Most of the cats run away outdoors, in spite of having all the means of entertainment inside the house. They quickly learn from other pets to use the pet door. Meanwhile, there are a few cats who would not pass through the cat door, no matter what efforts you put. Some might irritate you extremely by sitting just beside the cat door, keep meowing and not crossing the flap.
For such feline friends, we need to follow a few methods to train them on how to use the cat door. Training your cat to use the cat door is not that easy and requires a lot of patience.
Reasons Why a Cat is Not Using the Cat Door
You have a cat door installed and you want your cat to use it and explore the yard. But the problem is that your cat doesn’t want to use the cat door. So what could be the possible reason?
- Yours is a small kitty and has never used the cat door earlier
- Your cat is too old to do more activities and is not able to push the flap
- Your cat is scared of the flap’s noise
- Your cat doesn’t know how to use it
Let us check out what methods to follow to train a cat using her door.
Teach Your Cat to Use the Cat-door
To train your cat to use cat door you should use a step by step approach rather than hurrying. Never scold your cat to do a task. Using the cat-door should be an enjoyable process for her. Also, You must get the best cat doors available in the market. Train her patiently by following these steps:
Step 1: Prop Open the Cat Door Flap
Prop the flap open or you may also remove it temporarily and allow the cat to pass through it. If she doesn’t pass, do not become impatient. Just let her watch the world outside the house from the cat door.
You may cover the door with a cloth, partially, which will not just allow your cat to see the yard outside but will also help her pushing the cloth out with ease.
Step 2: Give Your Cat Tasty Treats and Rewards
Keep the door-flaps open and offer your cat tasty snacks just outside the cat door. This is one of the best ways to bring your cat out. Your hungry little furball will definitely try to cross the door to get the treat.
Step 3: Make it a fun activity for your cat to use the cat door
In addition to giving her snacks, you may give her other rewards too. Appreciate your cat whenever she passes through the door by saying “Well done kitty” or something similar. Pat the cat, cuddle her and play with her, every time she uses the door. Give her toys to play and make her overall experience a fun activity. She will understand that if she uses the cat door, she will get lots of love and rewards.
Step 4: Its Time to Push the Flap
Try offering snacks and rewards with a partially open flap while training her to push it. Gradually, close the flap completely and pass your hand through the flap, offering your kitty her favorite snack. It will teach her that the flap opens like this and she will push the flap to get her reward.
Step 5: Repeat! Repeat! Repeat! Until the Cat Learns
Repeat the process for a week or two until your cat learns to push the flap. Do not use your main door to take the cat outside while you are training her. She should have no access to the yard until she doesn’t cross the cat door.
Step 6: Do Not Force Your Cat
Do not shove your cat to pass through the cat flap. This will scare her more and she might never use it again. Rather, let her take time to get comfortable with the door and understand how to operate it for accessing the outdoors.
Other Useful Tips
Where the above-mentioned tips work for most of the cat owners, you should also take into account a few others to make your cat using a cat door.
Install a Cat Door That Best Suits Your Cat
Either you own cats or you have other pets, you should always consider a pet door that is convenient for all your pets to use. Size does matter. Too small a door might hurt your cat while squeezing out through it. Check the dimensions properly before purchasing and installing one.
Install the Cat Door at Proper Height
Install the cat door at a height where your cat can easily access. Too high or too low will make it difficult for your cat to operate. As a result, she will try to find an easy way out by using the original house door, which will again become a problem.
Remove the Magnets of a Magnetic Door
If you have a magnetic cat door it might be hard for your kitty to push it. Again, these doors make a noise when the flap closes, which could scare your cat away. If the pet door has removable magnets then detach the magnets for a couple of weeks while training your cat to use the cat door.
The flap will also become very easy to open after removing the magnets. Once she starts using the door regularly, you may attach the magnets back.
Be Patient While You Train Your Cat
Even if your cat doesn’t respond to any of the methods, do not worry. Be patient as you have to repeat these lessons at least for a couple of weeks. Do not overdo the training. 10 minutes twice a day is quite enough. Enticing your cat to use the cat door is the best way to train her. Do anything that your cat loves to encourage her crossing the flap.
Joseph was a full-time cat groomer at his own pet salon before he co-founded CatLovesBest with help of another co-founder – Clara. He has been doing cat grooming for more than 10 years. He co-founded this website not only because his interest was driven towards this field but he also has a wide knowledge in this field as well.
Although he has experience with many kinds of pets, large and small, cats are his true love, and he particularly enjoys writing about feline care and behavior.