There are varying mixed opinions on whether it is ethical to keep your cat in a crate. In some instances, it may be necessary for your cat’s safety or a medical reason. There are factors to consider before making the final decision on whether crating your cat during the night may be beneficial to both you and your cat.
We have looked into many different views on crating, both from cat owners and veterinarians themselves. We have created this article to help you determine if crating your cat is necessary and provide you with tips to create a comfortable night crate for your cat if you do decide that it is the best option.
Is It Bad To Put Your Cat In a Crate?
A content, calm, and well-behaved cat should not require a crate at night unless it has been specifically recommended by your veterinarian for a medical reason. While crates are not necessarily bad for cats, they can have specific effects on their mental health, boredom, and behavior.
Some cats do not enjoy being cooped up in a small space. They may begin to show significant behaviors that indicate they are stressed. Cats are nocturnal and many owners may find their nighttime habits frustrating. Your cat will begin to show increased levels of activity and even keep you up at night. Most cat owners have ‘trained’ their cats to be more active during the day in the hopes that their feline will be sleeping through the night. However, your cat’s personality will determine when they are most active and sometimes it is nearly impossible to swap your cat’s biological clock.
Furthermore, cats may develop emotional problems from being kept in a crate throughout the night. This can be through depression, distress, discomfort, and boredom. If your cat does not sleep during the night, it may spend most of its time trying to figure out how to escape the crate. If you plan to put them in a crate to keep them quiet and contained while you try to sleep, then it may have the opposite effect.
The Expert Opinion
Many cat experts advise that you should not keep your cat in a crate for more than 6 hours. If the average person sleeps between 7 to 9 hours a night, it is easy to exceed this time frame. It is not ideal to keep your cat in a crate to punish them, as they are unable to understand why they are being locked up for displaying a behavior they may not understand is wrong in human eyes.
Cat crates are also small and generally have minimal space for your feline friend. There may not even be enough space for a litter box, water, and food which can in return further stress out your cat.
When Should You Put Your Cat In a Crate?
Choosing the Right Crate
A cage is typically recommended over a crate, however, if a crate is the only option, then it should meet the following criteria to ensure that your cat is kept comfortable during the night.
The crate should be large enough for your cat to turn around and stand up straight without touching the roof. There should also be enough space for your cat’s litterbox and a water bowl. The bottom of the crate should be covered by a soft blanket or towel and the crate should have adequate ventilation. If your cat is particularly active at night, then you may want to give them a toy to play with but ensure that it is not a potential choking hazard for your cat.
When choosing a suitable area in the house for your cat’s crate, take the weather conditions into account. Your cat will not feel comfortable in a hot and humid room as there is nowhere they can escape these conditions. If your house gets particularly cold at night, then adding a plush blanket into the crate can provide your cat with warmth. Keep the crate away from cold drafts, but the room should still have adequate cross-ventilation.
Always consult a feline behaviorist before placing your cat in a crate during the night. If there are certain behaviors that your cat is displaying which might be why you choose to crate your cat, then the behaviorist will be able to help find the cause of possible stressor and advice you on how your cat can overcome it.
Although crating your cat overnight is not necessarily harmful, other factors should be considered with the help of feline professionals before crating is used as a last resort.
- See also: How To Crate Train A Cat
Featured Image Credit: zskstars, Pixabay