Why Do Cats Hate Closed Doors?

Why Do Cats Hate Closed Doors

Cats hate closed doors because they are fiercely territorial and do not like being locked out of a portion of their territory by the door. That is why they will try to open, scratch, and attack the door. They may find your attempt to close the door as a sign that you undermine their reign of the territory.

If your cat has issues regarding closed doors and you want to know how to stop this behavior, keep on reading.

Why do cats hate closed doors?

Here are the three main reasons why your cat becomes alarmed as soon as a door closes:


Cats are territorial animals. They mark as often as they can so that it is always clear what they reign over. Even though you may need to close a door to go to the bathroom, bedroom, or kitchen, what you might be missing is that the door effectively interrupts access to a part of the cat’s territory. To the cat, this is a problem. So it should come as no surprise when your cat meows, scratches, and fidgets near the door. It is a matter of territory that you have to settle.


After you close a door with the cat left on one side, the cat may hear a sound or smell something coming from the other side. The cat cannot get in to investigate, which is a problem for them. The cat will do whatever it takes to let you know that it wants you to open the door.

Cat rules

When you get a cat, it adopts you and you become a part of what it considers its family. This means that your cat wants to look after you. When you or any other human family member is on the other side of a closed door, the cat cannot see them, which they view as a problem. The meowing, scratching, and fidgeting is the cat wanting to make sure that everybody is okay.

How do cats protest closed doors?

Cats have multiple ways of telling and showing you that there is a closed door in your home that they would like to be opened:

1. Meowing

As soon as you close a door, your cat panics and becomes vocal. It will sit in front of the door and meow and meow until somebody finally opens the door for them.

2. Fidgeting

After meowing for quite some time to no avail, your cat will become restless and start to fidget. They will walk back and forth by the closed door, trying to plan their next steps.

3. Pawing

If meowing and fidgeting prove to be unsuccessful, the cat will paw at the door until somebody notices. It may also look like your cat is trying to dig a tunnel under the door to get inside.

4. Asking for help

They know that at some point the door has to open, so if no one has come to help, they will actively look for a person. They will go to a family member, meow and brush up against them, then lead the way to the closed door for that person to hopefully open the door for them.

5. Scratching

If their cry for help goes unanswered, then cats have to use their own weapons: their claws. The last resort in the fight with a closed door is scratching, because they know that it is bound to get everybody’s attention on both sides of the door.

How should you deal with a cat protesting closed doors?

1. Give your cat as much attention as possible.

In some cases, a cat’s exacerbated interest with what is going on behind closed doors has a lot to do with the level of attention they are getting. If your cat is not getting enough time with the family, it may be more prone to protest closed doors because it feels left behind. Show your cat how much you care for it so it will know that a closed door is not a threat.

2. Make your cat a lounging area next to the window.

With cats that have an issue with the front door being closed, give them a chance to see what happens behind it by putting a perch next to a window. That way they can see you walk out the door and know where you are.

3. Provide boxes, bags, and toys.

When your cat has a lot of things to play with, they are less stressed, and are therefore less prone to respond to the threats posed by a closed door.

4. Get a scratching post.

Sometimes cats see closed doors as great scratchers just lying around. Keep their scratching needs met by getting them a scratching post. 

5. Use anti-chew/bitter spray

Use a veterinary-approved taste deterrent. Spray the bottom of the door you want to keep closed. When your cat paws or scratches the door, the smell and taste will urge it to reconsider.

6. Sticky Paws

Another option is to use Sticky Paws on the bottom part of the door. It will annoy the cat enough to keep it from scratching the door. The bands are not sticky enough to keep the cat there or harm it in any way, but the sticky feeling is a sensation that cats do not like and will want to avoid.

7. Training mats

Place training mats in front of the door you want to clear. Cats will avoid stepping on them and hopefully that will be enough to keep them from pawing and scratching the door.

8. Large object

Block the door and keep the cat from scratching at it by placing a large object in front of it. Choose an object that is light enough for you to move but one that the cat cannot move.


Cats hate closed doors because they think you are denying them entry into an entire section of their territory. They will meow, fidget, and scratch to make you open the door.

To discourage your cat from protesting closed doors, give it plenty of attention and make sure you keep them preoccupied with toys, scratching posts, and window perches.

If they still protest closed doors, you can use bitter sprays, sticky paws, and training mats.

Image: istockphoto.com / ablokhin