What you need to know about crating a cat at night

In most cases, your cat probably roams around freely at night. He might visit you in bed, hunt for any bugs that have gotten into your home, or try to start a game of tag with your dog or other cat. But in some cases, it’s important or essential to restrict your cat’s movement. Crating a cat at night can help with injury recovery, can aid in litter box training, and might even be necessary to help keep your cat safe. If you’re considering crating your cat, you’ll need to be prepared with the right type of crate and to introduce it carefully to help your cat learn to accept it. Crating a cat isn’t always easy, but these tips can better your chances of success.

Orange cat walking into a black metal crate

Reasons to crate a cat

There are a number of situations where it can be helpful to crate your cat. If your cat is a kitten who is constantly exploring the house, he could potentially get into a dangerous situation while you sleep. Crating him can help prevent this and can keep your cat safe while you’re not around to supervise him. If your cat is recovering from an injury or surgery, it might be necessary to restrict his movement so he can fully heal.

Crating can also help with litter box training. By keeping your cat in a crate with a litter box, he can’t go off and pee somewhere else. When he has to pee, he’ll be more likely to use the litter box than soil his bedding, since he’s in such close proximity to it. This crate usage can help get your cat used to the initial process of litter box training.

Some cat owners may crate their cats at night because their kitties otherwise disturb their sleep. By crating a cat, you’ll prevent him from getting into bed with you and waking you up. Keep in mind, though, that some cats don’t like being crated and will make plenty of noise to keep you up until you let them out again.

Tips for successfully crate-training your cat

If you feel that spending time in a crate would be helpful for your cat, introducing the crate gradually can increase the chances that your cat will accept it. Make the crate a pleasant space to be in by feeding your cat treats and meals in there while leaving the door open. As your cat gets used to the crate, start closing the door briefly while he’s inside. After just a minute or two, let your cat out again. The goal here is to teach your cat that the crate is an enjoyable place to be without making him at all fearful of his time in the space.

How long can a cat stay in a crate? In most cases, it’s best to leave your cat in the crate only overnight. He will be more comfortable moving around and stretching out freely in an unrestricted space.

In some cases, you can use a crate to encourage a new mother cat to accept her kittens. If you’re using a crate for this purpose, you can leave the cat in the crate for longer periods, but it’s important to use a large crate that offers your cat and her kittens enough space.

Tiger cat lying toward the front of a kennel

What to look for in a crate

The crate you choose can contribute to your cat’s comfort and safety. First, look for a crate that’s large enough for your cat’s litter box and food and water dishes while still affording your cat a separate area to sleep in. A larger dog kennel is often ideal, giving your cat enough space while still being small enough to fit easily into your home.

An optimal crate will be made of strong metal and will have multiple latches that curious and clever paws can’t operate. Look for a crate that has a spacious door, so it’s easy to get your cat in and out. Easy cleaning is also a must. Look for a crate with a waterproof, removable bottom that you can scrub down and wash.

Crating a cat at night can be beneficial in some situations. It can be helpful while you’re litter-box-training a kitten, or it can be an important tool in keeping your cat safe. Carefully introducing your cat to the crate can help him feel comfortable and safe in the space, but it’s no guarantee that your cat will accept his time in the crate. Some cats will never be happy in a crate, and they may stress and fuss until you let them out again. While crating can be helpful, if it causes your cat too much stress, then it’s not worth it, and you’ll need to find another solution to the issue you’re facing. Remember, it’s important to prioritize your cat’s safety and well-being, and for some cats, that may mean avoiding using a crate altogether.

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