While crate training any animal can be a formidable task, it’s never an insurmountable one. This is especially true with cats. An effort to crate train your cat may feel a bit like climbing the steepest mountain without the right technique.
Cats are as wonderful as they are mysterious. They can be collectively dismissive about anything that’s not their idea, but that doesn’t mean they’re untrainable. If only your pet’s crate resembled a box! No matter; with practice, dedication, and patience, your cat will be good to go.
The Logic Behind It
It may seem like an investment with few returns, but crate training your cat is very beneficial. Part of the reason why cats don’t receive regular wellness care is due to crate fear, but when the crate becomes a happy, relaxing place, traveling with your cat becomes a breeze.
Likewise, an emergency situation like a fire or flood in your home may result in a quick evacuation. When you crate train your cat, you never have to look far to know he or she is safe from harm – and ready to go with you.
Getting Beyond the Fear and Doubt
Your cat may have reasonable (or completely irrational) fears of the car, strange animal encounters, or even medical experiences that overshadow your efforts. But, when you are able to introduce the crate as an enjoyable place, he or she can begin to make positive associations that soothe any worries.
Crate Train Your Cat with the Right Crate
All crates are not equal, and your cat would appreciate the following attributes:
- Big enough inside to stand up and turn around without restriction
- Cozy blankets or pillows that inspire security and snoozes
- Equipped with a toy or treat (or two of each!)
Placement of the crate is also important. Find a nice sunny spot where your kit typically rests, away from heavy foot traffic, yet still centrally located.
Your cat may not be convinced right away. In that case:
- Detach the top part of the crate and the door.
- Encourage your cat to visit the bottom clam shell with a preferred treat or toy. This may take several days of placing trails of food toward the crate. Spraying Feliway on and around the crate bottom can calm nerves.
- Once you notice the sure-fire sign of a relaxed kitty – that is, kneading – praise and reward your cat.
- Install the top half of the crate only after your cat has claimed the space.
- Leave the door off until you feel your cat is ready to travel in his or her portable place of refuge.
If All Else Fails
If crate training your cat proves more difficult than expected:
- Move the crate to a different location, and offer your cat’s meals nearby or next to it. If the new location is on a higher surface, make sure it is secured and safely weighted down.
- Never force your cat into the crate.
- Don’t disturb your cat when he or she finds it a comfortable place to rest or observe the household.
Once you’ve had a certain level of success, try to lift the crate with your cat inside it and walk around the house. Over time, walk to and from your car or down the street. Later, secure your pet’s crate inside your vehicle, start the engine, and take a short drive.
The post A Portable Place of Refuge: Why You Should Crate Train Your Cat appeared first on West Park Animal Hospital Blog.