As a cat owner for many years, I have to admit that cats are easier pets to care for. All they need is a safe home, good food and lots of tender loving care (my cat feels that I’m smothering it with too much attention).
If you are a new or seasoned cat owner, one thing to note is that even though cats are considered ‘low maintenance as compared to dogs, this doesn’t mean that they can be left alone and unattended.
I’ve even heard of cat owners locking their cats up in a room for almost the whole day.
It is not ok to lock your cat in a room without any rhyme or reason as it can cause undue stress for your cat. But there are instances it can be a valid option if it involves the safety and protection of both the cat and the owner.
In this article, we will be discussing why it is bad to leave your cat locked up alone in a room. On the other hand, there might be times when it can be a necessary evil.
Let’s dive deeper into this.
Can I Leave My Cat Alone In A Room?
Most of the time, it is OK to leave your cat alone in a room. Cats have a crepuscular body clock which means that they are usually active during dusk and dawn.
The reason for this is to allow cats in the wild to hunt during these times when the critters that they hunt for food are out feeding.
It is due to this body clock of theirs that turns them into sleeping machines. Cats spend a large amount of time sleeping, about 18-2o hours a day. I guess this is how the term ‘lazy cat’ came about.
It isn’t much of a problem if you wish to leave your cat alone in a room for a couple of hours. I myself have done it before when there are guests in the house.
The problem arises when pet owners leave their cats locked up in a room that is not conducive for them and for many hours at a time.
Your cat won’t be too happy and this can cause behavioral issues over time.
When Is It OK To Lock Your Cat In A Room?
Even though I don’t recommend locking your cat in a room, there are times when it can be required.
You Have A New Cat
If you are bringing home a new cat as a pet or to foster, chances are it will be fearful and apprehensive of its new surroundings.
This is even more so for feral cats or cats that have been hoarded. They are not well socialized and are very fearful of humans and other pets.
It would be best to confine the cat to a room alone and let it slowly adapt and get used to the environment.
Placing the cat in a room alone with you allows the cat to bond faster with you without being distracted by other things.
Your Guest Is Afraid Of Cats
As someone who loves animals from the heart, I’ve come to the realization that not everyone will share the same sentiments as me. I can browse through cat videos for hours and not see it as a waste of time.
If you have a relative or guest that is coming to your house and he or she is terrified of animals in general, it would be a good idea to keep your cat away from that person during that time.
I have seen some cases of extreme phobia for animals and it ain’t funny. People do crazy things when fearful and you don’t want anything bad happening to your cat.
Isolating your cat in a room alone for a few hours to maintain peace and order at home is acceptable.
Your Guest Has A Bad Cat Allergy
Around 11% of the U.S. population has some sort of pet allergy and cat allergies are twice as common as compared to dog allergies.
So if you are having a house party, there’s a pretty high chance at least one of your guests could have a pet allergy.
In this case, not only should you keep your cat in one of your rooms but make it a point to get rid of as much cat dander as possible in your home.
Dander are tiny flakes of your cat’s dead skin and it isn’t possible to totally get rid of dander as it’s microscopic in size and has a tendency to stick to things.
Although you can’t make your house dander free, you don’t want your cat spreading more dander around the house.
Your Cat Is Recovery From An Operation Or Injury
Cats that are recovering from an operation or injury require a lot of downtime to recover. They will be tired and won’t be very active.
By keeping them locked in a room, it allows them to recuperate in private. When cats aren’t feeling well, they usually prefer to hide and go under the radar. So being in a locked room would provide them with the ideal environment.
It is not a good idea to let your cat roam about if it isn’t feeling well to prevent your cat from further injuring itself.
Time-Out For Your Cat
Cats are said to have the intelligence of a two-year-old kid which means like children, they can be up to no good at times.
Being very curious creatures, they can get themselves into trouble like knocking things over, trying to eat your pet goldfish, shredding the toilet paper to bits or being aggressive towards another pet or family member.
And like kids, they need some form of discipline if done something wrong to prevent matters from getting out of hand.
You can’t send your cat to its room but you can have a time-out zone for your cat.
One thing to be clear about is giving your cat a time-out isn’t a punishment. You don’t shout and scream at your cat before throwing him roughly in the basement.
A time-out is a period for your cat to reset itself and be away from any form of external stimuli. This allows the cat to calm down and decompress.
The Proper Way Of Giving Your Cat A Time Out
The right way of giving your cat a time out is to firmly tell it “No!” when it does something bad and carry it to a room or bathroom to be alone.
Let the cat be alone in the room for five to ten minutes to calm down. Don’t be too disturbed by the cat meowing non-stop or scratching at the door to get out.
It is just a matter of time before most cats will start to relax.
Once your cat has calmed down, you can open the door to let it out.
This time out session signals to the cat that what it has done is not acceptable and it won’t be getting any attention or rewards for such a behavior.
Giving your cat a time out as a disciplinary method isn’t the be-all and end-all of cat training. I usually prefer to manage bad behavior by redirecting them to something else like a scratching post or interactive cat toys.
When Is it Not Ok To Lock Your Cat In A Room?
When you are going to leave your cat unsupervised for many hours locked in a room. Leaving your cat unattended for hours on end isn’t healthy for your cat.
I understand that many cat owners are working professionals. But locking your cat for 8-10 hours a day until you are home will leave your cat feeling very stressed and neglected.
Most cats don’t like being locked up in a room for extended periods of time. It is in a cat’s nature to want to roam like how they do in the wild. Cats can cover many miles in a single night.
Being locked up in the room will cause your cat to panic. They can be meowing and scratching at the door for hours wanting to get out.
Preparing The Room For Your Cat
In the event that you need to lock your cat in one room for a couple of hours, please make sure that you have all the necessities prepared.
You just can’t leave the cat there without anything and expect it to be ok.
Here are the items that you will need:
- Litter box
- Cat litter
- Cat food and water
- Cat tree
- Cat bed
- Cat toys
As you can see, you will need to turn the room into your cat’s own private suite and for good reason. You don’t want your cat to be locked in a room without any food and water for so long. And you certainly don’t want your cat pooing or peeing on the floor.
Although cats prefer to be outside, having all the necessities in one room will make it feel more comfortable and assured.
You can also install a baby cam in the room to visually monitor the cat to make sure it isn’t turning into a furball of distress.
Having a baby cam that allows you to speak can calm your cat down when it hears your voice.
Do Cats Get Mad If You Lock Them In A Room?
Your cat will be more upset and stressed out if it was locked in a room. They make seem that there are mad from the constant loud meowing and scratching of the door. But it is usually a sign of feeling distressed and helpless.
Can I Leave My Cat Alone Overnight?
No, it is definitely not ok to leave your cat alone overnight. Cats should not be left for so long unsupervised as they can suffer from separation anxiety. In the unfortunate event that you do need to leave your cat for the night, please have a friend, relative or pet sitter look after your cat while you are gone.
If you can’t find anyone, there are 24 hours pet hotels or boarding centres that can look after your cat while you are gone.
Can I Lock My Cat Out Of My Room At Night?
I know of many cat owners that can’t have a good night’s sleep because of their cat. Their cats will be trying to get into their rooms or even jump on and slap them in the face to wake them up.
This is due to the difference in circadian rhythm between humans and cats. They are active when we are sleeping and that can create problems.
Some owners bear with it while others will lock their cats up in another room.
If your cat is too disruptive at night, you can train your cat to be comfortable being alone in its own room.
There was a period of time when my cat just wanted to enter my room at night not to sleep but he kept walking around on my bed. That kept me up for a month before I had to keep him to his own room at night.
Took a few weeks of training but it did both of us some good.
It will take time and effort before your cat is able to settle down in the room without waking up the entire neighborhood.
There’s not much of a choice as you can’t compromise your health and sleep just because your cat wants to play at 3.30am every morning.
Should You Lock Your Cat Up At Night?
Locking your cat up for the night isn’t a good idea unless it is done for health reasons. If you want to confine your cat to a room after a major surgery then that would be fine. Keeping your cat in a room can prevent it from moving around too much. But do not lock your cat up for behavioral reasons as they will further traumatize your cat.
What Happens When You Lock Your Cat In A Room?
It largely depends on how long you need to lock your cat up. If it is just for a short period of time, your cat will be fine. Please do not lock your cat up in a room for extended periods as that will cause your cat to be very stressed and affect its health.
I understand that locking your cat in a room isn’t the best choice but it can be necessary at times. It is something that should only be used as a last resort.
My cat had many behavioral problems when I first adopted him from the shelter but I managed to correct those unwanted behavior without having to lock him in a room for long periods of time.
Don’t forget to provide all the necessary items for your cat if you do need to keep it isolated in the room.