Cat flaps are brilliant for flat dwellers and people who don’t like to leave windows open for security reasons. But not all cats can get the hang of how to use them.
American animal behaviourist Dr Sophia Yin has these training tips. Remember, that to train any pet to use a cat flap, patience and gentleness are required. What you absolutely don’t want is to force your pet through a cat flap. They’ll never go near it again!
Cat flap training tip 1
Start with a hungry cat, tasty treats, and a fully open kitty door. Toss some treats through the door so that kitty has to pop his head through to get them. When he consistently peeks through without hesitation, you can go to the next step.
Training tip 2
Now throw the treats a little further. In no time, kitty should be going all the way through the open door to retrieve his yummy rewards. Now to deal with the closed door.
Training tip 3
To get kitty used to pushing the door open, hold the door part way open and repeat the treat throwing progression. Gradually, over many trials, make the opening smaller and smaller so that kitty has to push more and more to get through.
If kitty’s hungry enough training should go quickly. Once he figures it’s safe to push the hanging thing he’ll be going in and out at will. Even very door-wary cats can learn within a dozen practice sessions.
Cat flap no-no
Just one more tip. During the training sessions make sure the door never smacks kitty in the rear. A good startle may get him through fast, but in terms of ever using the door again, that may be the last.