Being in a socialisation crate while they learn to trust people probably won’t be the highlight of your cat’s life. But it will be a stepping stone to a wonderful life with someone who loves and cares about them.
In Australia, the alternatives are grim – a potentially hazardous life on the streets, or being killed at a pound or shelter.
How can you make things less boring?
Room with a view
Cats love watching the world go by. Position their crate next to a window so that they have a nice view – birds, dogs, pedestrians, the postie, workers.
Bring out their inner predator by making them ‘hunt’ for their food, giving mental stimulation and a sense of achievement.
This can be as simple as:
- an empty toilet roll (or a full one if you’re happy with them having fun shredding it!) with dried liver or dry food in it, with wads of paper stuffed into the ends
- a small box with scrunched up balls of paper or ping pong balls in it, with dry food amongst them
- an egg carton with holes cut in it
- scattering dry food in their crate.
Commercial cat treat dispensers, like the Kong Cat Wobbler or Kong Treat Dispenser, are available. There are many great DIY options as well – ideal both fo r cats in crates and even your own furbabies.
Most cats quickly figure out how to work the Kong Wobbler.
Give them a pot of cat grass (Dactylus glomeratus) to nibble on. You can buy it in a pot or grow it from seed. Many cats also like eating wheat or oat grass, which you can grow yourself from seed.
Toys and play
Hang dangly toys from the top of their crate, especially ones that make a sound. Cat bells tied to the end of a thin piece of material work fine.
For kittens, or kitteenagers, a ‘wheel in a track’ toy is good.
Have two shelves, at different levels so they can jump from them and get more exercise.
Dinner with friends
Have other cat-friendly cats ‘visit’ them in their crate during meal times or just for some cat company.
Put natural things – feathers, leaves, bark, grass, other animals’ hair – into their crate. They’ll enjoy smelling them and figuring out who it’s from.
Throw them a catnip party. Put some dried or fresh catnip in their crate and let them enjoy the buzz. (Not all cats respond to catnip. Hopefully yours will).
Robotic fish are water activated and come with replacement button batteries. Available online and in stores like KMart and Big W.
Bunnykicking towels and sheets
Keep a towel or sheet on top of their crate, even when they feel safe enough to not be covered. Many will pull it in through the top of the crate and enjoy ‘bunny kicking’ it with their back legs.
Kittens are often fascinated with clothespegs hung onto the sides of the crate. Have them loose, so that they spin when the kitten touches them.