Cats are known for squeezing into tight spaces, and are clever enough creatures that we might mistakenly assume that they will automatically know how to use a cat flap. However, it does take time to train your cat to use this special little door, especially if you have an adult cat who is used to having the door opened for them by humans!
If you are introducing a cat flap because you have just moved house, then you need to ensure your pet is already comfortable with its new surroundings. Forcing it out through the cat flap into a strange outdoor world is not going to do any good. And, even if you are installing a cat flap in your current home, it’s worth ensuring you have one with a transparent flap, like the Cat Mate cat flap range, so your pet can see what is on the other side.
The best way to start the training process is to keep the cat flap open – ideally taped up securely, so it will not close if knocked. Your cat may be curious about this new arrangement, but you will likely need to give it a good reason to go through it. Remember, patience is key; if you frighten your cat into using the cat flap it will very likely avoid it altogether.
Start feeding your cat close to the cat door. It may be the case that your cat gets comfortable with the presence of the flap, and will begin using it through curiosity alone. In many cases, though, your pet will need a little coaxing. Sit on the outer side of the cat flap, and call your cat. Entice it with food and treats. You might also want to try dragging a toy on a string through the cat flap to see if the kitty will follow. Once your cat uses the cat flap, make sure that you reward them.
Once your cat starts to use the entrance more regularly, start lowering the flap. It’s best to do this gradually to avoid any confusion. Eventually, let the flap close. Your cat should be keen enough to use this way of getting outside that it will simply push the door to get through. But you might still need to do some coaxing. It won’t be long before your pet will be able to get in and out of the house with confidence.
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