Source: San Antonio Express News (Extract)
Posted: June 15, 2023

Recently, I volunteered for an afternoon at a San Antonio high-volume spay-neuter clinic. These clinics need volunteers to wash, clean and pack surgical packs, do laundry, clean kennels, and even watch pets after their spay-neuter surgeries.

On this particular day, I helped move cats waking up from recovery back into their crates. One of the challenges with cat recovery is that they can sometimes wake up more quickly than dogs. This is because they are under anesthesia for shorter periods than dogs, especially male cats whose surgery takes less time in comparison. So, the recovery veterinary technician keeps a cat’s crate close by and watches for the cat’s slightest movement so they can secure him in his crate before becoming fully awake.

Fortunately, waking up from anesthesia means they are moving much more slowly. On rare occasions though, a cat may go from 0 to 60 in just a few seconds. This would not usually be a challenge because the vet tech is trained to be ready for a suddenly alert cat. But I noticed something that was making this task 10 times more difficult that day.

Most of the cat crates were way too small for these full-grown felines. I mean like their bodies were up against the sidewalls and they couldn’t stand up or turn around. One crate was so tiny and cheaply made that the plastic doors kept falling off because the cat had to keep his feet up against the door to fit into the crate. This worried the staff, who felt the doors could fall off at any moment, including when taking the cat home. And, it’s certainly not fair to the cat.

My guess is, people had purchased crates for their kittens and never replaced them with larger crates when their cats grew up.

I am sure many people don’t think about this because once a kitten has their shots, they don’t take their cat to a vet again until the cat is an adult.

A dog and cat crate should be large enough for the pet to stand up and turn completely around. And they should be able to stretch out and lay in the crate without their body parts pushing up against or through a door or sidewall. If your hands can’t go through the door while holding the cat, it’s also too small.

A crate that is too small can present challenges for a vet’s staff and make it unsafe and uncomfortable for the cat. Replace it with a new one or a gently used one that accommodates your cat’s new size.

Puppies and kittens can quickly outgrow their collars, too. Check your growing pet’s collar every few days. You should be able to get two fingers (side by side) between the pet’s neck and the collar. Any tighter than this, adjust the collar or buy a new one.