How long can a cat stay in a crate?

If you’re wondering whether or not it’s okay for your cat to stay inside a crate, don’t worry. It’s completely fine to place your cat in a crate or carrier at times. However, there are several things you need to consider when you place your cat inside a crate.

These considerations include how big the crate is, how long your cat should stay inside the crate, and whether or not cats like staying in a crate.

In this article, we’ll discuss cats and crates, and tips on how to make your cat safe and comfortable.

What is a Crate?

A crate is an enclosure for cats. They can be made of plastic, wood, or metal, and they’re primarily used to keep your cat enclosed in a space. They’re durable and secure, and spacious enough for your cat to move around, for a litter box to be placed inside, as well as a few toys, food, and water.

For a crate to be comfortable for your pet kitty, it must be at least 1.5 times bigger than your cat’s size. This is to ensure that your cat can stand up inside, move around, get to comfortably relieve herself in a litter box, as well as to play around with toys.

Pet owners use crates for many different purposes. One of which is to place their cats in a safe place as they go to their vet’s clinic or as they travel. Crates can also be used to keep a cat secure and prevent her from distracting you as you drive.

It is important to note that many cat owners also use a cat carrier for this purpose. However, the main difference between a crate and a cat carrier is that the former is usually bigger and more secure. A carrier can be made of plastic or fabric which you can carry with you as you transport your cat from your car to a clinic, or when you want to bring your cat along as you shop, do errands, or ride a car when you’re not the one driving.

How Long Can a Cat Stay in a Crate?

Experts say that cats can stay in a crate for at least 6 hours. After which, you should take her out of the crate to relieve herself, either to pee or poo, and to stretch her body.

If you’re planning on leaving your cat in a crate for longer than 6 hours, you must ensure that there’s enough food and water inside so your cat can feed and drink by herself. A litter box placed inside the crate is also recommended so she can relieve herself.

When Can You Place Your Cat Inside a Crate?

There are many instances when you can place your cat inside. Some people may believe that placing a cat inside a crate is cruel, but it’s not actually the case.

As long as you take her out after 6 hours and provide food and water, and a litter box if you plan on making her stay inside for longer periods of time, then it’s completely fine.

Here are some instances when it’s necessary to place your cat inside a crate:

1. To Restrain Your Cat Overnight

Cats are crepuscular creatures, which means they are most active during dusk and dawn. Unfortunately, these are the times when most humans are sleeping, and if your cat has been disruptive during these hours of the day, then it’s completely fine that you place her in a crate.

We mentioned that a cat can stay in a crate for 6 hours, but if you’re sleeping and would need to place your cat inside it overnight, then it’s completely okay, as long as there’s enough food and water, as well as a litter box.

2. To Help Your Cat Rest During an Illness

If your cat is sick or if she’s nursing an injury or recovering from surgery, placing her inside a crate can help her rest and protected from other pets in the house. If your cat is being difficult when you give her medication, making her stay in a crate can help her feel comfortable and relaxed so it makes medicine administration easier.

3. When the Cat is Newly Adopted

If you adopted a new cat and you have a multi-pet household, keeping your new kitty inside a crate can help ease the tension that might occur when a new member of the family is introduced to resident pets.

Keeping a new cat inside a crate for the first few days helps your pets get used to each other, as well as keeps the new addition from violating marked territories of the resident cats.

4. For Traveling

Airlines prefer crates over carriers because they’re more secure and keep cats calm. Carriers usually have smaller spaces than crates and can induce aggressive behaviors in cats because they can’t move around freely, and there’s very little space for you to put food and water, or a litter box.

If you’re driving, a crate is also more secure and helps your cat feel safer.

Other reasons for placing a cat inside a crate include:

  • To tame a stray cat
  • To train cats to use a litter box
  • To control your cat during mating season
  • To introduce your cat to a new environment


Tips To Making Your Cat Comfortable Inside a Crate

While cats can stay in a crate overnight or for longer periods of time, it’s not always the best scenario. You must take your cat out of the crate every 6 hours. Allow her to play and move around outside, especially when the crate is used to restrain her, or to protect her from other pets at home.

If you’re traveling by car for longer than 6 hours, make sure you make stops along the way, where you can allow your cat to get out of the crate for a few minutes.

Make sure your cat has enough food (go with a dry food) and water, and that she’s not bored. If she becomes agitated inside, she can show aggressive behavior such as meowing more than usual, creating a ruckus, as well as spilling her water or food.

The Bottom Line

Your cat can stay in a crate for at most 6 hours but if you need to keep her inside for longer, make sure you provide her with food, a water bowl, and a litter box so she can relieve herself. If these things aren’t placed inside the crate, she could become aggressive, or even get sick.

Cats can hold their pee and poo for 24 hours so there’s no need to worry if you’re traveling the entire day and your cat is inside the crate the whole time.

However, you would need to check on your cat every few hours to make sure she’s comfortable, safe, and relaxed while inside the crate.

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