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Is Keeping A Cat In A Playpen Cruel? (3 Reasons)

26If you are interested in a cat playpen you may be wondering if it is cruel to keep them in there and if there are some legitimate reasons for this…

Is keeping a cat in a playpen cruel?

Keeping your cat in a playpen is not cruel if there a temporary reason for it. For example, outdoor play for a nervous indoor cat, keeping your cat safe while traveling, segregating two newly introduced cats, etc. However, if you leave the cat in the playpen, or cage for long periods of time, then I would class this as cruel.

Quick Comparison of Cat Playpen & Cages:

Cat Playpens Images My Rating
01. Prevue Playpen Cage (Best Option)
Click here for the price on Amazon
 5 stars
02. Iris Pet Cage
Click here for the price on Amazon
03. ProSelect Foldable Cat Cage
Click here for the price on Amazon
 4 stars
04. MidWest Homes Cat Playpen
Click here for the price on Amazon
 4 stars
05. Yescom Large Pets Cage
Click here for the price on Amazon
 3.5 stars

So, now you know. But, what other reasons could there be to keep them in a playpen? Could you use it to give your cat a timeout, as a way of discipline? What is the best cat playpen or cage? Keep reading for these answers, and much more…

3 reasons why you might keep your cat in a playpen:

As discussed briefly earlier, there are several reasons why you may consider putting your cat into a playpen. Here is some more details:

01. Outdoor play

If you have a nervous indoor cat that is curious about being outdoors, rather than risking them outdoors right away a playpen might be the best option for them to get a taste of the outdoors. This can be as simple as placing it outside in your back garden.

02. New Introductions

When you are introducing two cats there is a chance they may not get along. So, one method that other cat owners have used is a playpen to keep them physically separate, but able to see each other.

This way they can monitor how they react to each other and understand if there is a chance of any hostility. if not, they can be gradually placed together without the playpen.

03. While traveling

If you are traveling with your cat you may need something to put them in when you get to your temporary location. This is not always convenient due to its weight. But, an option never the less.

Is it OK to keep cats in a cage?

It is OK to keep cats in a cage for a short time, for a specific reason. But keeping them in there for a long time would be quite cruel. These cages are often used with feral cats as a temporary holding place until they are comfortable and safe to move into a domestic home.

Can you put your cat in timeout?

Some cat owners do use timeouts with cats. And, sometimes they use a playpen or cage temporarily to hold them. The idea is to give them maybe 10-15 minutes away from you to reflect on their bad behavior.

This method has mixed results depending on the cat. Some cats will come out acting better, others will be frustrated and acting worse.

What is the point of a cat playpen?

I don’t know about you, but I always dreamed about a treehouse. A place where I could hide away and have as my own, fast forward to today and I can see the modern-day equivalent in cat playpens, not cat tree shelves, but actual playpens that they can go crazy in.

A cat playpen can help secure your pet, even more than an electric cat wireless fence,  and protect your household items. While you are sleeping or working, these cages offer your pet comfort and secure containment. Let’s look more closely at these enclosures and then review five products, one of which might be “purr-fect” for you, get it? 😉

What Is A Cat Playpen Cage?

A cat playpen is a type of construction that can be used to confine one or more cats for a period of time. These structures can be either permanent or temporary in design. These items come in a variety of shapes and sizes, usually dictated by circumstances such as the room that is available or the number of cats.

Is There A Difference Between A Cat Playpen And A Cat Cage?

A playpen has more room than a cage usually does. Often, a playpen will have more than one level and will include extra features. A cat playpen is designed to offer more comforts than a cage.

A cat cage is usually smaller than a playpen. Cat cages are often designed to transport your cat from one location to another or as a temporary confinement when moving, for example. You may end up using a cat cage to quarantine a new cat or one that is sick.

An example of this would be “crate rest” after surgery, as highlighted in this veterinarian-reviewed article on VetStreet.com.

Is There A Difference Between A Cat Playpen And A Cat Enclosure?

A cat playpen is often associated with an indoor location, while a cat enclosure is most often associated with an outdoor structure. When used outdoors, these playpens help to prevent your cat from chasing prey (such as birds or mice) or from escaping your yard. They can also be used to provide defense from predators, including coyotes or even a neighbor’s dog.

As Julia Wilson talks about in her article on indoor vs. outdoor cats at Cat-World, these enclosures may be the best solution when you wish to offer your kitty the best of both worlds in a safe way.

What Are Cat Playpens Made Out Of?

Some owners will build a playpen from scratch, using materials such as fencing, PVC plastics, and wood. This can be time-consuming and may present hazards for your furry friend in the form of sharp fencing materials or sharp nails and screws. Building a proper playpen may cost surprisingly more than you realize.

There are many prefabricated products available on the market. There are many sizes and styles available and are much easier to set up. A video demonstrating how easy a pre-made cat playpen is to set up can be viewed here:

Isn’t Confining A Cat Cruel?

Many people believe that keeping a cat indoors is cruel in itself, but as Dr. Melissa Bain and her veterinary students point out, there are many positives to keeping your cat indoors. Diseases, parasites, poisons, and trapping are just a few of the hazards that outdoor cats face. Also, many of the negative activities that cats display indoors can be modified or trained away fairly easily.

As the author on PetHelpful.com points out, there are many justifiable reasons to enclose a cat, even if it is indoors. Breeding, training (including litter box training), and quarantining are just a few of the reasons you may need to confine your cat. Cat playpens also provide a safe area for your pet when you need to keep doors open for any periods of time or when you need to keep them away from furniture or other items while you are away from home.

What Should You Look For In A Cat Playpen?

Size – The amount of room that your cat will have in the playpen is probably the most important feature to look for. An ideal minimum amount of room would be 24-inches by 36-inches, with 24-inches in height. This will give your cat room enough for itself as well as food, toys, and water.

Multiple Levels – A playpen with two or more levels offers more room, and is a necessity for more than one cat. The extra level, or perches, allows your pet to take advantage of heights that cats enjoy. This type of set-up also allows you to place their food, litter box, and water on one level and still give them room to play and rest.

Sturdiness – A solid design can help to ensure the safety of your cat while it is enclosed. This is especially true of playpens that are multi-level. A sturdy design will also keep your cat contained and not let them break out easily.

Other considerations when looking into a playpen include construction materials, latch integrity, and bonus accessories.

My Best Choice Cat Playpens

01. Prevue Playpen Cage (Best Option)

This Prevue Playpen Cage (Click here for the price on Amazon) aluminum playpen is heavy-duty in feel, and measures 43.25L x 25.25W x 63.75H in inches. The side-by-side door setup allows for easy access, which is a great feature when trying to get a larger cat in or out of the playpen.


  • The “paw-friendly” design is a great feature, as it prevents gaps or pinching points along the cage that your cat’s leg or paw could get stuck in.
  • The two lockable platforms and two hammocks offer plenty of space for multiple cats within the playpen.
  • The aluminum channel construction is rust-resistant and feels sturdy when it is fully assembled.


  • The latch design could be improved. You may find that you need to double-check that the door is secure.
  • The wheels could present a problem if you are rolling the unit on a carpet, as they may snag while you move it.
  • The bottom pan does not detach, which will make cleaning more of a challenge than with some of the other playpens available.

02. Iris Pet Cage

This Iris Pet Cage (Click here for the price on Amazon) powder coated wire cage has a compact footprint of 24.80L x 36.61W x 70.08H in inches. The extra height accommodates two perches as well as the base plate. Two-wheel stoppers help to prevent the playpen from moving.


  • There are six wheels casters on this product, which is a great feature if you want to move the cage around a lot.
  • The smaller length and width of this playpen would make it ideal for a single cat in an apartment or room with limited space.
  • There are three doors, one on each level, that can make accessing the interior of the cage easier.


  • This product may not be ideal for larger cats that weigh, as there is a maximum weight limit of 10-pounds.
  • The smaller footprint in length and width does not offer as much room as many other multiple-level playpens.
  • The height between the platforms may make this a more difficult jump for kittens who will need to grow to use the perches.

03. ProSelect Foldable Cat Cages

This ProSelect foldable cat cage (Click here for the price on Amazon) comes in two powder coated wire gauges (8 and 12). The product measures 35.5L x 22.25W x 48H in inches, which offers a smaller footprint for apartments or houses that are short on room. This unit can be used for multiple cats but would be ideal for a single pet.


  • The four-wheel casters are removable. This feature offers you the ability to move the playpen around or have it less capable of moving once positioned.
  • The bottom of the wire cage extends past the bottom tray, which is a nice feature that prevents legs and paws from getting underneath.
  • The three plastic perches can be moved around which will give you a variety of set-ups.


  • The bottom tray is made of plastic, and I feel it could benefit from an upgrade to durability and strength.
  • The two perches that are included might take some work to set into place and may bend under the weight of larger cats.
  • With the set-up and fold-up design of this playpen, I feel that it may be more difficult for a single individual.

04. MidWest Homes Cat Playpen

This MidWest Homes Cat Playpen (Click here for the price on Amazon) metal wire playpen measures 36L x 23.5W x 50.5H in inches. It includes wheel casters for easy movement and a one-year warranty.


  • The leak-proof ABS plastic pan can be removed for easy cleaning. This feature is nice when you will need to clean up spills.
  • The multiple swing doors open up on two levels, and the size should make it easier to get your cats in and out of.
  • The three resting benches are adjustable, a great feature to vary the setup.


  • The fold-down design may make this cat playpen more difficult to set up at first. I found that the process of setting the cage up was not as intuitive as it was first thought to be.
  • The gauged wire design offers many smaller gaps when it is built-up. This could be an issue with smaller kittens, as their legs and/or paws may slide into these spaces easily.
  • When built-up, the playpen did not feel as sturdy as some of the other models. This might only become an issue if used with larger cats.

05. Yescom Large Pets Cage

The Yescom large pets cage (Click here for the price on Amazon) is made from a metal frame that combines rectangular tubes with metal wires to form a mesh. This cage measures 35.40L x 22W x 51H in inches. It is equipped with two wire metal doors as well as four caster wheels for easier mobility when moving the cage around.


  • This playpen comes with ladders, which is a great feature for cats who may have issues with jumping.
  • A slide-out plastic tray is great for when you need to remove it for easy access and cleaning of the surface.
  • Rectangular metal tubes offer a more sturdy design for the cat playpen’s frame.


  • The ladders do take up some room in the playpen, which can make the unit feel “congested” from the start.
  • The two perches are a bit narrow in our estimation, which may require your cat to stretch out completely to enjoy a snooze.
  • The hammock needs to be adjusted so that your cat can climb into it more easily, which will limit room along with the top perch.

My Conclusion

After looking at the five cat playpens reviewed above, I felt that the Prevue playpen cage (Click here for the price on Amazon) stands out from the others. The product offers ample length and width for movement within the cage, and a height that is over five-feet is a bonus. The aluminum construction feels sturdy when the cage is fully assembled.

The lockable platforms and hammocks offer are only outdone by the paw-friendly design that I love. I hope is that you will try it, as I am sure you and your cats will love it!

Lindsey Browlingdon