Can I Put My Kitten In a Cage at Night?
There are a variety of situations when crating your cat could be an honest idea. generally, a happy, healthy, well-adjusted kitty shouldn’t need nightly crating.
If your kitten or cat has difficulty making proper use of its litter box, it’d be best to stay your cat during a crate in the dark while you let her use the litter box.
When your cat is ill and requires medication that’s difficult to administer, a crate is often a useful thanks to confining and calm your cat while it isn’t feeling quite itself.
When bringing a replacement feline loved one into the house, you’ll find that a crate will facilitate the transition and permit a more amiable getting-used-to-each-other period.
Many people also utilize crates to deal with adopted feral cats, as this will help the cat into its new social environment.
What is a crate?
It is nothing but a metal wire cage. But what is such a thing actually used in cats?
- Owners with an unclean cat are sometimes advised to keep the cat in a crate until the animal no longer pees in the house.
- Hyperactive kittens that destroy a lot are crated to protect the household goods.
- Cats fighting each other are sometimes put together, each in a crate or basket, to get used to each other again. It is also used for the introduction of a new cat.
- Sometimes anxious cats are “socialized” in a crate without shelter.
Locking up is not nice
In an earlier blog, I wrote how important it is that cats should have the choice to go wherever they want. Limiting those choices usually creates a lot of frustration and stress. And I’m not even talking about cats who panic when they see a transport basket, let alone get locked up in a cage for a long time.
Locking up is not a solution
None of the problems I list above can be solved by using a crate.
- Kittens can certainly turn things upside down, but confining a kitten will make it even busier if it is allowed to walk around.
- You have to deal with arguments between cats with a lot of patience and tact. Cats placed next to each other can stare or panic completely due to the proximity of the other cat and lack of escape or shelter options. Thus the problem becomes much bigger.
- Unclean cats have never gotten better from confining in a cage or basket. If you have a persistent behavioral problem, you should rather call in an expert.
Is a bench always a taboo?
- A cat that has a broken leg or hip should rest. Then a crate quickly comes into view.
- If you have very frightened kittens, it is easier to socialize from a crate. However, this is a temporary measure and is best used by people who have experience with it.
- Sometimes a demented cat can get lost and unwind in a confined environment, a small room, or a large cage.
For example, there are still individual situations where it can be a cat-friendly solution.
How to organize?
If you’re in a situation where you really can’t live without a crate, make it a safe place. Place a blanket or rug over at least half of the cage to allow the cat to withdraw.
Place the crate on a platform, for example, a table. That is easier for yourself and better for the cat. He does not always have to look at feet and legs, but he can look around.
Of course, the crate must be large enough to fit a litter box, food, drinks, and a basket.
Prepare the cat house
In addition to something to transport the cat, it will be necessary to purchase some items for the new pet. The main ones are a basket or box with something soft to sleep in, food bowls with a supply of fresh or dry food, and a litter box with some filling. Later, more can be added, such as a scratching board or scratching post and some toys.
Initially, the cat or kitten will probably look at the new environment somewhat confused; that is why it is important to give the animal’s “own stuff” a permanent place so that the newcomer can get used to it quickly. It is best to place the basket in a quiet, dim, warm, and draft-free corner. This is especially important if it is winter and your home is not too hot. If the cat is allowed to sleep on chairs or other furniture, a washable cover is a good idea. Cats are creatures of habit and will soon prefer certain spots.
Wherever the cat sleeps, it should always be easy to access the litter box. Ideally, the litter box should be set up so that the cat can isolate itself a bit. If the correct location is accepted, the container must always remain in this location. This also applies to the food bowls and water. Choose a place where the cat can eat undisturbed. If you have more than one cat, give them all their own food bowl.
If the cat has to stay indoors, prepare a bowl of cat grass. They can chew on this. A bowl of catnip can also give the cat a lot of fun.
Some items are useful, but not really necessary. For example, a scratching board or climbing post is very nice if the cat cannot or should not go outside. But even cats that are allowed to go outside like to sharpen their nails. And if there is no scratching board or climbing pole, they will do this to the carpet or furniture. With an indoor cat it is very important to place such a “cat furniture” near the sleeping place, so that he can then scribble while waking up.
Get used to
Pick up the new housemate at a time when you have enough time to pay attention to the animal, such as on a weekend or during a vacation. Avoid traveling in very hot weather, as the cat must be carried in a carrier and it can be stuffy. The animal should not eat before the trip and if you go by train or car do not leave it out of the basket before you get home. You should of course not run the risk of the animal escaping during the trip.
When you get home, close all windows and doors and make sure everything is in place. Then let him out of the basket, give him some water, and introduce him to the litter box. During the first few hours, he will examine every corner and sniff out every odor with great interest, or sometimes suspicion. So spend a lot of time on this introduction. Also, have some toys ready, but let the animal sleep if he wants to.
It is best to keep a kitten in one room until it has gained enough confidence. Give the animal a lot of attention, but make sure that there are not too many people around, or that it is too noisy. Be especially careful that children treat the new resident calmly and carefully and show them how to pick up and treat them after a while. Small children who are too young to understand how to handle a cat should not be left until the cat is fully accustomed to it.
When the excitement of the first acquaintance and discovery has passed, put the cat at the sleeping place. A kitten will probably want to continue playing, but it is reassuring to see where it can go to sleep.
When the animal starts to groom the coat, it is a sign that he is comfortable. That might be the right time to serve him some food. The breeder or previous owner will usually have provided information about eating habits. You may also know what food he is used to. Especially with a kitten it is important to keep to the menu list and the timetable to which it is accustomed, because then there is less chance of digestive problems. As the cat grows up, the amounts need to be adjusted, of course.
After eating, you must return the cat to the litter box. A kitten will almost always have learned from mom how to use that bowl, but sometimes a little encouragement is still needed. Other aspects of education should now also be addressed as soon as possible. For example, now is the best time to teach the kitten, with the help of a friendly yet clear correction, that it should not climb the curtains, for example. Other places where he should not come should also be learned now. You will then have to consistently remove the animal from this place. This can sometimes take a long time, but you have to persist.
Meet other pets
If more pets, such as a dog or other cat, are present, extra caution is required when they are introduced, as an unexpected encounter can lead to continued enmity. It is best to lock the existing pet somewhere where the new cat can see everything and get used to the other person’s scent. After an hour, gently pick up the cat and release the first animal so that it can investigate the newcomer’s scent. Stay apart for a while with the newcomer. The first introduction can take place around dinnertime, when each animal should be given a separate bowl in a fixed place. If all goes well, they will first devote all their attention to their food, before looking up and discovering their new neighbor. It is good to stay there, because a fight is not impossible, although the aggression shown will usually stick with some blowing. Have a blanket ready to throw over the animals if they actually start fighting.
The introduction of a kitten into the territory of a sterilized cat is usually very quiet, but when two adult, uncastrated males are introduced to each other, a bloody encounter is almost inevitable. So this combination is not very sensible. Take special care when introducing a kitten to an adult dog that has been with you for some time. An adult dog can kill a kitten in one bite. Should any difficulties arise during the introduction, the newcomer can initially be kept in a playpen made of chicken wire or a crate, so that the pets that are already present can view the cat at ease without harm. Such a crate is also useful if you want to store the animal safely for a while.
The wide world
A major decision most will have to make is whether or not the cat can go outside. This one quickly arises, because once you have let a kitten go outside, it is not just – nor easy – to take that freedom away again.
If the new cat is indeed allowed to go wherever he wants, keep it indoors for at least 6 weeks before leaving it outside the garden. He has to get used to the house well.
After those 6 weeks before eating go outside. Last in the beginning and don’t leave it outside for too long. During this “walking” the cat shouts regularly so that he stays around. Reward him in the form of a tasty snack when he enters.
Of course, if you have an enclosed garden, the above does not apply.
Young kittens are not allowed to go outside when it is still cold.
It is wise to have a cat chipped if he can go outside. Chipping an animal is a very simple procedure.
A chip (transponder) the size of a grain of rice is inserted with a subcutaneous injection. The number of this chip can be read with a barcode reader. With this unique number, the animal, together with the owner’s details, is registered with a central database.
If you do not want to breed with the cat, it is wise to have it. This term is used for both sexes because the ovaries are removed from a female cat.
A cat door is a great solution to let the cat out and in, even when you are not at home. However, keep in mind that you risk an uninvited guest entering. This risk is reduced if the door is equipped with a transmitter.
Teach the cat to enter as soon as possible when you call because it is very wise to keep your cat indoors at night.