There’s quite a wide variety of situations you could be in with a cat that might lead you to feel caging a cat for prolonged periods of time is a potentially viable solution to your problem.
Off the top of my head, I can quite honestly think of many very different reasons you might think to place a cat in a cage all day, all night, or for long stretches of time throughout the day and/or night.
You could have a cat with broken bones whom your vet has prescribed months of cage rest, and are worried about what this will do to your pet’s psyche if you stick to it.
You could have an aggressive cat in your household, who you’re concerned may attack another cat in your home while you’re away at work for prolonged periods of time.
You could have the ever so exhausting problem of a cat who wakes you up very early every morning, or meows and cries at night – or both! – leading you to sleep deprivation and to be at your wit’s end with the situation.
You may have a cat that scratches up furniture very aggressively in your home, have replaced furniture at a rapid rate, and worry about needing to continue to waste hard-earned money and about the environmental impact of cycling through furniture way too quickly if you leave your cat to his or her devices over the span of months and years.
No matter what your situation is that caused you to look up whether caging a cat for prolonged periods of time is okay – whether it’s one similar to those I’ve listed, or something completely different – know that you’ll find empathy here from me.
I don’t think you’d be looking for an answer to this question if you didn’t feel incredibly frustrated over your situation and simultaneously concerned for your pet’s well being.
If you didn’t really care for the animal you’re looking after, I don’t think you’d be searching for an answer to the question “Is it okay to keep cats in cages?”.
Instead, you’d likely just cage the animal without taking the cat’s needs and psychological well-being into consideration at all, rather than double-checking to see if caging is a reasonable solution before you actually try it.
That being said, I’m afraid the answer may not be what you’d like to hear, as – unless the circumstances are incredibly special, such as a cat being prescribed cage rest by a vet – you really should not be caging a cat for long at all if you can avoid it in any way, shape, or form.
I’ll go over why, and what being caged can do to cats, but I won’t leave you hanging if you’re having problems you felt inclined to solve by caging a cat.
I’ll go over a plethora of different options you have – even if you live in a small space, have a limited budget, whatever the case may be – that should help you sort out your problem so much better than caging your cat, and will absolutely positively be better for your feline than being trapped in a cage all day.
If you have a moment after you’re done reading through this article to leave a comment, I’d love to know what the problem you’re dealing with is and why you felt you might be able to solve it by caging the cat.
If you have any special circumstances, like a second cat or an infant child to protect from an aggressive cat, please mention them as well! Whatever the case may be.
If you stumble across this article and have any advice for people in this type of situation – please, please, please do take a moment to leave a comment with your thoughts, tips, tricks, & past experiences with this issue as well. Or to respond to the comments from stressed pet parents left below with advice.
It bears repeating that the comments you leave on this post and others on my blog really help so many pet parents out.
Why Caging a Cat for Long Periods of Time Is Bad for the Cat
There seem to be a lot of cautionary tales out there of cats who spent time kept in cages for prolonged periods of time coming out different – and pretty substantially changed psychologically for the worse – from regular cats who are allowed to have the space they obviously need in their regular lives.
Many of these tales come from individuals who adopted pets where the previous owners, breeders, or other sorts of caregivers kept these pets in cages.
Upon entering a new home without being kept in an enclosure for large parts of the day, these cats exhibited a lot of fear, anxiety, stress, and seemed to even have more health issues than most cats. They also took considerably long periods of time before they even began to relax and recover from what seems to me to have been quite a traumatic experience for them.
Want a picture of what this type of change can look like? Here are a few personal experiences, shared on this Quora thread, this first one Gwyn Kemp-Philp:
I ended up with a rescue cat (Because I was supposed to be good with cats) that had been subjected to being caged in a routine way every day.
He was by far the most disturbed individual I have ever seen – perpetually scared stiff of any approach by a human and terrified of any form of enclosure smaller than a large room. The cat was a nervous wreck. He had lost all of its natural curiosity in the world and was unapproachable for the first six months that I had him to care for.
Vet’s visits were a nightmare, because I had to put him in a carrier. After an hour’s fight to catch him and put him in it he howled and screamed in a blood-curdling way all the time he was in it and retreated from me for days afterwards, itwas enough to drive me to drink too, I hated doing that to him and only went when absolutely necessary, but it was traumatic.
Over the course of over a year of association with him, I managed to gain some trust from him but he still bolted at the slightest noise of anyone else approaching and hid. We ended up as friends eventually, but he was beyond doubt, permanently damaged goods. He died of natural causes at only eight, I believe because he couldn’t handle the stress of living.
This second one is a story about a cat adopted from a very unethical breeder who kept Egyptian Maos in very small cages; written by Warren Taylor on the same Quora thread I mentioned before:
Our first much loved Egyptian Mau died of renal failure in 1990 at age sixteen, and a few years later my wife found a breeder who was retiring a Mau from breeding, and they agreed on a price. When she went to pick Maddy up, she was appalled at the conditions; the cats were all kept in very small cages, not a good situation at all! When we got Maddy home we had to keep her isolated for awhile due to issues with another of our babies. When anyone entered her room she would hide and hiss and growl at the intruder. From her behavior, we think that that small cage was not the only abuse she suffered, but have no way of knowing for sure. At first all we did was sit in her room and just talk to her, no attempts to touch her or force her out of hiding. She eventually came out of her shell and would approach us and allow some scratchies and strokes, as she came to trust us. It took about three months, but she eventually became a sweet and loving companion with our family, although she remained shy with strangers. We consider her to be a rescue, since we rescued her from an abusive life.
In short – don’t take the risks. Cats really do seem to be traumatized by long periods of time spent in cages. They don’t seem to be anything like the other most popular pet on the planet earth when it comes to cages…
The Differences Between Dogs & Cats Being Crated for Hours
Only having had cats ever in my life, I nearly forgot that dogs are actually fine being crated for hours at night, and that many pet parents use crating as a form of training for dogs with great success and little to no anxiety (to my knowledge at least!) from the dog.
I didn’t actually think about this at all, and that maybe some of the individuals searching for whether caging cats is okay may have had experience with dogs, or knew this was fine to do with dogs, and thus were wondering if the same was true for cats?
Unfortunately, when it comes to crating and caging, cats aren’t like dogs, and Stacie Taylor Cornett points out in this Quora thread quite an excellent explanation as to why:
Dogs can be crated during the day because their natural instinct is to have a den*, but this is not the case for cats. They need be able to move around and observe their environment and will feel trapped if they are confined. If they feel trapped, they will react accordingly which could include hurting themselves when they try to escape, and they will develop emotional problems. Even shelters (the good ones, anyway) that have to keep cats in cages temporarily will have a large area where the cats are allowed to roam for a period of each day.
So essentially, dogs’ natural instinct is to have a den – which is why cages and crates ultimately feel safe to them.
Cats absolutely don’t have dens. Thus when they’re kept in cages, they feel trapped since their natural instinct is to have escape routes and run/flee by jumping to get away when they feel they are in danger.
Cats definitely do seem to develop emotional problems if they’re kept in cages for long periods of time, so I definitely would avoid this, even if you thought it might be a viable solution because dogs are typically good with crating. Definitely not the same here.
Alternatives to Caging Cats: What to Do Instead of Keeping a Cat in a Cage
Here are the solutions I could think up with regards to alternatives to caging a cat. Again – if you have any problems that can’t be fixed with one of these, or have any other solutions to offer up – please do take a moment to leave a comment below!
1. Section off a Room for the Cat
Giving your cat a dedicated room for him or her instead of keeping your cat in a cage is the most direct alternative to caging a cat.
Sectioning off a room entails making sure the cat has absolutely everything he she could ever want or need in that room.
This includes things like: water, scratch posts, pads, or cat trees, food, a window to look outside, toys, beds and sleep spots, as well as anything and everything else your find your cat enjoys.
Keeping your cat in a single room won’t make your cat anxious, so long as your cat has absolutely everything he or she needs in that room.
Actually, if you play your cards right, and deck out the room with quite a lot of things your cat loves, your cat’s anxiety might actually go down instead of staying the same during his or her time in the “safe” room.
It’s like a stress-free spa day if you play your cards right, and this can help considerably reduce stress for cats in situations as diverse as fighting between cats in your home to moving anxiety and not liking the new home after a move.
Have a small room you could do this in? Worried your cat will hate spending time in it?
In order to optimize even small rooms to make cats incredibly happy to spend time in them, try using the tip I mentioned in this article on how to keep indoor cats happy in small apartments.
Essentially, using furniture, arrange the room in ways that allow your cat to jump up to high spaces. You can do this, by, say – placing a chair next to a side table, which is next to a taller dresser, which is by a bookshelf.
The underside of the chair can even be turned into a little hideaway quite easily by placing a blanket on the chair, then a cardboard box can be placed beneath the chair, making an incredibly comfy nap spot for kitty to sleep and spend time in.
You can add a blanket or cat bed on top of a dresser, tonnes of things you can do even within a small space, so long as you get a little creative with jam packing full all the things you know your cat loves and arrange furniture in ways that make vertical space much more highly optimized.
Unlike humans, cats can take advantage of vertical space as much as they can take advantage of horizontal space.
We can’t jump up on furniture the way they can, and so we aren’t able to use the tops of dressers and bookshelves for hanging out in. Thankfully, cats can, so it’s easy to use small spaces to keep them in, all the while making sure they remain happy, by increasing the nooks and crannies they have to spend at different heights.
Using this technique you can make any space, even if it’s particularly small, feel much larger to the cat.
Don’t have enough furniture to make this happen easily? The fastest and easiest way – and typically also the most space-conserving way as well – to create multiple levels is to buy a cat tree.
There are some cat trees that are pretty darn affordable, and for those really tight on space, there are narrow options available.
I can attest to being the type of person who thought they may be overrated before I bought my first one. But the cats in my household (I currently have 5) really do love them, all preferring them to scratch posts and most other furniture in the house.
The best spots to create for kitties? Ones with window views from different angles. This way your cat can get a nap in and a view of the birds and other wildlife without moving an inch.
2. Resolve Negative Behavioural Issues with Quick Fixes
There are a lot of behavioural issues that can contribute to pet parents wanting to cage a pet.
Many of these are not easy to resolve at all if you’re not sure where to start, but once you have the general idea of what you should be doing to fix them – or even in some cases, what you can buy – the problems tend to quickly resolve themselves.
Some quick and easy fixes for specific problems you might be having include:
Cat keeps scratching up your house at all hours of the day? Sadly, there isn’t such thing as a perfectly cat-proof couch fabric (not even leather is completely safe!).
That being said, there is a really quick and easy fix, for furniture you already have. What’s that? Furniture scratch protector covers. These come in all sorts of shapes and sizes.
There are couch protector covers (super handy if you also have issues with liquid accidents in your household!), cat scratch guards, and if you have a lot of damage to your furniture already, but are willing to give covering up the damage a go, there’s also couch cat scratchers that turn the damaged bits into quite attractive (in my opinion) scratching posts.
To solve food theft: grab a microchip cat feeder so only approved cats can eat at the all-you-can-eat buffet left out.
To solve hunger issues throughout the day that result in your cat eating things he or she shouldn’t: try a timed feeder like the Petsafe Simply Feed (I’ve had one for ages and I love it, check out my review here).
To allow one cat to escape if a different cat gets aggressive: give your cat a room to him or herself, and throw on a microchip pet door to allow access in and out without letting the aggressor have access to that particular room.
Cat keep peeing on the bed? There are waterproof bed covers – these help so much with keeping things clean and making sure you don’t need to replace furniture you don’t want to.
I got some of these when my Bjorn was having issues vomiting up food. Hey, if they can work for kids who have accidents, they can definitely work for cats as well!
You can also try waterproof pet beds if they keep having accidents (vomiting or peeing) on their pet beds.
3. Solving Problems with Training
Training is a much more time consuming process – and obviously requires more effort as well – than the quick fixes in the previous section are to implement and reap the benefits of.
That being said, for certain things, they just need to be done. One example of a cat behaviour that (in my opinion) all pet parents should train their cats to do: keep off of counters.
Training your cats to keep off counters isn’t hard and it’s good for you (hygiene-wise) and for the cat as well (in case you accidentally leave out a knife or some chocolate on the kitchen counter and kitty could hurt him or herself by landing on it or eating it).
Other things you should train a cat to do work best in conjunction with quick fixes. Like teaching your cat to stop scratching on the couch.
This works best if you already have quick fixes like couch protector covers on, just in case your cat scratches in the meantime – so you can save your sofa in the long run with training, and in the short run with couch protector covers.
There are issues with behaviour that result from literally one trigger. For example, a cat who cries and begs for food all day, the single trigger is likely that you’re feeding him or her human food and if you stop that entirely, your cat is likely to stop the never-ending begging.
Or your cat waking you up (often earlier and earlier) each morning. This is often triggered by you feeding your cat immediately upon waking up. It can be resolved by delaying the first feeding until at least a few hours after you wake up. Or of course, grabbing a timed feeder like the PetSafe Food Dispenser for your cat.
Finally, there are the most complicated issues, but those that are still possible to train out of your cat with the right steps taken forward.
These are complicated because usually more than one need is not being met by the cat’s environment, and a combination of different things on your part (usually very easy, but still more than one) need to be done to resolve the negative behaviour.
An example? Cats who are ridiculously hyperactive all the time. You need to make their environment much more interesting. Which includes things like playing with your cat more often if you can, but also easy fixes like buying a variety of toys cats can play with by themselves like these, and implementing some of these passive techniques for preventing feline boredom.
Being hyperactive can contribute to issues like meowing and crying all night, which is an ever-so-frustrating problem I had, and one my cat I feel grew out of as he aged. Remember, kittens have a lot of energy, so you’re going to want to keep them occupied with high-energy cat toys like these.
Finally, a ridiculously frustrating problem to have if you’ve taken in a new cat is when two cats don’t get along – but you can train your cats to be used to each other. It takes a lot of time and effort if you have a cat anywhere near as aggressive and easily stressed out as my first cat, Avery, but it’s so worth it and is really possible if you give it a good go.
Need more ideas for what you can train your cats on? Check out my training section of this blog and let me know if there are topics you want me to cover that you couldn’t find spoken about here.
(Edit 2022/03/14: I’ve written up a second article on this topic here, titled: “Caging Cats at Night in a Way That’s Luxurious, Comfortable (& Humane!)”; definitely check that out in case you’re interested)
Your Thoughts on Caging Cats?
Have you personally ever felt frustrated enough with a cat behaviour that you felt like caging a cat might be a viable solution to solving your problem?
What is or was the problem you’re currently dealing/have dealt in the past with?
Did you realize cats were so different from dogs when it comes to crating? Did you think cats might have psychological issues from being crated over time, but didn’t realize they were actually severe?
Have you ever had any experience with regard to crated cats before?
Please share your experiences, stories, opinions, and basically anything you have to say on this topic in the comments down below! Would love to hear your thoughts on the topic and I’m sure you’d be helping quite a lot of other pet parents out.
Cathleen Regan says
My daughter and I received 2 eight month old kittens who were not humanized…my daughter has been crate training them because at first all they did was hide. Since being in a crate, the kittens have been taken out several times a day for cuddles and play. But they want to escape any chance they get and are still (after 1 1/2 weeks) skittish of any noise or movement. We want to let them out of the cage, but will they ever bond with us or should we keep cage training? and for how long? Thanks for any advice.
Nurulain Shahfiqah says
Hey! I just adopted a 3 months old cat and ive been having problems potty training her. I would like to keep her in one room that is not used often but sadly i dont have that. I’m new to this and my mistake was not caging her during the night or let her spend a lot of time in her cage. Now she poops and pees everywhere and I’m not sure whether i should leave her inside the cage all the time or just during the night until she gets used to it? Ps I’ve already fixed my mistakes by putting her in my room with her cage and everything she needs in it. I just dont know what to do anymore. Can you help me?
Our cat broke her leg badly 6 weeks ago, we don’t know how as she did it outside. A specialist vet was able to repair it with 5 pins in her bone, and she’s been confined to a cage to recover and has 2 more weeks until she can go out into the house, and at least 2 further weeks until she’s allowed to go outside again. We’ve had a tough time, she gets very upset being in a cage.
Several things have helped; we made her cage twice the size by borrowing another and joining them with cable ties, so she has a bathroom for her litter tray. We bought a third cage and use it to carry her into the garden as it’s summer. She’s happiest here, no complaints! We leave her outside in the shade with water and food and her litter tray, and a little blanket. She sits and happily watches the birds and wildlife! We also use a Ring camera so if she gets agitated we are notified. The vet says she’s also allowed out on a harness and lead to walk round the house for a short time every day, that helps too.
Eve Peel says
I would like to know if this is normal to cage a grown cat in a cardboard box within a small cage plus cat litter tray and feeding bowls for 3 weeks outside in a yard on its own .
I was told the cat was to be put to sleep so the veterinary nurse brought it out to save its life she lived 6. Miles away and her partner came to feed it every day.
This procedure she said was ok to rehouse the cat and get it used to a different area ready to just let it out on its own after 3 weeks .
I was very unhappy to see the cat never let out and the weather was getting hotter so I complained she as now opened the cage and the cat as gone never to be seen around here again is this normal she is a working vetenary nurse does she know best !!!!
I would appreciate your comment thank you.
I confine my cats during the day, and let them out at night. I do this to protect birds who are active during the day, and to have the cats chase the rat population in the rural neighbourhood where I live, at night. I am very allergic to my cats, so they are strictly outdoor cats, and I have a large comfortable outdoor enclosure for them to sleep in all day. They happily enter the enclosure in the morning, as early as I can get out there, where they are fed every morning, and I let them out when the sun is going down. I do this for about 6 months out of the year, beginning in March when the birds start nesting in this area.
If its true that cats sleep up to 18 hours a day, they can do their sleeping during the day and leave the birds alone. Birds are largely diurnal, meaning most species are active during the day. Rats, which become active at night, are also predators of birds, especially the young ones still in the nest. Cats do help keep rat populations down.
I should probably be posting this on some website where the bird enthusiasts are, but just wanted to let those who love their cats know that this day-enclosure routine works just fine, and while its not a complete solution to the cats-killing-birds problem, I think it goes a long way. Birds don’t get a free lunch like domestic cats do, so I figure the cats can give up a little freedom to balance the situation.
Me having no experience tending to cats had absolutely no idea that caging up a cat would have an impact. We recently took in two abandoned kittens (2-3 weeks old) one was gifted and the other we adopted, our mother cat who also recently had miscarriage started nursing the little one with her non-existent milk. This resulted in poor health for the kitten so we had no choice but to separate and cage up the kitten (bedding, food and litter box included), she slowly regained her health like two days after. I knew she should be playing and just being active, tried to take her out but the mother cat was rather being annoying and persistent to the point where she would start nursing again. Not even a week after the kitten developed severe health issues with symptoms mostly relating to cardiovascular disease, it was just all too sudden. A part of me thinks caging her up influenced it more, didn’t know it could cause suffocation and loneliness as opposed to dogs. She played with me for abit before ultimately losing her battle late afternoon, made a little burial for her. She was really rambunctious and loved socializing, her gentle nibbling and attacks on my slippers. I am sorry for the unfortunate news, it has tore me apart. rip pumkin
George Richardson says
Our outside cat had ear surgery and needs to be caged for a few weeks; the vet said a large cage in. The garage is okay; he roams at night so he will be confined to the garage when I am out there what do you think about this
Elise Xavier says
Double check with your vet and if he or she says it’s good – that works! They know best what’s ideal, especially when it comes to recovery.
My cat pees on the carpet when left alone but not when we’re around and can monitor her. I don’t know what to do when we’re on vacation. I thought having her in one large room with carpet she hadn’t used before would work but eventually she peed in that too. We’ve tried every box and litter and litter placement and nothing beats carpet. I was hoping we could crate her for vacations. I have no idea what to do. We have no rooms that can be sealed frim carpet except bathrooms and a windowless laundry room where we out her at night with a bed.
hello. i’m leaving this comment or reply in hopes someone finds this and can assist me. i have a cat whom i love dearly, who was rehomed to me a little over a year ago. the previous owners told me he had appointments for neutering and what not, so ultimately i agreed to taking the cat. basically they never did anything for the appointments nor gave me the information i needed to take him myself. i know having an animal you should be financially stable but ultimately i caught covid. and it was a major setback. and i have also recently moved. so everything really goes into priority. my animals food and health is priority. but my situation is strange. he recently started spraying in our new home. out of nowhere. he seemed to really enjoy the new environment along with a whole room for himself. and everything he loves. and then i find he’s been spraying all over the entire house. every. single. room. and to top it all off, on top of my boyfriends old army items. which is very saddening. so ultimately i have him in my massive dog cage with everything he needs upon finding him a new home with someone who can neuter him or tend to this. i feel awful. i love him more than anything. he made me love cats. but he made our situation unliveable. i can’t breathe. my lungs feel terrible. and i can’t do anything about it until he’s gone. i really am at my last resort. and i simply am calling for help at this point.
Unfortunately the only thing that will stop that is to get him neutered because he’s essentially marking his territory in an attempt to get any unspayed female cat to come to his yard. That will make it stop, but you would have to clean everything really well & get a bissel wash-vacuum thing for the carpets & wash the walls. That way it doesn’t smell anymore & he won’t need to mark his territory. There are lower cost options I believe, look them up in your area or ask your local humane society for low cost neutering options. Other than that, you’ll have to give him away :(. And if he keeps peeing after being neutered, it’s probably like an illness, sometimes cats pee outside the box when it hurts to pee. Hope this helps.
Pamela Leggett says
I have a really strange situation. I’m disabled. Physically. I’ve always loved cats. I’m able to care of cats myself as long as it’s within a small area or am able to put food for them close by me or feed them myself. I can use an assistive device, but at the moment the space here is too small for this. My place is in process of renovation for this purpose mainly right now. It may be months before this is done. I have a 5 month old kitten that I so far let out to eat and use washable pee pads. My room does not have a door that will stay closed plus as he gets older he’ll be able to get upstairs in the loft we have here until that’s fixed as well. But if I let him out of my room I m scared my roommate/ caregiver will let him out, accidentally or possibly on purpose even since we don’t always agree on the indoor/ outdoor thing when it comes to males especially that aren’t fixed yet. My other male cat is fixed. Also she is verbally mean and aggressive with all animals. With hers and mine. Dogs and cats. Especially mine it seems. But even hers as well. She says it’s ok to do this since they can’t understand her. But that may be true. But they can sense things like emotions. Fear, happiness, anger.. stress.. etc.. Anyway I didnt want him subjected to this or to be let outside and run away like she’s aloud several of my other cats to do. I only have 3 adult cats now. 1 kitten. One outdoor cat only. But I never see it since I’m disabled and not able to get to the door to get outside until I get proper equipment that fits in this place. But I feel like at 1st it was okay. He was happy. I’m not so sure now. 😕 he’s older now. Like at 1 month to 3 months it was great. But he’s going on 6 months now at end of month, and we’ll I can’t move. These are only people willing to care for me. I have no family that can or will. I dont want to lose him either. I’m attached. But he bites and scratches when feeding him lately. Like not while he’s eating. But when done and right before this. So.. this is so sad.. what can I do? I’m low income. So cannot afford to buy many accommodations for him. I’d like to take him out more. But he’s gotten so aggressive. It’s beyond play I think. It’s rough play. Am I wrong? We do have a huge catio homemade built 2 of my other cats. But I’m afraid now to put him in there until he’s fixed , plus I m not sure he’d even get along with the other 2. One is a fixed male cat. The other is a female cat. His sister. The female’s sister. What to do?
I would like to know the laws about caging cats and kittens round the clock at pet stores. Ive asked who they belong to and petsmart says they belong to a rescue group, I asked if they are taken home after the day is over and they said no that the cats stay until they are adopted! This is cruel. the petstore also said they go and let the cats/kittens out for a short period of time but thats it. have you heard of this in Ca? and if its legal, this is unreal to me this is happening in this day and age.
Elise Xavier says
I haven’t thought about it because I haven’t been to a pet store with a cat in ages (I live in Portugal now and to my knowledge, there are none of those here). I don’t think it’s good for the cats. I suppose they assume the cats will be bought quickly? But that’s not necessarily true at all.
Super tired Aimee says
I am babysitting my sisters cat for 8 months while she travels and does some schooling. I have 2 cats, 1 of which lived with my sisters cat for a long time and the other which periodically lived with her and they got along fine. Now that the sisters cat has moved into our house, my eldest cat (periodically lived, not long term) and the cat hate eachother!! My sisters cat is not even 2 where as my eldest cat is 5. My sisters cat continuously scratches on the closest door where ever the eldest cat is to get to her, then attacks her and runs away. I have tried everything for the last 2 months, including putting them in separate rooms, barricading each rooms door, having 1 out at a time, playing and tiring out my sisters cat, having that scent thing going etc to either stop the scratching or stop the attacks. The eldest cat is not phased until my sisters cat launches an attack. I don’t know how to get my sisters cat to stop scratching on doors because I end up with about 3 hours sleep!! The vet was stumped. I have resulted in purchasing a crate but she was in there for 30 minutes whimpering and after reading this article we have separated them into rooms again ☹️ will call the vet tomorrow.
I have never had a cat before so I don’t know what I am doing here, and what I am doing is okay.
I just received a 2 month old kitty for my 6 year old daughter. Not my choice.
I have made a large cage for her. the cage can fit her litter box and her little cage (where she sleeps in) there is about a foot where she has her water and food.
the reason why I have her caged up during the day is because she is still little and I don’t want to come home to a destroyed house. She is normally not in the cage for a full 8 hours as I do come home for lunch.
I take her out in the morning around 7:00am until 8:30am. I come home for lunch so she is out playing from 12:00 to 12:45 and then my daughter is home from school from 330 till 9:00 bedtime. this is during the week days on the weekends she is out most of the days. but caged at night.\
I need some advise
Elise Xavier says
Double check with your vet, but the fact that you’re letting her out as often as possible, and the fact that the only reason you’re keeping her enclosed at all is because she’s still a kitten and unsupervised, I think this might be okay for the short term.
Long term, if there’s one space in your house, a bedroom for instance, where very few things can go wrong and you’re okay with having her out, it’s much better keeping her in a full room then a cage, especially since she can run and jump.
Try to do your best to tucker her out by playing with her during those time slots you let her out. She’ll be sleeping more when she’s not out that way. I’d advise using feather wands if you have any (affordable & super easy to engage cats with in comparison to other toys).
In the meantime, watch her during hours where she’s out to see where she’s okay and where she’s being destructive. If there’s a space you can use and remove all the problem points (say she likes to tear up tissue, remove it from the room, etc.) and fill with cat toys for her that you’re happy for her to go to town on, this is the ideal solution.
Like a few of the people here im looking for input on large spaces, and more trying to figure out how large is ideal (not too large not too small) there are plenty of cats that arent caged, but are in a 700ft^2 cage called an apartment, there are other indoor cats in 3500+ ft^2 houses and only realy hang out in 3-4 spots. At night, or when it would be dangerous to have an animal underfoot (or small child) we would like a comfortable place that the cat can be contained without punishing it. At what point does it switch from being a cage to a cat room? Input? Sources? Anything?
I have a problem with my cat, she is sometimes becoming super aggressive just today she attacked my girlfriend. It continues 2 years she can be fine 1-2-3 weeks and after suddenly like she smell something in the room on in the air and notice us you guys be careful. Around 2 years we are trying to find out what makes her crazy, what smell which voice, which move. I bring her to many vets , she got her sterilization, she is super kind and soft cat but suddenly becoming super aggressive cat. We were thinking it’s neighbors cat or dog, we thought it some voice we make, we thought everything almost but can’t find out. Sometimes when we sleep she can suddenly attack, we love our cat and animals but it’s too much. So here is only two way as vets don’t know what to suggest also. Or keep her in cage all her life or let her live outside, but she is house cat and she will die maybe in several days. I don’t know what to do, have any idea ? Cage or out ? Cuz it’s super dangerous specially at night, eyes or face. 🙂
I am a first time mom of a three month old baby I’ve had my cat for a little over a year and I love him dearly and he is a very well behaved cat but we recently had to move in to a house where someone is allergic to cats we rent a room so we already have to keep him in our bedroom but this has created problems due to our baby sleeping in our room as well he has contracted ringworm and I’ve treated him multiple times but he keeps getting it from being outside and now has passed it to our baby which really frustrates me we are planning to move out into our own space in about a month but in this time It’s nearly impossible to keep our cat off of my baby’s bed and off of her blankets and all of her belongings which is why he keeps giving it to her my doctor informed me that her continuing to get ringworm could get me in trouble with CPS for child neglect due to me not creating a safe place for Baby So I am at a loss I got a large dog kennel that fits everything he needs and built a makeshift tunnel that leads to his litter box so it’s not near his food he seems to do fine in his cage but I worry about his mental and physical health I love our cat so much And want what’s best for him I really don’t want to have to rehome him nor do we have the money to board him or give him a temporary place to live I don’t feel as if we have another option for the next month
I adopted my cat from a humane society around almost two years ago. She was around a year to a year a half old at this point. When I got her I had asked the shelter how she did with other cats since the goal was to introduce her to my partner’s cats eventually and they told me she would be fine. The first eight months she got to be a solo cat that had free run of my room and then eventually the house as long as there was supervision. Of course she had issues with trying to get at wires and what not. But when I finally moved and she had to meet the other cats it just went south.
We tried introducing through the door and giving things with each other’s scent. We feed them all at the same time and have multiple litter boxes all around. I got her various items to try and help calm her down like a vest and spray. But each time that she has run into the other cats by dashing past us both my partner and I have gotten scratched up separating them. And then it progressed into her peeing on the bed multiple times in multiple spots whenever we weren’t watching her. And this isn’t including all of the wires she has chewed through or attempted to chew through. This is all while she has been separated from them in a room on her own and the only real reason she knows they exist is because they are on the other side of a door.
At this point it just isn’t sustainable to keep her constantly in the bedroom roaming free without supervision. And there are no other rooms to keep her in since there is only one bathroom and it is open to roommates. While the peeing on everything has died down because we constantly monitor her, I am now gone for hours each day to work and my partner can’t watch her the entire time either.
We have had to put her into her carrier when we both need to leave the house for things like getting groceries. It definitely isn’t ideal because while it is large and she is small cat, I would feel better with her having access to a litter box and water. While she hated her carrier when I initially got her and she still hates car rides with it, now she will actually go into it of her own free will or lay down where we usually put her carrier if we move it. And she gets along better with my partner now where he can now pet her, pick her up, and she will go out of her way to lay near him when initially she would hiss and swat at him if he came near. And she even gets along better with me and will sit or lay on me for longer stretches compared to before, even though I am the primary person who moves her into her carrier when we have to.
While the main reason I am considering getting a cage for her is due to her aggression towards the other cats and destructive tendencies, it seems like it would be a better solution that putting her into a carrier that doesn’t offer as much space for when it necessary to keep her and our belongings safe without supervision. I love her and don’t mind the occasional having to replace things, that isn’t worthwhile to re-home a cat in my opinion. And especially since she is a black cat, I have heard too many issues with them being adopted from shelters and actually going to good homes.
Regardless she is still a very affectionate and playful cat and loves to hunt her toys. Just was interested if people had a more nuanced approach towards using a crate versus completely labeling it as bad, when at this point it looks to me like the lesser of two evils.
Im interested in hearing what other people say, but my reflex is if an animal goes into a “cage” to hang out, goes into it on their own when it is time, and seems ok the rest of the time it is probably ok. That is how i have managed dogs, and kids… I hope cats are similar enough.
Best of luck
I have the same issue! Previously got along w the cat though, then separated for a while and now they hate eachother. My youngest cat has torn up door seals trying to get out LOL attempting the crate tonight, hopefully she likes it as much as yours
My cat has developed separation anxiety, and pee’s on our bed. We’ve tried pheromone treatments, and medication, but nothing has stopped his accidents. We’ve had to move from a small apartment to renting a room. It’s temporary, but it will only be a few more months before the new place is ready. Unfortunately he cannot roam the whole house. The room is the size of a studio apartment, so it’s not tiny. He started peeing on the bed whenever we left the house for any period of time. We’ve had to replace one mattress already, and the new one is getting to that point. The waterproof covers I’ve tried only work if you can clean it within a certain period of time. Laundry has become a living nightmare. I bought a plastic moving cover for the mattress, but it’s so uncomfortable because it’s so loud when there’s any movement and it’s hot! We’re literally sleeping on plastic! We’ve started flipping the mattress up vertically when we leave the house which has helped, but we’re making a full bed every time we leave and come back. This can be four to five times a day sometimes. One day I didn’t flip it up because I was just running to my car, but received a phone call and got caught up for 30 minutes. I came back to find my mattress soiled. Since it’ll only be a few months I can’t think of another option. I think we need to cage our cat when we leave the room 🥺
My daughter brought home a very pregnant barn cat from her boyfriends farm. They are currently dealing with a coyote problem and were worried for the safety of Momma and her babies. Momma delivered 8 kittens (1 stillborn) and they are currently almost 3 weeks. We have them in an XXL dog cage on our back porch. Momma is let out on a lead multiple times a day to lay in the grass, go to the bathroom, etc. The kittens are doing great and look healthy and happy. Is it alright to continue with the cage? Eventually Momma and one or two babies will be going back to the farm. (after she is fixed!). We have a cat in the house that hisses at the sight of Momma and her babies, so we are not comfortable with bringing anyone inside. Plus, Momma has no vaccines. Thank you for any insight you may have to offer. We are just trying to take care of Momma and the babies the best we can.
I have a four month old kitten. He was given to me as a gift and just a week of being his parent, I got attached to the point that I can’t really give him up to anyone. I adore him so much (he’s very adorable, not my first cat but he is the first cat that I’ve been taking care of by myself alone and since kitteness). and his playfulness does not bother me at all as long as I’m awake and I’m not in a live-meeting (I’m working at home this pandemic), I just let him play in my bedroom. Even if I’m cooking, I let him in the kitchen and living room.
However, the problem is whenever I sleep or when I’m in a live work meeting. I live in a high-rise 37th floor one bedroom condo. My cousin sleeps in the living room and she’s not comfortable with cats, so I cannot put my cat in the living room/kitchen when I’m sleeping because my cousin would be there. I’ve tried to sleep with him many times but I just can’t really get a good sleep whenever he’s around my room when I’m asleep. I have observed that he would sleep beside me (which is sweet) when I sleep but just after 2-4 hours, he would wake up, run, and then play around my bed and sometimes I worry if he would bite my fingers, toes, or knees.
After several days of being sleep deprived and a damaged body-clock, I decided to put him in the balcony every night. My balcony is somehow big (half the size of my bedroom) and the fence is fully cemented. During his 3rd month, it was ok, he got used to it, but he would cry once he heard that I’m awake.
However, during more observation and of course I know this will happen, he’s been learning to jump higher and becoming more curious and playful. I worry that he might mistakenly jump out of the fence and fall from my balcony which is 37 story high, especially if he sees birds, insects, or lizards. That’s where my decision to cage him every night or every time I have a live work meeting came up.
I chose whether I will leash him or cage him but I think leashing him for several hours is less better than caging him. At least with a cage, I can put toys and comfortable beds for him but of course the space area will be significantly limited than the balcony’s.
During the first night, he excessively meowed after I left him and I could feel he was frustrated but I just can’t let myself be sleep deprived again. He would stop meowing after 10-20 minutes. Now, he’s getting a little bit used to it, he has become calmer when I hold and get him out of the cage. But whenever he is in my bedroom since I caged him, he became too playful to the point that I get shocked when he suddenly jumped on my lap or desk while being focused on my job.
I’m sorry but I really do not have an extra room and my cousin uses the living room to sleep so I cannot put him too. Bringing him in the toilet (which is about the same size of my balcony), won’t make it better as my cousin would easily hear his meows.
Please do not tell me to give him to other people. I love this cat, he’s adorable and I want to treat him like my child. But there are things I cannot sacrifice for my own well-being. I do not cage him all day, just every night, every after an hour of his meal (to make sure he will poop when he is still in the cage), and every time I have a live-meeting with my colleagues. The rest of the time, I let him play on my bedroom. Sometimes, when I procrastinate at work or during breaks, I use this time to play with him one-on-one to make sure he won’t be deprived of social interaction with me.
It’s only been a week since I caged him but only during the said occasions during the day. I hope I can still make him affectionate when he reaches adulthood.
I have an outdoor-indoor 5 year old cat in the province, very cuddly, and he sleeps on my foot every night but that cat is a heavy-sleeper, maybe because he’s already adult and he has lots of activities outdoors. My cat in the province has never been caged since he’s mostly outdoor when he’s awake. This cat was raised by my mother and brother, he’s our family cat.
The kitten I have now in my high-rise condo in the city is my first ever solo cat, only being taken care and raised by me, and a pure indoor cat.
I hope you can give me advice on what better I could do. Definitely, I cannot put him in a separate room aside from my balcony and I will definitely not give him to other people because I love this cat.
I hope once he reaches adulthood with less energy to be over-playful, and once I neuter him, he will be calmer and more quietly behaved just like my adult cat in the province. If that will be the case in the future, there won’t be a need to cage him as I’ll allow him to sleep with me if he can also sleep for several hours without disturbing me.
Ever since he came to my life, I never felt alone (my cousin is only here at night and we almost don’t have time to bond due to work), so when this kitted was gifted to me, it somehow diminished my loneliness.
Thank you very much!
Had to cage my cat 4 days ago. The vet ordered it, she pribably pinched a nerve in her back and was in lots of pain. On mild painkillers, she still felt the pain, on strong ones she felt ok and jumped everywhere which made her condition worse. It is so frustrating to see her inside the cage. She is not aggressive or anything but definitely depressed i think. Idk what to do. The vet said i should keep her caged for at least 2 weeks… 🙁 i live in a studio, it is impossible to dedicate a room for her without elevated surfaces 🙁 i am so sad, i feel like i am abusing her
Hey, we’re having to buy a very large cage which takes up our Whole garden (50 foot) so that our cats can stay at home while our home renovations are ongoing. Is this cruel? we will be there every day to give them fuss. Just dont want them getting stuck in the house renovations. The cage is incredible large, we have 3 cats. It’s a 6 month project. We thought they would prefer this to being put up in a cattery.
I have a kitty thats about to be 1. I adopted her from a shelter and she was very scared and timid to begin with. She would run for tight spaces only she could fit and would go for anything dark. When I picked her up from the shelter she was just laying in her litter box casually. I became homeless and I am staying with my mom for about a week till I move into a new place but my mom is highly allergic and can go into Anaphylactic shock if it gets bad. To make things kinda worse i can’t leave her on the balcony all the time because it gets cold and rains where I live somes nights/days. I bought an X-large dog cage and fit her litter box, bed, and food/water bowls in the cage for her. I wont keep her in it all the time but sometimes i have to for more than 12 hours. Any ideas? I love my cat and don’t want her traumatized. The balcony she usually stays on is basically the size of a small bathroom with her being able to see everything outside. Is that not suitable enough either?
Alyssa White says
My husband and I live in a small one-bedroom apartment with our two cats. Recently we discovered a little stray outside our apartment who is very scared of people but would come meow at us as long as there was glass or a screen between us. So, we started feeding him and trying to gain his trust. I have been able to touch him approximately twice while he was leaning over a can of wet food. However, we noticed that he has a wound on his arm and it was getting progressively worse. So we set a trap for him and he finally went into it yesterday. Now, we really don’t have a way to separate him from our cats unless he is in the only bathroom. We also aren’t sure if he is litter trained (as we think he may have been on his own for a while). When my husband tried transferring him to the Kennel that my parents used for their husky, he slipped out and ran behind our dryer. Eventually, he got scared enough behind the dryer that he ran back into the kennel last night. We took him to the vet this morning to get fixed and start all of his shots, as well as look at his injury. We were called and told that he is FIV+. We are considering kenneling him in our walk-in closet, that way we can keep him in a quiet low-stress room, away from our cats, until he is more comfortable with us. Then we plan on slowly introducing him to our other cats.
We really feel that there is no other option than to kennel him at first as we cannot, at least at first, guarantee that he won’t bolt and hide from us. At least if we kennel him first we can introduce him very slowly to the rest of the house and then his future siblings.
Any thoughts or ideas would be greatly appreciated!
What if the cat actually seems ok with being caged up? Cos one of the “stray” cats I know didn’t like being caged up at first, but after spending many weeks at the vet, now he seems to actually be alright with being in the cage. I found out he actually was not a stray, but previously being taken care of by a nearby house, and they have a boisterous kid whom I feel, doesn’t like the noisy and rowdy kid. And the cat seems to have learned that the cage “keeps out” that rowdy, noisy kid.
So long story short, my question is, what if the cat actually is OK being in the cage?
I adopted a female rescue cat with a history of abuse. I realized she would be challenging. We had her own room and initially kept the door closed for the first week. We then left door open and she hid and did not come out. It took 6 months for her to venture out. She is now 7 years old and I have had her 4 years.
Issue is she began to pee on our sofa, loveseat and carpet. No health issues or uti. We are selling our home and will be living in a travel trailer while we build. The property has a nice shed with windows and a door….. fancy she shed type. I won’t want her in new house peeing all over.
I called the rescue group and asked them to take her back. While they were willing it was made clear that she may not be adoptable and she has made great progress with us. She was returned twice prior to us adopting her. She truly is a disturbed yet. She loves our dog and has come so far.
We decided to keep her in the shed and foster rep loved that idea. But the 10×12 shed will also house storage etc. I have thought about letting her stay outside but think that will freak her out. Now I am considering the cage, 3 level condo type.
I don’t want to put her to sleep but it feels like a viable option. Then I worry about her being in a shed for the rest of her life and she may just run out the door and be gone? There are wild animals around so I don’t want her getting hurt and she knows nothing about cars.
Laura L Barnett says
Im not sure this is the right place or even the right way to talk about my situation but i am feeling so hopeless and sad. Over the years i have rescued cats and have tried to find homes for them but i have ten cats now and am having trouble getting two of them to use the cat boxes now. I have been taking care of some of the older ones for twelve years now. Two of my older cats have started to refuse to use the cat box unless they are in a kennel and i have tried everything to solve the problem. It is to the point that some of the other cats are spraying around the house now. My health over the years has started to really go down hill and i am really struggling to keep up. I love them all so much and really dont know what to do. In the end i just want to do what is right. One of the cats in the kennel does have the beginning stages of kidney disease and the other started not using the box after being spayed. Please if you can suggest something helpful i would really appreciate it, i feel so sad and so hopeless.
Elise Xavier says
Oh Laura, I’m so sorry, this is heartbreaking 🙁
First let me say – thank you for trying your very best and doing whatever you can to take care of all your cats. I’m sad to hear about your health problems, and that there are issues surrounding litter boxes that have sprung up all of a sudden. These are by far some of the worst issues you can have, and I wish it was a clear cut answer, though sadly as I’m sure you know, most of the time it isn’t.
I suppose my advice is, if it’s possible, to give the two older cats who are refusing the cat litter box a room to themselves if you can, to see if that fixes the issue? Maybe it’s something to do with the cat being spayed – they don’t like her new smell? I’ve had to re-introduce my youngest after she got her spay surgery because my oldest acted like she was a brand new cat and was angry around her. It’s taken time but now they’re almost back to normal together.
Please see a vet if you think your cats have something a vet might be able to help out with – like the older cat with the beginning stages of kidney disease. Maybe in cases like those it is best to keep him or her in specific conditions, I just don’t know because I have no experience with these things.
I wish I had more advice to give you! Hopefully you can figure out a system that works for you and your cats because I know how hard it can be and I’ve only had 5 in the house at my maximum – still it wasn’t easy when they don’t all get along and each have individual problems!
All the best to you, my heart goes out to you xoxo
I am getting a kitten and it will be in my kitchen while I am work , worried about it scratching my cupboard doors when am out and can’t tell it to go to cat tree , so therefore was thinking about keeping it in a cage only while I am work any ideas please
Lonneka Sharp says
Hello, I am struggling with my cat. She meows all night long waking my two children up and even myself. She is in perfect health and has food and water. We recently bought a house and moved so it is a much bigger space for her to roam around. She seemed to be adjusted to the new house but she continues to meow loud all night long. I’m at my endswit with her and resulted into putting her in the downstairs bathroom with the door close. I have never done that before but the excessive meows is too much. I do not know what to do. Not to mention that we recently gotten a second cat which is a baby kitten no more than 4-5 weeks old and my older cat is extremely aggressive towards it with the hissing, growls and sounds i have never heard before from a cat. We tried having different pets in the house and she did her normal hissing but this time it was completely different. I so need help with my cat.
I struggle SO much with my two newest cats. I’ve had them for about 5 months now and they are not much older than that. They are the most energetic and destructive cats I’ve ever owned. They use their claws constantly on my furniture to climb up it or not fall down. Thankfully I’ve started using claw caps, but not until after they damaged every single piece of furniture in my room. I have no decorations in my room because they try to chew, claw, knock over, play with… you name it… with anything that is on my walls or on top of the furniture. Not to mention, the only room my cats have been in is my bedroom (master bedroom, quite large with a cat tower, high shelves, several windows, tons of cat toys) and they’ve already inflicted so much damage that all happens when I am at work. It is frustrating to constantly come home to something else knocked over, chewed up, clawed on. I keep reading to wait it out until they are older, and have contemplated kenneling only when I am really mad at them, but I’ve about reached my wits end. So glad I found this blog… found a few other tricks I am hoping can help… so I can eventually redecorate my room and live in peace with my kittens!
Definitely get yourself a cat tree and interact with your cats as much as possible. Another problem is they need territory to move and exercise so if you keep them trapped in one room, that may be contributing to your problem. The less space you give them, the more destructive they may become. When you see them clawing furniture, gently take them over to a cat tree and show them that this is what they can scratch. Gently rub their paws up and down the cat tree and eventually they will understand they can scratch that object as much as they like.
Margaret Denny says
Hi there, and thank you for so many informative posts on cat behaviors. Just as you noted, I searched on the humane-ness of caging a cat because of a very stressful situation in our home. Until October 2019 we were a 7 cat household. Upon the death of my mother-in-law, we were obliged to bring her beloved cat (back) to live with us. (we adopted him from a rescue shelter, and he lived with us 4 years before we gave him to her). He is a handsome, neutered, personable and very friendly Himalayan, who’s 10 years old. However, he sprays in various places in our home, multiple times a day. We have taken the measures such as number & cleanliness of litter boxes, spread in different areas of our home. I have wrapped tin foil on/around places he tends to spray, but he then finds other places to spray. All the rescue orgs within 60 miles of us have responded that they are desperately full to overflowing.
In searching for kennels, I have seen items called ‘Catios” – enclosed ‘patios’ for cats, so they can actually be outside, in a protected space. These are large cages with multiple height shelves, and even a built-in napping box. I don’t yet know how we would manage how many hours we would confine him, but it seems like if he had his own litter box and the ability to graze at will, perhaps he would lose that compulsion to mark his territory. Note: we tried open feeding when he first came to live with us, and 4 of our other cats immediately gained 1-2 lbs – so we had to go back to a rigid & limited feeding schedule.
I’m looking at the Surefeed microchip feeding system, but frankly, there’s only about a $50 difference in the price – so I’d be interested in your thoughts. Thanks very much, Margaret
Here’s a link to the ‘Catio’ I mentioned:
I only had to cage a cat once in my 20+ years living with multiple cats. One of them broke its pelvis and the vet said if there was to be any chance of a full recovery, she would have to be restricted from moving for about a month and a half. Put her in a cage and she didn’t mind all that much since she couldn’t really move anyway. Happy to say she did fully recover after just over a month. I can’t think of any other valid reason to cage a cat. Whether it attacks your child or it has behavioural problems when you’re at work, caging the cat won’t resolve those issues and might actually make them worse. In those cases it’s probably not the pet you should have.
I agree 100%! Cats should never be caged unless there’s a medical reason. I provide my 2 cats with lots of stimulation in the form of cat trees, toys, and accessories like tunnels and cubes so they can keep themselves busy at night when I can’t be playing with them. They used to wake me up early in the morning but have now mellowed out. All the suggestions provided by kittyclysm are great and very true in my experience. If you have a cat who is hyper at night or bored, taking some time to tire them out through play works wonders. As the previous commenter stated, perhaps a cat is not the best pet for you if you want to put him/her in a cage.