close up of a tabby kitten looking out of a crate

How Long Can A Cat Stay In A Crate?

It can help if you have a crate when carrying your cat to the vet or a new home. How long can a cat stay in a crate before it starts to irritate them? It differs from cat to cat, but most of them can handle a few hours in a carrier without any issues.  When it comes time to let them out, your cat will let you know with meows of protest.

They’ll start meowing, and they won’t stop until you let them out. This post looks at everything you need to know about crating your kitty.

scottish fold kitten in a shelter cage

How Long Can A Cat Stay In A Crate?

If you’re carrying kittens, we recommend leaving them in the crate for 10-hours at the most. After 6-hours, most kittens or cats start complaining.

Your cat may also protest as you’re putting them in the crate, and they might start meowing as soon as you close the door.

If the cat starts scratching, that’s a sign they want to get out right away, and it’s best to comply with their request unless it’s an emergency.

Carrying crates tend to be smaller than home crates. Are you leaving your cat in a home crate while you go to work? Ensure you give them food, water, and something to play with to keep them occupied and fed.

Home crates give your cats more room, but we don’t recommend leaving them in the crate for longer than 24-hours.

Do Cats like Chilling in Crates?

Like everything else you give them in life, cats will turn their nose up at their crate initially. They don’t understand what it’s for, but you can use their natural curiosity to get them to bond with the crate.

Leave the door open and line it with blankets, toys, and their food bowl. Your cat will find it interesting, and they’ll spend the first few days walking in and out of the crate to get used to it.

Cats enjoy solitude, and it’s this reason that makes them crawl inside cardboard boxes and into tight spaces.

Cats get a sense of security from hiding away where they think you can’t see them. A crate gives them a hiding place they can go to when they get scared or need comfort.

close up of a young black and white cat in a cage

What’s the Best Size Crate for My Kitty?

Your crate should have enough room for your cat to stand up and move around. The cat doesn’t need to be able to do a full stretch but avoid a confined space.

We recommend getting the smallest cat carrier possible. Leaving your kitten in a large crate doesn’t have the same emotional security effect that you get with a smaller crate.

If you’re using a home crate, make it a little larger than a carrier. It’s also important to note that your cat grows quickly, so choosing an adult-size crate for your purchase prevents you from having to buy another when they get bigger.

Can You Crate A Cat while at Work?

It isn’t ideal but there should be no issue with you crating your kitten or cat while you go to work. If you live in a complex and you don’t want your cat getting up to mischief while you’re away, a crate can be a solution to keep your kitty indoors but a better solution might be to provide them with a cat room.

However, if you go down the crate route make sure the it is large enough and you leave them enough food and water, plenty of toys, and a litter tray while you’re away.

Why Won’t My Cat Stop Meowing in the Crate?

It’s common for most cats to start meowing right away when you put your cat in the carrier and close the door for the first time, 

It’s a sign of frustration and fear, and they don’t know what your intention is with the crate. If your cat is meowing relentlessly, we recommend walking out of the room and leaving it there for an hour.

Most cats will eventually stop complaining and start to inspect their surroundings. After two or three sessions, your cat won’t have any behavioral complaints about you crating them.

If your cat does get panicked when you put them in the crate, try leaving some catnip inside for them to snack on. Catnip calms your kitty, making it easier to carry them around or leave them alone for the day.

three cute ginger tabby kittens sitting in a row looking out of a crate

Should I Crate My Kitten at Night?

Cats are more active at night. They’re crepuscular predators that like being out at dusk and dawn. However, you might live in an area where it’s dangerous for your cat to be out at these hours.

California has a decent population of coyotes and mountain lions – they see your kitty as a tasty snack.

Therefore, you’ll need to crate your cat at night to prevent it from moving around. However, you’ll need to ensure you leave food and water in the crate.

Some cats don’t like you crating them at night, and it varies between cat to cat. If your cat keeps waking you up, consider putting their crate in another room, like the lounge.

How Long Do Cats Last on Road Trips?

If you’re planning a road trip and thinking about taking your cat, how long can you keep them cooped up before they start going crazy?

Avoid driving distances where you’ll be in the car for longer than 10-hours. If you have to drive long-distance, make sure you give them some experience in the vehicle before you make the trip.

Some cats have no problem with you transporting them in your car. Others will start complaining the moment you turn on the engine.

When transporting your cat in the car, make sure you have a spill-proof water bottle attached to the crate if they get thirsty.

What If My Cat Needs to Go to the Bathroom in the Carrier?

Cat’s can hold their urge to go to the bathroom. There’s no need to put a litter box in your cat’s crate or provide access to one while they remain crated.

According to veterinary science, cats can hold their need to defecate and pee for up to 48-hours. However, after you let them out, make sure you have their litter box ready for use.

Some cat owners decide to medicate unruly cats that don’t like taking a car trip in crates. However, the medication might cause an adverse stomach reaction, and you might have to clean some diarrhea out of the crate later.

Can You Use the Cat Crate as a Punishment Method?

Avoid using the crate as a punishment tool for your cat. If you adopt the behavior of sending your cat to their crate for being naughty, they’ll develop a fear of it.

As a result of their change in mindset, you’ll find it incredibly challenging to get them inside any crate in the future. Using the crate as a punishment is ineffective and won’t give you the change in behavior you need in your cat.

Cats aren’t like dogs; they are free-spirited animals. You’ll never get to train them to sit or roll over. However, using other training tools like squirt bottles is an effective way to discipline your feline for bad behavior.