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When to Use a Cat Pen or Cat Enclosure

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Cats are curious by nature and enjoy having the freedom to investigate their surroundings. It’s also in their nature to pick cozy spots at home and claim them as their own.

But there may come a time when you need to temporarily confine your kitty to a smaller space. Setting up a separate room might not be possible or may provide too large of an area depending on the reason for confinement.

Add to that, feline agility in climbing and jumping, how does one confine a cat without her getting out of the designated space? After all, cats easily can jump over a baby gate or climb out of boxes and containers you might try to put them inside.

A cat pen or other type of cat enclosure can not only help to keep your cat confined, but it also might become a place of comfort and fun for your feline family members, if you set it up properly.

Why Use a Cat Pen?

There are a variety of reasons and occasions when you might want or need to use a cat pen or other type of cat enclosure. Below are just a few reasons pet parents might keep their kitties confined for a period of time

Visitors in the Home

From hosting a party to having maintenance or utilities workers come over to expecting your realtor to show your home, there are many times that visitors coming over means you’ll want to confine your kitty to a safe, calm spot. This also is important to keep your curious cat from accidentally escaping when she sees an open door. Visitors might not be as careful with the open door as you are, and Kitty could dart right out.

On top of the risks that come from people coming in and out of your home, it can be stressful for your cat to have unfamiliar people in her space.

Illness or Injury

A sick or injured cat may need to be away from other pets or simply confined to a smaller area to rest and recover. This especially is important for cats who are recovering from surgery or broken bones because they need to restrict their movements for a period of time.

Mom Cat and Kittens

A pregnant or nursing cat mom needs privacy and security for her kittens and herself. A cat enclosure also can help keep the kittens safe from other pets in the home who may be a little too nosey for mama’s liking.

Kitty Introductions

Adding a new cat to the household where other pets already reside takes time, patience and planning. Using cat enclosures can give the new pet time and space to acclimate to her surroundings, while other household pets get to know her and her scent from between the bars. This also enables you to observe their interactions and decide when it’s the right time to start removing the barriers and let them meet face to face.

Safety While Traveling

When traveling with your cat or moving to a new location, brining a portable enclosure with you will give your cat a place to stretch out safely when you stop for the night. She will need a much larger space than a small cat carrier, especially since traveling can be stressful for felines.

Cat enclosures also are helpful at your final destination. They give your cat a place to feel safe as she gets used to the new surroundings.

Outdoor Playtime

A fully enclosed outdoor cat enclosures, called catios, have become very popular in recent years. They are designed to, let cats enjoy the outdoors while remaining 100-percent enclosed and safe. Learn more about catios here.

Although most catios are permanent structures, you can use an outdoor cat pen or tent designed to easily be set up in the back yard.

Indoor Playtime

Even indoor playtime can be enhanced with a cat pen or enclosure where your cats can play, hide and nap. I have several cat enclosures, and my kitties love to use them.

Types of Cat Enclosures

Since there are such different reasons for using cat enclosures, there are many different cat enclosure styles available as well.

Cat Pens

A cat pen can be an ideal place for kittens to play. While a cat pen is not fully enclosed, as the top remains open, kittens usually are not large enough to jump or climb out (yet!). This allows mom cat the freedom to enter and exit the space at will to tend to her kittens and herself.

The IRIS 4-panel exercise play pen is a wonderful place for kitten play, and adding the IRIS Nylon Mesh Security Roof makes it 100-percent enclosed.

Cat Tents

Cat tents can be wonderful places for kitties to play, and some can be closed entirely to provide a 100-percent enclosed, secure space. My cats love the Outback Jack kitty compound as well as the Paws and Pals portable play pen, which also can become a fully enclosed space.

Cat Cages

Keeping your cat safe is the main reason for choosing a cat cage that is closed on the sides and top. This is critical if the purpose is outdoor time.

For something that is 100 percent enclosed, the IRIS Multi-Story wire cat play pen might be just right so she can have supervised time outside in the fresh air without the danger of other outdoor animals and predators.

Cat Enclosure Safety

Carefully asses your cat enclosures and pens between uses to remove hazards, such as loose strings and sharp edges, and repair anything else that can be dangerous for your cat.

When your kitty is using a cat pen or enclosure, provide her with cat toys, cat beds, cat food, water and a cat litter box inside the space, and check on her often. Only allow your cat to be in cat enclosures and cat pens under strict supervision, and only on a very temporary basis.

While cat enclosures and cat pens are not meant to be a space where your cat is kept indefinitely, they can be pleasurable temporary spaces that your cat will enjoy using whenever the need arises.


By: Rita Reimers

Featured Image: Via Chewy Studios