7 Tips to Keep Cats from Dashing Out the Door

Posted on November 20, 2015 under Cat Training and Behavior

A dog sits.

By Arden Moore, a dog and cat behavior expert and author of 26 best-selling pet books. She hosts the Oh Behave Show on Pet Life Radio and is a writer for Pets Best, a dog insurance and cat insurance agency.

Raise your hand in frustration if you have experienced this scenario even once: As you enter or leave your house, your cat seems to emerge from nowhere and attempts to dash out the door before you can block his path.

Even one successful dash escape can expose your indoor cat to outdoor dangers, such as vehicles and other animals. Your first strategy is to think like a cat. Ask yourself, what makes your indoor cat feel the need to prowl outside? It may be that he sees, smells, and hears other cats roaming the neighborhood. Or, he just may be curious. There is also a chance that your cat, if adopted from a shelter or rescue group, may have spent his kitten hood as an outdoor young stray and misses the outdoors.

It is important to invest the time to break your cat of his dangerous habit of trying to bolt out of any door opened to the outside.

Here are seven tactics to diminish your cat’s scooting-out-an-opened door tendencies:

1. You need to make the doorway an unfriendly place for your cat. Place squirt bottles filled with water on either side of the exit door. Aim low and squirt your charging cat in the chest area with water spray. It should catch him off guard to not want to stand so close to the door anymore.

2. You can also fill an empty soda can with a few pennies and tape the lid shut. Rattle this noise maker when entering or exiting through the door to irritate your cat enough to make him back away. Say, “back!” in a loud, firm voice.

3. Consider tossing your cat a favorite treat or toy away from the door just as you prepare to leave. This distraction technique taps into your cat’s inner hunter mindset.

4. Practice the art of the compromise. Consider satisfying your cat’s need to experience the outdoors by installing a window enclosure. Make this location feline-beckoning with a comfy bed. Select a location far away from the entry door.

5.Provide your cat opportunities to spend time outside in a feline enclosure on your patio or backyard. Never leave your cat alone unsupervised in this outdoor enclosure.

6. If you are fortunate to have a few doors to enter-leave your home, randomly choose different doors to come and go. Your cat cannot lay in wait at three different doorways.

7. Play it extra safe. Post bright neon colored signs reminding all people entering and leaving the house to stop and look for signs of your daring cat before reaching for the door knob.

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