Dear Most Esteemed and Knowledgeable Kitties:
I have a 6-year-old tortie who just started to use her kennel that I keep her in at night (as she doesn’t let me sleep otherwise) as a litter box. It only happens if I leave her in there for about six hours without checking on her in the in the interim. (I used to have to get up to check on her every 3 hours, but I began to use earplugs due to my apartment having thin walls–which in turn allows me more sleep, but an unsanitary floor, kennel and cat.) I usually have to clean each up every time she does this. A couple of things: what can I do to solve this problem, and I also need to know if certain products are needed, such as a floor/kennel cleaner. Can you tell me exactly what to get? I have Asperger’s syndrome, so I need you to be literal (exact). I’d greatly appreciate your help on the matter.
Thomas: Well, Erika, the good news is that we do know of some things you can do to keep your cat and her kennel clean. We’re going to tell you what products to buy and how to set up a cat-friendly kennel.
Bella: First of all, we’re not sure what kind of kennel you’re describing. If you have her sleeping in a cat carrier overnight, that’s just too small for her to have space not to make a mess.
Tara: The first thing you need to do is to get a medium-sized (36-inch) dog kennel. Line the floor of the kennel with puppy training pads.
Thomas: Make sure your cat has a litter box and a comfortable bed in that kennel.
Bella: Put a blanket over the top of the kennel so your cat feels like she’s in a cave.
Tara: Here’s a picture of what this cat-friendly kennel setup can look like:
Thomas: You’ll notice that Mama used a disposable roasting pan for a litter box in this setup because it was only temporary. But for a more permanent setup, you should buy a real litter box made of plastic.
Bella: When you do get a litter box for the kennel, be sure to measure both the kennel and the litter box so you’ll know that the litter box fits.
Tara: We’re quite sure that your cat doesn’t want to pee and poop all over herself, and if she has the option of using a litter box, she most likely will.
Thomas: If your cat is a “vertical pee-er”–that is, she doesn’t squat when she pees–then you’ll want to get a high-sided litter box. But whatever you do, don’t get a covered box.
Bella: First of all, it’ll be too big to fit into the kennel, and secondly, cats usually don’t like covered litter boxes because they can’t see what’s going on around them.
Tara: Once you’ve set up your cat-friendly kennel, give your cat treats when she goes inside so she has good associations with the kennel.
Thomas: Now, about the cleaning…you’ll want to clean her old kennel (or her carrier, if that’s what you’ve been using as a kennel).
Bella: If it’s a plastic carrier, it’s going to be much easier to clean than a cloth or canvas one.
Tara: The best urine odor and stain cleaner we’ve found is a product called Fizzion. It’s simply a tablet that you put into a squirt bottle full of warm water. This causes the tablet to fizz and release a carbon dioxide-based, eco-friendly cleaner that does wonders to remove those stains and odors!
Thomas: If you need to clean up your cat, we recommend using Earthbath wipes. They clean messes but they’re not toxic to kitties. They’re also hypoallergenic and fragrance-free.
Bella: Mama used Earthbath wipes on Siouxsie when she got too arthritic to be able to clean herself as well as she wanted to.
Tara: We hope you’ve found these tips on how to create a cat-friendly kennel to be helpful to you. If you have more questions or you need us to be clearer about something we said, please do let us know!
Thomas: What about you other readers? Do you have some tips for Erika on how she can make sure her cat has a comfortable and cat-friendly kennel? Please share them in the comments!
Have you tried playing with her in the evenings so she will let you sleep through the night without being locked up?
Amazon and chewy.com have “puppy playpens” that are about 2 feet high, and have plenty of room for litter box, food, cat bed, etc. I bought one for my cat when she had to be restricted from jumping due to a torn ACL, and it worked really well. You don’t need the larger ones, and they are less expensive than a large dog kennel, and give the cat more space. They have a mesh top that zips closed, so the cat can’t jump out.
What great advice, Smooch goes through phases where he piddles in places he shouldn’t indoors, so this is something we may try with him. Thanks so much
Basil & Co xo