Cats may be aloof and stoic, but they are also highly intelligent animals. These curious furballs like to explore and push boundaries, and one of the things they can learn and master is the art of opening doors. While this may seem cute, it can be a nuisance if your cat learns to do this, as there are areas of the home that you may not want it to enter, such as the kitchen, bathroom or bedroom.
How to stop cats from opening doors
Keeping your cat indoors can keep her safe from speeding cars and large predators. It is also ideal to keep your cat away from certain areas like the basement, garage or pantry, to prevent accidents or ingestion of harmful materials.
To stop cats from opening doors, keep your doors open and close them only when necessary. Cats are less likely to be interested in getting through doors if there is no temptation of a closed one. You could also Install an external latch on your doors to outsmart your cat. This is made of adhesive plastic that can be stuck on the door, requiring you to press a button to unlock the latch.
Inspect your door handles and latches to check that they are in working order. Wooden doors can expand or contract due to changes in the weather, faulty knobs could become worn with age, and closing mechanisms may slip. All these issues could help cats to push or bump doors open. Replace defective handles and install latch hooks on doors.
Behavioral training for cats is also a good option, as this will teach your cat that it is unacceptable to jump up to open doors. Attach a bell or other noise-making item to the door handle, as loud noises never fail to scare cats. Once your cat hears the noise, there is a good chance she will try to avoid what made it.
You could use cat deterrents like lavender, peppermint and citrus-infused sprays. When cats smell them, they will generally avoid the area. Vinegar and coffee grounds are also effective at keeping cats away from doorways, although the smell could become an issue for some people. You can also try other deterrents like double-sided tape or plastic floor matting with the nubby side up.
Water bottles with pennies inside or a squirt gun may also be effective in preventing cats from opening doors. If you see your cat trying to get through a closed door, spray her or toss the bottle in her direction. Stay out of sight if you are using this method, so that she does not associate you with the actions.
Reasons cats open doors
1. They are curious creatures.
Everyone is familiar with the saying, “Curiosity killed the cat”. Felines are naturally curious and love to investigate and explore things. Cats open doors because they want to know what is on the other side and what is happening there. It makes them restless if they feel left out of things that could be happening, so they find ways to open doors and get to the other side.
2. They are social animals.
Cats are independent animals, but they also enjoy human interaction. If they are left alone in a room they tend to become lonely. They do not like being left out, and if they are bonded to their owners they may want to follow them around the house. Therefore, they may open doors to follow you and get your attention.
3. They are smart.
If you think cats are not observant of their surroundings, think again. These furballs have a sharp memory and remember details vividly. Their sharp eyes follow your every movement and observe your actions. They watch you as you open and close doors, and will try to mimic you once they become familiar with the process.
4. They are territorial.
Cats see your home as their territory and you as part of their pack. Because it is their territory, they want access to every nook and cranny. For them, a closed door is an obstruction that blocks access to their territory, so they will look for ways to open it.
5. They have superior senses.
Cats have superior senses that prompt them to investigate. If they hear any noise or smell something like cooked fish from another room, they will find ways to reach it. Cats may open doors due to their instinct for pursuing potential prey, aided by their sense of smell and hearing.
Cats may look aloof, but they are actually very intelligent and inquisitive. Their curiosity is boundless, and if they cannot get to where they want to be, they will find a way, such as learning to open doors. You can stop your cat from opening doors by making sure your door locks and latches are in working order, and behavioral training can help to teach your cat that it is unacceptable behavior.
Image: istockphoto.com / chendongshan