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How to train your cat to use a cat door

cat playful

If you have a cat that goes outside, then you know about the inconvenience of being their personal door attendant; a cat door can free you both up. There are many cat doors to choose from; examples include the Microchip Cat Door that only opens when a cat with a paired *microchip or collar key walks up to the door and the 4-Way Locking Big Cat Door for cats up to 25 lb. But regardless of which type of cat door you choose, you’ll still need to train your cat how to use it.

Start with the right size

The first thing you’ll want to do is make sure you choose the correct size door so that your cat feels comfortable passing through it. You can figure out the right door size in 3 easy steps.

1: MEASURE WIDTH:

Measure the widest part of your cat, the chest or hips. Add one or two inches.

2: MEASURE HEIGHT:

Measure your cat from the top of the shoulders to the bottom of the chest or belly; use the tallest part. Add one or two inches.

3: SELECT THE SIZE

Based on your cat’s width and height, you can find a chart to help you choose the right size door on the product packaging or on the cat door listings at the links mentioned above.

cat and cat door

Easy steps for successful cat door training

Not all cats are the same. Some will figure out how to use a cat door quickly, while others will take more time. Don’t try to do too much, or you’ll both get frustrated. Two spaced-out 10-minute training sessions a day should be fine.

Start by taping the door flap all the way open

This way, your cat will have a clear view of how to go through the passage.

  • Introduce your cat to the door by putting your hand through it so they can see how it works
  • Let your cat look through the opening so that they see that it leads outside
  • Entice your cat to go through the passageway with some treats or their favorite toy
  • Reward your cat with praise, perhaps another treat and depending on their personality, a cuddle

Teach your cat to go through with the flap down

Some cat doors make a noise when the flap opens and closes. To avoid alarming more skittish cats, let them hear you manually shut the flap slowly to help them become familiar with the sound it makes.

Now you’re ready to gradually lower the cat door flap. You can use tape and string to adjust the height, so your cat has to partially push the flap out of the way to get through.

As your cat gets more comfortable, you can keep lowering the flap and repeat the process until it is completely closed and your cat pushes through to use the door.

cat and cat door

Patience is a plus for cat door training

Not all cats learn at the same speed, so don’t raise your voice or get frustrated if they don’t learn quickly. Also, don’t push your cat through the door. That will only lead to a negative association with it.

Some cats need to use the door several times to get used to it. However, with a bit of practice and patience, your cat will learn how to use their door to enjoy more outdoor adventures, and you’ll be free from being their door attendant.

* This cat door works with 15-digit microchip numbers and can read all FDX-B, 977 and 985 microchips.

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