How to Train Your Cat to Use a Cat Flap
Some cats will seize upon any opportunity to escape the house whilst others may need more encouragement.
Many cats are bold and inventive and will soon earn to use their cat flaps. Timid cats may fear anything with which they are not familiar.
Whatever the nature of your animal, with a little patience, it will be possible to train them to use their very own back door.
Cat Flaps will give your fury friend the freedom they need and will make life much easier for you. You won’t have to leap up to let the cat out in the middle of your favourite TV Programme and when you are out, the cat can come and go as it pleases. The cat flap should also mean that you don’t need to provide a litter tray.
Introducing a cat flap
Your cat may be wary of the cat flap initially so begin by gently moving them close to it so they can familiarise themselves with this strange plastic contraption. Keep petting them and they will feel reassured. Prop the door open so they can see and sense the outside world beyond.
Then stand outside and encourage your cat to pass through the hole by offering a treat. They may jump through it of their own accord but if they don’t attempt an exit then return indoors, take hold of them and pass them through yourself. It helps if you have someone else to stand outside and welcome them with a treat.
You can then pass them back through the flap and into the house to show them that they can safely return. Repeat the process a few times so that your cat becomes used to the hole and continue to reward them.
A minority of cats may be so timid that they put up a serious fight and it becomes impossible to pass them through the hole without risking hurting them or being attacked yourself. In this case try to familiarise the cat with the flap over a period of hours or days by leaving treats and toys close to it. You can also let the cat watch you pass toys through the flap.
Once your cat is comfortable with the open hole, close the flap and present the cat’s head or paws to it and gently push against it. In this way the animal learns that the door will open for them. They should soon acquire the knack of pushing the door. The flap will make a noise as it opens and closes and this may startle some cats. You can acclimatise them to the noise by keeping them close to the flap and then opening and closing it yourself.
The Final Hurdle
After a period of training, walk away and bide your time. Curiosity will almost always lead even the most timid cat to start experimenting with the flap. If you have other cats then it is also good to let the trainee see them use the flap. This will show them how it done and put their minds at ease.
It is a fabulous moment when you hear the door flapping for the first time and you realise that your cat has it all worked out.