kittens jump out of a plastic box for transport on a white backgIt’s likely that you’ve never really considered the benefits of crate training your cat… After all, crates are for dogs, right? And we all know that training cats to do anything requires advanced coursework at Hogwarts.

Joking aside, though; there are tremendous benefits to crate training cats, and the task itself is not nearly as difficult as you might think. With a little cunning and some basic trickery (not to mention a few healthy treats), you will have your cat thinking that his or her crate is the cat’s meow, in no time.

Why Crate Training Cats Is a Good Idea

Have you ever tried to bring your cat to a vet appointment wrapped in a towel? Or attempted to move (across town, or across the country) with your cats free-ranging in the back of your SUV? If so, you may understand the benefits of crate training your cat.

In addition to the practical, transportation-related benefits, there are some safety-related reasons, as well. From having a safe and secure place for your kitty to kennel up while your water heater is replaced to being prepared for an emergency of any type, crate training your cat will help to ensure that your pretty kitty is good to go, no matter what.

Tips and Tricks for Crate Training Cats

We suggest working your cat’s crate into his or her habitat as a natural den. When considering where to set up camp, think about where your cat already likes to be. The crate’s location doesn’t necessarily have to be on the ground. You can look for easily-accessible perches on the vertical plane, too; such as on top of a shelf.

If the crate can be broken down, start with just the bottom shell and line it with tantalizingly comfortable blankets (fleece or sherpa material are always winners), along with a toy and some treats.

You may have to show your cat his or her new spot a few times, and reward him for his interest and acceptance, but he should get the hang of it in no time – and if not, try a different location, instead of giving up. After you’ve noticed your cat’s marked acceptance of the cozy bottom shell, you can add the top of the crate and, eventually, the door.

Some cats will completely ignore the crate, but there are ways to convince even the most suspicious of felines. These training tips have proven effective:

  • Place treats near the crate and, as they disappear, strategically place the treats closer to the crate until your cat voluntarily goes inside the crate to nab one
  • Spray Feliway in and around the crate to help neutralize any negative feelings your cat may have
  • If your cat still snubs the crate and your attempts to reward him or her, move the crate to a new location, and try offering treats again
  • Once your cat has accepted the crate, offer treats when he or she hangs out there
  • Never disturb your sleeping cat inside the crate.
  • Starting slowly, get your cat used to you closing the crate’s door
  • Once he or she is accustomed to that, pick up the crate, carry your cat to the car, and then back home again
  • Continuing this pattern over time, add different components, such as starting the engine of your car and, when ready, driving around a little bit
  • Offer treats throughout the trip, and then again when you arrive at home
  • Crate training is an essential part of supporting your cat’s security when travel or evacuation is necessary, not to mention a wonderful way to reduce your kitty’s stress and anxiety. Good luck and, as always, please call us with any questions!