Crating Cats At Night

Have you ever considered putting your cat in a crate for the night? Pet parents often ask about this. We take a closer look at the practice of crating cats at night. and discuss how to safely do so.

Danielle DeGroot

Last Updated: September 29, 2023 | 8 min read

Cat in a crate at night

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Felines are known for their exploratory nature and preference for being active at night. It is normal to find them stalking through the darkened house, seeking out any hidden bugs, treats, or adventures while the humans sleep. Many cats simply love to snuggle up next to the nearest pair of feet or head and snooze along with you. However, some owners wonder about crating cats at night.

Crating a cat at night may not be as commonly discussed with dogs, but it is not unusual. As with all aspects of feline ownership, there is more to this subject than what one sees at face value. Owners often wonder if they can crate or kennel a cat overnight, or if they should, and what effects doing so may have on their kitty.

Nighttime crating is unnecessary for every cat and should not be something owners do unless they have a specific and compelling reason. Crating a cat at night is a popular practice among pet owners who want to keep their pets safe overnight or for kitties who have medical concerns. However, many people need clarification about whether it is a safe practice or not.

Can You Crate A Cat At Night?

Yes, you can kennel a cat overnight. Many purr parents find that crating their cats overnight helps keep them safe, secure, and out of trouble. Night crating a feline can also minimize the amount of running around during the night, which helps prevent accidents and gives pets a safe place to sleep.

Nighttime crating is the practice of placing your purr baby in a protected enclosure for a select amount of time or overnight. This can help keep your pet safe from predators and other potential dangers. It also gives your kitty a safe space to sleep, which is essential for their mental and physical health. The most important thing to consider when securing your kitty is that they have enough food, water, and access to a litter box. This will give them a comfortable and safe place to sleep overnight.

Please note that felines should not be regularly left in a kennel for extended periods. If your cat needs to be left in an enclosure for more than a few hours, you are better off looking for an alternate arrangement. Consult your veterinarian to rule out any behavior or medical concerns. If you need to contain your kitty every single evening, make sure you use a comfortable, large enough enclosure and that your kitty has access to food, water, and a clean litterbox.

Top 10 Reasons To Crate Cats At Night

There are several reasons why crating your kitty for the nighttime can be beneficial. Some pet parents choose to kennel overnight out of necessity. In some cases, like traveling, this may only be for a few days, while other owners regularly enclose their pets overnight.

1. Protection

Securing a feline for the night helps keep them protected. This can be necessary if they live in a home with potential dangers. These can include other pets, household hazards, or even your pet themselves. Sometimes, the protection is not for the kitty but for another pet or person. Felines like to feel secure and safe, especially in a dark house. Using a kennel overnight can help with this for some pets.

2. Kittens

Kittens are often kept crated at night. This is in large part for the young cat’s safety and protection. Young kittens are very vulnerable. If they wander off, they can find themselves in dangerous situations, especially in a new environment. Crate training can be useful when owners cannot supervise kittens all night.

3. Litter Box Training Or Accidents

Most kitties learn how to use the litter box fairly easily and rarely have accidents. That does not mean they never happen. Kittens, adults, and seniors can all experience issues in this area from time to time. Securing cats overnight can be helpful when working through a digestive or litter box training problem. Suppose you notice many litter box issues or have concerns about your kitty’s digestion. In that case, it is best to contact your veterinarian immediately rather than try to solve this issue with crating. Crating is a tool but will not treat any specific medical problems.

4. After Surgery Or An Injury

Cats undergo surgery for various reasons, spaying and neutering or other medical care. They can also, unfortunately, get injured. Sometimes, when this happens, night crating is the best thing for their recovery and safety. This is especially true if a feline is under anesthesia or on pain medication. It is important not to reinjure themselves or reopen a wound. They need to be kept secure and have limited movement during recovery, and a kennel is a perfect way to do that.

5. Illness

A sick or ill cat may need to be crated during the night. This can help control the mess if they are vomiting or have diarrhea. You can also keep them separated from other cats and pets when sick. Some cats recovering from issues like struvite crystals in their urine may urinate blood or try to urinate in inappropriate areas, so crating them may be necessary until they are fully recovered. You can also observe and monitor their recovery more closely.

6. When Introducing A New Cat

When bringing a new kitten or older feline into the home, it may be wise to crate them for the first few nights. Your established purr baby should not be crated. This will only cause more resentment, aggression, and even depression. It is best to introduce kitties slowly to each other to keep the peace. Keeping a new kitten in a kennel overnight will ensure each cat’s safety and prevent fighting or other issues between the pets while you are asleep.

7. Feral Cats

In the case of a feral kitty, keeping them crated may be the safest option. Feral cats take time to be rehabilitated and often carry diseases. They often try to run away. Keeping them enclosed is likely a necessary part of the process if you are fostering or caring for a feral kitty.

8. Bullying & Breeding

Bullying and breeding are often a concern if you have more than one feline. They can start fighting with each other and even with pets like dogs. If this is an issue, consider nighttime crating. Additionally, some intact cats may need to be separated to prevent breeding, especially if a female is in heat. If owners are trying to encourage breeding, the crate may also be a helpful tool.

9. Bad Behavior

Sometimes, owners choose to secure their kitties overnight because they misbehave. Felines act out for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, it is in response to a new pet or being in a new place. They may feel sick or have some other underlying issue. Rather than relying on long-term crating, it is better to work with your vet or a feline trainer to determine the cause of the nighttime terrors.

10. Mother Cats

In some cases, when kittens are first born, owners may need to place a mama and her babies in an enclosure together to keep them safe and close together. This also encourages the mother to accept her kittens. If this is the reason you are night crating, use a larger crate so that there is plenty of room for all the kitties.

Can I Leave My Cat In A Cage Overnight?

Portrait of silhouette of cat with yellow eyes in dark on window sill

Yes, you can leave a kitty in a cage/crate overnight. However, ensuring that the cage is large enough for your sweet kitty to stand up and turn around is important. Additionally, you should ensure that the cage is comfortable and has plenty of bedding and access to food, water, and litter. There are some circumstances, such as when a pet is at the pet hospital, veterinarian, groomer, or in a boarding facility, that they may be placed in a cage or kennel overnight.

Tips For Night Crating Cats

When preparing your cat for night crating, it is crucial to be as gentle and calm as possible. This will help ensure kitties are comfortable and relaxed in the crate. There are a few steps owners can take to make night crate training easier and more comfortable for their pets.

  1. Give your purr baby a lot of attention and affection before placing them in the enclosure.
  2. Ensure the enclosure is large enough for your cat to stand up and turn around.
  3. Place the kennel in a quiet and dark area of the house.
  4. Keep a few toys in the crate to keep your cat entertained.
  5. Talk to your purr baby in a soothing voice while they are inside the enclosure.
  6. Make the area comfortable with soft bedding inside.
  7. Ensure your pet has enough food, water, and access to a litter box. Consider a slow feeder or licking mat.
  8. Leave the door open during the day so your purr baby can get used to it on their own terms.
  9. Place treats and catnip in the area to entice your pet to want to go inside.
  10. Never forcefully put your purr baby in the crate, and refrain from using harmful words or yelling at your pet. This will only scare them and make them less likely to want to go into a kennel.

Picking The Right Kitty Crate

When selecting a crate, there are several factors you should consider. Here are some of the most important things to look for:

  • Size – The area should be large enough for kitties to stand up and turn around.
  • Comfort – Crates must be comfortable and have bedding, toys, and room to curl up inside.
  • Security – Enclosures should be secure, with no sharp edges or points that could injure an animal.
  • Ventilation – Any enclosure needs plenty of ventilation to ensure there is enough air.
  • Durability – It must be durable and able to withstand wear and tear.
  • Easy to clean – Preferably, pick something easy to clean to ensure your pet stays healthy.
  • Price – Look for options that are affordable and within your budget.

This Eiiel Large multi-level option is a wonderful choice. If you need something a little smaller, this one by BNOSDM has plenty of room and is very secure.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Is crating a cat cruel?

    No, enclosing a feline is not cruel when done appropriately. It can be a way to maintain your kitty’s sense of safety and security. As long as they are in an enclosure that is the right size, clean, comfortable, and have access to food, water, and a litter box, they are perfectly fine in a crate. They should not be locked up for an excessive time or with other cats, but they should be okay overnight.

    How long can a cat stay in a crate at night?

    Cats can stay in a crate safely for about six or so hours. Keeping them caged for too long can negatively impact their mental and physical health. They need physical activity, and being cooped up too long can cause stress, fear, loneliness, and anxiety. Kitties need to release energy and move around. If you need to cage them regularly for long periods, invest in a larger crate, a multi-level one they can move around in, or create a particular cattery area in your home where they are safely contained.

    Can you let your cat roam at night?

    Yes, this is perfectly fine. Kitties love to stalk and explore, especially in the dim times of day and evening. They are more active in low light hours, so they genuinely enjoy their nightly haunts. As long as your kitty is safe and is not getting into trouble or destroying your belongings, they are safe to be left free to roam your home while you sleep. It is up to you to decide what areas of the house you give them access to.

    Final Thoughts

    Crating cats at night can be a great way to keep them safe and secure. It can also help minimize the mess and noise in the house. However, ensuring the space is comfortable and has plenty of bedding and other items is crucial. You should also ensure that every kitty has enough food, water, and access to a litter box. With the proper setup, enclosing a cat overnight can be a great way to keep them safe.

    Keeping your kitty safe when they sleep does not have to be complicated. With the proper setup, crating your cat can be a highly effective and humane way to keep them protected and out of trouble. Please consult your veterinarian if you have concerns about your pet’s nighttime behavior or health. Our guide is for informational purposes only and is not a replacement for advice from your vet or a feline trainer.

    Fluffy ginger tabby cat walking on old wooden fence

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    1 Comment

    1. I don’t believe in crating my cat. Never have. They should be free so they have access to food, water and litter box. Also to be able to get around the house and be comfortable in different areas. My dog also isn’t crated. They are friends and sometimes sleep together

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