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Help A Cat Use A Cat Flap For The First Time

 by jaime on 13 Aug 2014 |
1 Comment(s)
Introducing your cat or kitten to a cat flap can be a very perplexing experience for them, and for you.

But it doesn't have to be this way!

Some cats will need no training on how to use a flap, however, for many cats that is not the case - so your intervention will be required.

There are a variety of approaches you can try in order to teach your cat the beauty of using their very own door, where the world becomes their oyster! And once they know how, they'll be ever so happy they learnt!

There is no right or wrong way to teach your cat how to use a cat flap, but the following offers some great advice and ideas on how to achieve a kitty that walks in and out of their cat flap with ease…
  • To begin, you can either introduce your cat to the flap with it either already into position or just by holding it somewhere else in your house your cat feels comfortable.
  • Generally the best thing to do is to start with the flap completely open. At this point you just want your cat to get used to the door and the idea of going through it. You can either tape the door open, hold it open with your hands, or ask someone to hold it for you.
  • Next, you need to encourage your cat to go through the door and show them that it is a positive experience. You can do this by placing treats or hovering their favourite toys by the opening so they are likely to approach it and investigate. If they successfully approach the door, don't forget to let them eat the treat or have a play as a reward. This includes any form of interest, even if it's just a polite sniff!

Now you are ready to teach your cat to go through the door. At this point, keep the flap completely open.
  • You can place some treats or toys on the other side of the door to encourage your cat to step through.
  • Alternatively, you can 'box' your cat in, making going through the door their only option.
  • Otherwise, you can try and toss treats through the opening and wave toys in and out of the opening to entice your kitty through.

  • Remember any progress should be rewarded!

    Once your cat has mastered going through the door, you will need to teach them to come back through. This would be a good time to now have the cat flap in its desired position. Surprisingly, many cats can get through the door fine, especially when it leads to the garden, but getting them to come back inside can be a challenge.
    • Stand with your cat outside and make sure you get their attention. Make sure they watch you as your push more treats or toys through the door on to the floor on the other side.
    • Otherwise it is a good idea to teach your cat the 'recall' command so once they have gone through the door you can call them to come back through it.
    • Once your cat has mastered going in and out of the door, you can move onto the next stage, where you begin to lower the door, little by little - always praising your cat for positive attempts until the flap is completely closed. Hopefully at this stage, your cat won't have any trouble and will be able to figure out a method that's best for them to manoeuvre opening the flap.
    • If your cat is struggling with a flap that is completely closed you could keep a tiny bit of it open so they are able to see an opening.
    • If you have a bit of a fusspot, who knows how to open the door, but just doesn't want to - you will have to learn to walk away from the door and your wailing cat. It may be difficult at first, but they will soon realise they won't be rewarded for being lazy!
    • Another great tip is to get your cat used to the sound of the flap opening and closing, which can bother some sensitive cats. Remember to reward them anytime they remain happy and unmoved by the sound of the flap.

    Hopefully by then you'll have a kitty who loves using their cat flap and the freedom that comes with it.

    Feature image credit



Guy  - Comment
Guy 16 Aug 2014Reply
Use a piece of soft screen material first that's light weight and they can see through. They've been looking through the screen door and know what that is. It works great and my kitties can run in and out and not hit there head.
Petbucket - Comment
Petbucket16 Aug 2014Reply
Thanks for that great tip, Guy!

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