Cat Crate Training in 4 Steps

Teaching a cat to sleep, eat and retreat in a cat crate can be very beneficial in cat training. A cat crate is a general term for a plastic or fiberglass cat carrier. A cat crate or cat cage can help decrease unwanted cat behaviors such as peeing outside the litter box or becoming aggressive with children and other pets. Using a cat crate helps establish and protect territory and puts the owner in more control of the cat's territory boundaries. If you move or travel with your cat, having a familiar cat carrier will help your cat with the transition. You can train your feline to use a cat crate in 4 easy steps. You'll experience the most success if you can start the training with a kitten.

Step 1 - Select the Perfect Crate

You want to select a crate that your cat will like. You should be able to make the door stay open for house use. The door should also safely close in case you need to enclose the cat for a move, or for cat training purposes. A cat crate should be large enough for the cat to comfortably stand up and turn in with plenty of room left over for bedding, food and water. Some cat behavior may warrant enclosing the cat in the cat cage while you are away from the house for long periods of time. In those cases, the crate should be large enough to fit a small litter box that is at least 2 to3 feet from the sleeping and eating area. It is easiest to clean a store bought cat carrier that is plastic or fiberglass.

Step 2 - Make the Crate Enticing

Make sure the cat cage is clean before introducing it to your cat. You can buy synthetic cat pheromones over the counter. Spray a small amount onto the bedding or the edges of the cat crate. This will often help neutralize any negative associations your cat may have to the cat carrier. Create a sleeping section in the crate with a nice soft cat bed or a favorite cat blanket the house. Have clean and fresh cat dishes for food and water. Treats and catnip toys will also entice your cat to the cage. Place a scratching board or some old carpet in one corner and hang a cat toy from the top of the cage if you can.

Step 3 - Familiarize the Cat with the Crate

Once your cat crate is completely set up with food, water, treats, toys and bedding, sit by the crate on the floor. Pet him and play with him while he explores the crate. Do not close the door to the crate because he will feel tricked and trapped. Give him plenty of time to explore the crate freely. Spend a good 15 minutes with him as he explores the crate, and make it as pleasurable and as fun as possible.

Step 4 - Reward the Cat for Using the Crate

Teach your cat that good things come from using the crate for eating, drinking, sleeping or playing. If your cat is sleeping elsewhere and doesn't mind being woken up, gently carry him into the crate. Offer treats and lots of affection when you get to the crate. Anytime you catch your pet using the cat crate, offer praise and treats. Play with him when he is in the crate.