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Welcome, Crazy Cat People!
Cats are extremely clever and also naturally very curious so you may find yourself asking ”Can cats open doors?” You may be asking this question after coming home from work and all your doors in the home being mysteriously open.
I used my knowledge of cats and my research to answer your question and some other related questions you may have around the subject of cats and doors.
In general, most cats can learn to open doors very easily. Cats are very intelligent, curious animals that learn to open closed doors by observing how humans open them and learning to do it themselves. Some people even train cats from a young age to open doors by using training clickers.
Later in this post, we look at how cats really feel about closed doors and how to deal with problem behaviour such as crying at closed doors and how we can train them from opening doors when we don’t want them to.
So keep reading to find out more.
Can cats open closed doors? – (A detailed look and facebook poll)
As stated above most cats will find it very easy to learn to open doors around the home. In the same way that most cats can learn how to open cupboards and get into the most unusual of places!
I looked at some popular cat forums online and found that most cat owners said that their cats would find a way to open doors in the home by standing up and pulling down the handle and some even said that their cats learned how to open doors with knobs on (Although this is much more tricky)
To demonstrate the determination a cat has to get inside any space they so wish, see the quote below from someone on that forum!
She opens drawers and cabinets in the kitchen. I woke up one morning and they were ALL opened. I thought I was being haunted until I saw her sound asleep in one of them!!!Annonymous
In a nutshell, cats are super intelligent animals and they are very curious, with a cat if you tell them they can’t go somewhere they will more than likely be even more tempted to want to see what’s inside.
It’s not just cats who have this instinctive nature, I mean when you think of a young child, for example, you can tell them not to eat those sweets but when you turn your back and go out of the room the child will most probably take a sweetie or two or three out of that bag.
We have all been there, we like the idea of what we are not supposed to be doing!
In a cats mind if there is a will there is a way and you won’t find an animal as insistent to get what they want as a cat!
They know that at the other side of that door is something they want and remember the cat is the lord of the house and they are super territorial which means that they want to be able to have free run of their surroundings to protect but also to hunt!
What did the people of Facebook have to say?
So I did a poll to find out the percentage of cats that open doors and how many were not too bothered.
The results are below.
|My cat opens doors||My cat doesn’t open doors|
75% of people said their cats can open doors! This just shows how intelligent felines really are!
To demonstrate this fact one person even said,
”My cat opens and slams the cupboard door several times to get my attention for treats”Annonymous
Check out the clever cats below on youtube!
Are cats scared of closed doors?
In general, most cats are not scared of closed doors but they are naturally curious and their territorial nature means they want to be able to explore their domain at all times. They may also smell or hear something behind the door that they want to investigate or they may just want to be with their owner.
Curiosity killed the cat!
We have all heard that saying and door opening shows just how curious and determined they really are.
Some breeds of cats just want to be with you at all times. Contrary to what some people say cats are very sociable animals and some cats are very dependant on their owners.
Take the ragdoll cat and siamese for example they tend to follow their owners around everywhere you go and they HATE closed doors, they want to be by your side from the moment you wake up till the moment you go to sleep at night so a cat like this will do what they can to be snuggled up next to you.
I wrote a whole article that goes into why cats can be clingy, how to know if your cat loves you and how to deal with clingy behaviour if this does become a problem – the blog post is called ”Can cats become obsessed with their owners (you’re being watched) – Click here to read more!
A cat who is shut out of a room may also feel like they have lost control of their territory and some cats may experience anxiety when they are not able to explore, so to conclude yes some cats may be scared of closed doors but 9 times out of 10 it’s due to their inquisitive nature and need to know what is in their territory.
For all, they know there could be a juicy mouse behind that door and they could be missing out!
Can you train a cat to open doors?
In general, most cats can be trained to open doors themselves due to their intelligent nature. It is very unlikely owners would want to train them to do this but if they need to it is possible with clicker training, using a target stick, positive reinforcement and reward.
Items I recommend for training your cat
You will need a clicker for the training and I recommend the one below from amazon
You will also need a target stick so why not get one with an integrated clicker?
How to train a cat to open doors
- The first thing we need to do is use a clicker and build up a positive association between the clicking sound and recieving a treat.
So every time you make the clicking sound, offer them a treat, repeat around five times and then take a break. Do this several times a day for a few days.
Then after a few days of doing this, make the clicking sound and the cat should look around and come over to you and there you go, you have built up an association with the clicker and the thought of receiving a yummy treat!
2. Next take the target stick, what you need to do now is train your cat to follow the target stick and the way we do this is by waving the stick in front of the cat and when they look at the stick, use the clicker and offer a treat and then when they move closer to the stick and come over to investigate you can then offer another click and another treat.
See what we’re doing here? Building up an association with following the stick and giving a reward!
3. Now it’s time to associate with a reward when your cat touches the stick with its nose!
To do this offer out the stick and when your cat sniffs the end say the word ”tap” use the clicker and offer a treat. Again repeat this several times in short sessions over a few days. The goal, in the end, is whenever your cat sees the stick and you say ”tap” they will come to touch it with their nose.
4. Find a door with an easy to use handle and wave the target stick over the door handle and say the word ”tap”, when your cat comes over to the door and puts its paws on the handle you can then click and offer a treat!
Do this regularly and then only reward when you see your cat trying to open the door. You may wish to hold your cat and show them how to do this with their paw.
Eventually, all the hard work you have put in previously will be worth it as your cat begins to associate opening the door with a treat!
5. When your cat is confidently opening the door, you may wish to test this by closing the door and being at the other side.
Use the clicker and then when your cat successfully opens the door and comes to you then you can give them a treat and a big hug for being such a good kitty!
There we go! It may take time and persistence but you can train your cat to open doors if you so wish.
What if for some reason you don’t want your cat to open doors? We explore ways in which we can prevent the door opening in the next section.
How to stop cats opening doors?
There are times when you may not want your cat opening doors and I understand that, you may want to get a good nights sleep or you may want some ”special” time with your significant other.
My two cats have known from a very young age that they are not allowed in the bedroom with me at night time and the reason I don’t allow this is because I am a very light sleeper and even the slightest of sounds at night can wake me up and it can take me so long to get back to sleep.
Especially if your cats decide to do acrobats in the middle of the night and run around from room to room!
Zoomies we like to call them!
If you can make sure you enforce these rules from when your cats are young as it can be harder to train them as they are getting older and if you try to close them out of the room your cat may begin to scratch the door and meow at night time.
If however, you have an older cat you can still teach them to get used to being closed out the room when you want to close the door.
This is going to take persistence and it’s important to be patient with your cat along the way.
How to train your cat to not open doors
- Ignore any attention-seeking behaviour, you don’t want to give in to any of this behaviour as you will teach your cat that they get rewarded by scratching the door and meowing.
- NEVER EVER use force or shout in a hurtful way to your cat, you will lose all the trust you have gained with them.
- Spraying lightly with a water bottle is okay.
- Provide lots of toys in the room your cat will be spending time in so they are happy and not bored.
- Change the door handles to doorknobs which are harder for cats to open.
- Spray around the door handle with citrus spray as cats HATE the smell of this and will not want to go near the door handle.
- Place a weight behind the door so your cat can’t open it.
- Place double sided tape on the door so your cat will not scratch it.
You can find cat training tape on amazon! This tape can also be used on sofas and other areas you don’t want your cat to scratch Click here to take a look.
You can also get cat repellant spray to spray on the door handle by clicking here.
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These boxes are full of treats, toys and surprises! I Guarantee you will be more excited than the cat! 🙂
As always take care of yourself and your little Kitty Cats
Mark (The Crazy Cat Man)