How to Train a Cat to Use a Cat Flap: Even Stubborn Ones!

Are you the frustrated parent of a feline that’s wondering how to train a cat to use a cat flap? Don’t worry. Even the most stubborn cats can be taught to exit the house through their own personal doorway. You just need to make them love it.

Here’s how:

So you want to give your cat the freedom of 24/7 movement between your home and the great outdoors. Brilliant!

cat flap meme about cat not wanting to go through the cat flapThe only problem is he doesn’t want to use it. You’ve tried pushing his head through, yelling like an idiot, and even standing outside and begging him to walk through his own personal portal to the wild.

NEWS FLASH: He understands how it works, he just gets his kicks watching you suffer outside.

Even the most stubborn cats can be taught how to use their cat flap. Trust me: most cats want to go outside. You’ve just got to be patient, use the right techniques, and avoid some of the pitfalls that most pet owners make. Here’s what you need to do..

How to Teach Your Cat to Use Their Cat Flap

Training your cat to use the cat flap isn’t difficult. It just takes patience and few tricks. Cat flap training problems are usually the result of a few issues:

  • You’ve got an older cat who can’t be bothered to do anything it doesn’t want to do
  • Your cat is scared of the cat flap
  • Your cat won’t push the flap open because he doesn’t know how

You might even have a kitten that’s just incapable of doing it. Doesn’t matter, the following solutions will do the trick in almost all cases.

But first….

If You Haven’t Already Installed the Flap

If you haven’t already installed your cat flap, there are a few things you should consider.

  • Show your cat the door first so they can get used to it.
  • Measure the distance from your cat’s belly to the floor. This is the proper height of the door.

If you’re using a fancy microchip cat flap, now is a good time to program your cat’s data in.

How to Train a Cat to Use Its Flap

cat flap action shot

If you’re tired of calling at your kitty just to watch it stare blankly back at you, here are a few things you can do:

  • Prop the Door Open: Make it easy on them. Prop the door open with a clothes pin or some string and show them the outdoors. If all they have to do is walk through, they might not be intimidated. Give them a chance to walk through on their own naturally. You can even take your eyes off of them a bit. If they go through, praise them! (“that’s a good kitty” is preferred by 9 out of 10 cats).
  • Their Favourite Treat: You should try using some savory, mouthwatering treats to bribe them through the portal. Try leaving a trail of treats leading up to the door. If that doesn’t work, try sitting outside and putting your hand through the flap with a treat and getting them to bite that way.
  • Add Their Scent: Cat’s have a more acute sense of smell than humans. Try wiping a cloth on them and then on the flap. This could make it more familiar to them. Hey, we’re running out of options here!
Warning:
Never shove your cat’s head through the door. This will make them hate you!

If That Doesn’t Work

These processes need to be repeated, giving constant praise along the way. If you have a trail of treats, praise the cat each time it eats one or paws at the door. If that doesn’t work, try these tricks:

  • Substituting treats for their favourite toy.
  • Playing fun games around the door.
  • Taking them outside and playing games around the other side of the door. They might run back in! If they do, praise them!
  • Reaching your hand through the door and grabbing a toy or treat from outside that you’ve planted. When a cat sees the reward outside, they might go for it!

Getting your cat to use the flap isn’t hard. All you need is patience and this awesome guide on how to teach your cat to use the cat flap. They’ll be running in and out of the house in no time!