How Long Can a Cat Stay in a Crate?

Crating your cat when necessary offers many benefits. You know your pet is confined and safe. How long can a cat stay in a crate? Much depends on why the animal is crated. There are always exceptions to every rule, but keeping a cat in a crate for too long can provoke aggressive behaviors. It’s the rare cat who enjoys being cooped up in a crate for a long time.

Getting Started

When you begin crate training your cat, do not leave him in the crate with the door closed for more than a few minutes. As he becomes acclimated to crating and settles down to nap readily, you can leave him locked in longer.

Regular Crating

If you need to keep your cat crated on a regular basis, avoid leaving her there for over six hours at a time. Keeping her in the crate for more than a quarter of the day can affect her mental health. That’s not how cats are designed to function. Too much crate time can lead to a scared, anxious animal.

Whether you are keeping your cat in the crate for a relatively short time or several hours, make certain she has access to a litter box and water available. Provide food if the cat requires crating for a significant period. Kittens should have food available at all times.

Longer Crate Stays

Situations arise in which a cat must stay in a crate for a prolonged period. For example, if your cat is crated due to illness or injury, he must remain in the crate during his recuperation. In such instances, your vet will advise you about the length of confinement.

Then there are emergencies. If you must leave your home unexpectedly and take the cat with you, keeping the cat in a crate for an extended time may prove your only option. Place toys in the crate to provide your pet with distractions.

If a feral cat or kitten comes into your life, the animal should stay in a crate while you work to tame it. There’s no crate training involved beforehand, and a feral feline inside a cage is already stressed.

If the cat requires a long confinement, keep the crate in an area where he can see you when you’re home. If possible, position the crate in your bedroom each night. Pet and play with your cat while he’s in the crate, unless there is a medical reason prohibiting much contact.

Crating Alternatives

Try alternatives to long-term crating of your cat. Rather than keep him crated because you are afraid he will become destructive if unsupervised, try leaving him in a small room with doors shut. Putting him in a bathroom with a litterbox is one possibility.

The same holds true if the cat is crated at night to avoid disturbing your sleep. Of course, much will depend on the size of your home and the needs of other occupants. The bottom line is that crates for cats are best as temporary quarters, not where the cat spends the bulk of his time.  

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