Cats have been popular companion animals for thousands of years. It is rumored that domestic cats evolved from African wild cats when humans in ancient Egypt were developing agriculture. Some cats found it easier to survive near human settlements, where their grain silos attracted rodents of all types. We have since developed a sort of symbiotic relationship with them. Felines get rid of unwanted pests for us, and get protection and a steady supply of food in return.
Over the ages, cats have gone from a critter we keep around for pest control to a beloved (and in some cultures, sacred) part of our household. Pet parents go through a lot to keep their fur babies happy and content, and given the huge communication barrier, it is understandable if we fall short sometimes.
Caring for one’s feline companions can be hard. The immense responsibility that comes with taking care of a being that relies on you fully can be burdensome. There are a billion conflicting opinions out there about the best way to care for your cat. The noise can be deafening sometimes.
In this article, we will focus on crating your cat and the factors you should consider before you do so. Let’s dive in…
A personality can be described as a learned set of traits that are consistent across situations and over time. This shouldn’t surprise any cat owners, but all cats have unique personalities. No two cats are alike and just like humans, each cat is an individual with its own unique traits, preferences, and behaviors.
Some cats may be playful and outgoing, while others may be more reserved. Some may be affectionate, while others prefer to keep their distance. A cat’s personality is influenced by a lot of factors such as genetics, socialization, environment, and individual experiences.
Crating Your Cat
“Crating” generally refers to putting a cat in a cage or “crate” for transportation or other purposes. Since cats can’t be trained to be as obedient as dogs, cages help cat owners transport their felines wherever they may go. They can also help acclimate a pet to new surroundings, as you might not always be able to let them wander around.
Given that cats have so much energy and like to explore a lot, it’s not right to have them caged up all day. On top of that, some cats may find the act of confinement extra frustrating, leading to general unhappiness and irritability. It can all be very confusing if you’re new to caring for a cat but by the time you’re done reading this, you will hopefully understand your furry friend a bit more.
Crating As A Disciplinary Tactic
Most owners put their cats in cages when they need a “time-out.” They may do this because their pet was being unruly or damaging things around the house. Whatever the case may be, owners often think it is an efficient way to discipline pets. However, this is far from the truth. Cats are intelligent and sensitive animals that require positive reinforcement and consistency in training.
It is important to note that although you might be confining your pet to discipline it, your cat has no way of knowing that’s the case. From their perspective, they are being punished for something they aren’t even aware of. If a cat is exhibiting problematic behavior, it is important to understand why and address the underlying causes. Punishing the cat by putting it in a cage does not address the root cause of the problem. It may even make matters worse.
Cats may feel stressed, anxious, and fearful when confined to a small space. This can have negative effects on their physical and mental health. Instead of punishing a cat by confining it to a cage, it’s best to use positive reinforcement techniques, such as treats and praise. They encourage good behavior.
Effects Of Crating
Putting a cat in a carrier or crate for disciplinary purposes can have significant negative consequences for the animal’s physical and psychological well-being. Cats are naturally curious and independent animals, and being confined to a small space can cause them to feel stressed. This stress can lead to a variety of physical and behavioral problems, including aggression, vomiting, diarrhea, urinary tract infections, and destructive behavior.
Cats are social creatures. They require a certain amount of socializing, and being confined to a carrier or crate can deprive them of the social interaction they need to thrive. This can lead to loneliness and depression, which can cause a variety of physical and behavioral problems, including decreased appetite, lethargy, and loss of interest in play and other activities.
In addition, keeping a cat in a carrier or crate for extended periods can cause physical problems, such as muscle atrophy and joint stiffness, due to lack of movement. Your cat may become dehydrated or develop urinary tract problems if they are unable to access food or water.
Furthermore, without many positive interactions with people in a safe environment, the cat might be fearful of people. This might not be a big problem while they’re kittens as most are often shy, but it can cause serious issues for your cat growing up. For these reasons, confining a cat to a carrier or crate as a form of disciplinary control is not an effective or humane method of training.
Instead, try using positive reinforcement and other training techniques to encourage desired behavior in cats. Allow them to maintain their natural independence and socialization. If a crate is used, it should be appropriately sized. The cat should have regular access to food, water, and litter while in the crate too.
When Is Crating Necessary?
Crating is not always wrong. In fact, in a lot of circumstances, it can be beneficial for your pet. It is very hard to look after your furbaby while you’re traveling. Whether you are driving, flying, or taking a train somewhere, it is best to put your cat in a crate. Being in a crate gives them a sense of safety that they would otherwise lack in an unfamiliar place. The carrier can also keep the cat safe and secure during transportation and it prevents them from escaping or getting injured.
Crates can also come in handy when you have to introduce your cat to a new environment. When moving to a new home, for example, a crate can provide a safe and comfortable space for a cat to stay in during the move. It can also keep your cats from getting lost or injured in the chaos of the move.
Similarly, if you are getting your house renovated, a crate might help. Most cats may get frightened by loud noises or might otherwise get hurt. A crate provides your cats with a familiar place that they can go to when they feel too overwhelmed.
Crates can also help with introducing new pets to your cat. By placing the crate in a safe, open space close to the other pet, you are giving your cat the ability to engage at its own pace. This can make for smoother social interactions as cats tend to be very territorial.
Lastly, there might be certain health conditions that require rest or isolation. A crate can provide a secure and comfortable space for them to recover. However, cats should only be left in confined spaces for long durations of time if a doctor advises it.
Crating Your Cat At Night: Considerations
If your cat is not litter-trained yet or is recovering from a health issue, your vet might advise crating your cat overnight. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing and can actually help your cat in many ways. The crate can serve as a safe space for some cats struggling with changes in their environment. It is important that the crate is big enough for your cat to easily move around. Food, water, and toys can make a crate much more homey and bearable.
Alternative Ways To Discipline Your Cat
Cats are independent creatures with their own unique personalities. This makes them particularly challenging to discipline. However, there are some healthy and efficient ways to encourage good behavior in cats without causing any stress or harm.
The best way you could go about this is through using positive reinforcement. Rewarding good behavior with treats, praise, and affection is a great way to encourage pets to repeat positive behavior. For example, when a cat uses their scratching post instead of furniture, give them a treat.
Sometimes cats might be lacking environmental enrichment. Providing plenty of toys, scratching posts, and climbing structures can keep cats mentally and physically stimulated. This can also reduce the likelihood of destructive behavior and lead to a generally healthier and happier cat.
Another great way to discipline cats is by using deterrents, such as a spray bottle. Using a spray bottle to interrupt bad behavior can help prevent such behavior in the future. Another example of a deterrent would be placing double-sided tape or aluminum foil on the furniture, which can discourage cats from scratching it.
Although convenient, crating may cause lasting damage to your companion if not done right. As a rule of thumb, one should never keep their cats in a crate for more than 6 hours. They should also never do it regularly unless advised by a vet.
Enforcing discipline can be done through other means, such as reinforcing positive behaviors with treats or having a spray bottle handy if all else fails. It is important to avoid physical punishment or yelling at the cat, as this can cause them to become fearful and anxious. Consistency and patience are key when disciplining cats. It can take time for them to learn new behaviors.