Crate-training a cat is somewhat like crate training a new puppy. There are only a few reasons you would need to crate-train your cat. One is because they are having difficulty using the litter box and the other is because they are destroying your home.
The first step is to get a proper size kennel. One that will hold a litter pan and a soft bed and nothing else. Check the crates at petcratesdirect.com for the right size and style for training your cat.
Here are 4 Steps for Crate-Training Your Cat Effectively
- Crate Style
Choose a hard-sided crate so your cat will not be tempted to climb the slats of a wire dog kennel. A wire crate could also have your kitten getting their small legs stuck through the openings and they could hurt themselves.
Choose a crate which is big enough for a soft bed, or small piles of towels or blankets, and a litter pan. Do not put a large, dome style litter pan in the crate. A small pan with sand is fine for now.
You will also need to leave room for their food and water bowls, which you will not leave in there for more than a half to a full hour at a time. If they don’t eat within the allotted time, take the food and water out and try again later.
- Crate Placement
Place the crate in a noiseless area, a room where no one will disturb them. This will be their home for the next 30 days, maybe longer. Keep the kennel away from drafty doors and windows. Make sure the room is not too hot or too cold.
Many kennels come with a removable pan in the bottom. You will want to leave that inside the crate and place a towel or other small absorbent material at the bottom of the crate. This will catch any accidents your cat may have and keep them dry until you are able to change and clean the kennel.
- The Training
When you begin crate training your cat, don’t just throw him or her in the crate and walk away. Introduce them slowly and offer them a toy or a nice, wet can of cat food. They will want to go in and stay in the crate, throwing them in will not accomplish this.
You can sit next to the closed crate and talk with your cat, telling them how much you love them and how good they are. You can also gently rub them through the closed door. Chances are, your cat will be pretty vocal at this point, protesting their new imprisonment.
- After the First Week
During the first week, and the entire time your kitten is in the crate, be sure to scoop the cat waste out. You need them to want to go to the bathroom and most cats will not go unless the box is fairly clean.
Once you and your cat have survived the first two weeks, in which they stayed in the crate at all times, you may want to let them roam around the room a bit. Make sure they cannot leave the room but can roam around and stretch their legs.
At the end of the month, if the cat is still using the litter box while able to roam around the room, allow them to go further into the house, making sure they know how to get back to their litter box.