but they are getting into everything . I got a large dog cage to put in while at work and at night . Anything I need to do to make it Easter on them . The male is Sylvester and the female is Daisey .
ToriM from Atlanta on April 11, 2014:
this is a great article! I actually just bought a crate to put my cats in because I'm in the middle of moving. I haven't really thought about crating them for other reasons. Thank goodness when my cats were kittens I didn't have any litter box issues with them. I've had them for two years and never had a problem with them relieving themselves on the carpet or my furniture.
I am working on getting them used to the crate so they won't be so stressed out come moving time, and it will help as I introduce them to the new place since they do get terrified when I have to take them out of the place they've grown up in.
Voted up - thank you again!
peachy from Home Sweet Home on January 24, 2014:
well done article. I never quarantine my cat but i had seen my neighbor caged her cat because she had kittens-afraid other male cats to attack them.
rose-the planner from Toronto, Ontario-Canada on August 16, 2013:
Great article! This is very insightful and you have provided some valuable information regarding caging cats. Thank you for sharing. (Voted Up) -Rose
Elizabeth Parker from Las Vegas, NV on August 15, 2013:
Great information. I have a friend who is looking to adopt a new cat into her household. Will share this with her!
Theophanes Avery (author) from New England on August 03, 2013:
Although I understand your concerns this article is about proper cat husbandry - not an excuse to cage things you deem annoying. I've had many cats both in and out of cages over the years for many reasons and let me tell you - it's actually harder to keep a caged cat clean then it is one running around! I've used cages for quarantine and somewhat long term medication routines.... and wow... given a confined environment they can surely mess both their habitat and themselves up right fast. I don't really worry about people inappropriately using cages for cats for this reason (did I mention when they're not happy they also have a tendency to be very very loud?) It's just not worth it for that.... if you're that annoyed by a cat you keep it penned up in a cage then chances are you won't have a cat for long or ever again.
Right now the only abuses I've seen for cages are kitten mills.... which is the same story for any solely money-based animal breeding business and as much as I'd like to see these places not exist anymore I know there will always be new ones popping up to replace old ones for the simpler reason that money makes people do stupid things.
Thank you for commenting. I do appreciate the insight and the fact you took the time to reply to my article. Hope your and your kitty have a good day. :)
Carolyn Emerick on August 02, 2013:
My concern is that caging will become a trend for shallow people looking for convenience. Not that the reasons in the article or the comments were like that at all, far from it. However. I have seen the dog crating trend get out of control where people don't use it just for training, they use it so they can leave a dog home for 12 hours and when it inevitably relieves itself, he does it in the cage. I have seen and heard horrific situations where people abuse the crate regularly and make jokes about their dog being in his crate from 7am and it was then 7pm. Now we have vapid celebrities on TV shown tossing their dogs in their crates when they are home! Dogs and cats are social animals and for a dog to be left to rot alone in a tiny cage instead of being with the family is awful. Believe me I understand the reasons described here, but I'm just worried we'll have people who don't want to deal with cat hair or the occasional hairball and resort to the cage. So i think its important to be very careful when talking about caging dogs and cats to be very clear to spell out the right and wring way to do it. For every intelligent, rational, compassionate person out there, there is also a dimwit who will abuse it and not even realize... I have seen these people often.
And by the way, one of my cats does the howling thing. No I can't stop him from doing it so I shut the hallway door, run a fan by my bed for white noise, and sleep with earplugs.
Theophanes Avery (author) from New England on May 21, 2013:
I'd definitely try that ABoyer. Put the cage in a spot she likes open, and allow her to explore it herself. Maybe even feed her treats or canned food in there while it's open. Give her a bed and make her feel like it's a safe and secure place to be. It'll make eventually locking her in for a while a lot less stressful. Also try locking her in for a day or two while you're home to make sure she doesn't do anything crazy after you've done this introduction. Other than that she may or may not use the litter box in the cage (as it seems your absence is the stress factor causing this) but plastic tray bottoms are easier to clean than the floor if she is bad! I know how hard it can be to own elderly cats and animals with separation anxiety. I know none of us want to keep anyone in a cage but you never know... the cage might provide the security she's looking for when you're gone. You just don't know until you try. Best wishes!
ABoyer on May 20, 2013:
I have a 16-year-old cat. She was fine for years, but now when we leave town for the occasional weekend, she poops outside the litter box. At first, the lavender-scented calming collar sold in stores helped, but lately it doesn't. We don't want to board her because of the expense and because our younger cat (11) has never lived a day of her life completely alone in the house. The two of them aren't close, but they're companions of a sort. I'm wondering if we could cage the older one (we know she's the guilty party) while we're away for a three-day weekend--maybe put the cage in her favorite spot. She's never been caged before. Is it safe to leave her alone caged for 2-3 days (obviously, with plenty of food, water, and litter)? Should I try it for a day or two while we're home to see how she accepts it? Thank you so much--I'd really appreciate any advice!
Theophanes Avery (author) from New England on April 13, 2012:
Marti: Post op caging is usually best at two weeks. Some vets say one but I always keep them in for two just to make certain and this is only if there's no problems. Sometimes if they get an infection or complication it can take longer but this is rare. Good luck!
Marti on April 03, 2012:
This article was very informative. I'm getting my last feral cat spayed and I will cage her for security and
cleanliness reasons. She will be recovering in the garage with 8 other cats. I just wish I could find out how long I should cage her post op. Thanks, Marti
Eden on September 19, 2011:
Thank you for this article. I am getting ready to cage my cat for the first time in her life and I am really daunted thinking about it. However, she has a heart problem, can't be spayed (can't undergo anesthesia), and is marking everywhere. She did okay being confined to our bedroom/bath for two years, but now she marks on our bed. We have tried prozac, flower essences, feliway, etc. My husband and I have been kicked out of bedroom and live in separate rooms. The cage is the last resort for us and was recommended by our vet. We would hate for her to survive this heart problem that was supposed to kill her before her first birthday, only to have the marking do her in. I hope she takes to it okay.
AllTheseThoughts on August 26, 2011:
Just like you, I never thought a cat should be caged; that is,until we adopted a stray kitten. My youngest was concerned that the little orphan would be hit by a car, and since we already had three older cats we weren't sure they'd like him, so we put him in an extra-large dog crate in the house. Luckily the little guy (Shika) was so thankful to have a home that he gave us no qualms about being in a crate. After a few days we allowed him out but when the other cats chased him, he always ran to the safety of his crate.
Three years later we have more cats and have used crates for their bedrooms,quarantining of the sickies or injured and also as 'time-out' when the playing gets way to rough.
becky on August 09, 2011:
The reason I am looking into caging my cats is because he meows very loudly at night and wakes us up over and over. It is actually causeing major issues with my relationship and with my ability to get enoug sleep. I have a baby on the way too and won't need any other reasons to be woken up at night. I am going to try to put my cat in the cage at night and if he meows at least he will be far enough from my bedroom that I won't hear it.
marcie plascencia on March 22, 2011:
thanks for the article. it was very helpful.
stars439 from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State. on September 30, 2009:
Great article. God Bless
Alexander A from Internet on May 08, 2009:
Very well done article :)
Bob in Florida on March 23, 2009:
I really enjoyed this article - very well done.