Monday, 13 February 2012


How to Stop Your Cat Going Outside When He/She Shouldn't

I'm off,  I've had enough.

 You may be quite happy for your cat to wander outside if you have a yard or garden or live in a rural area but it is a different matter when you live in a built-up district with busy traffic routes nearby.

Cats are full of curiosity and will usually head for the door the moment it is opened.  After a quick look round, off they go to explore the territory, which can be full of dangers and frightening experiences.

It is a sad fact that large numbers of cats are killed every year on our roads. This is obviously a tragedy for the cats concerned and also for their owners who will be heartbroken at the loss of their beloved pet.  Serious injuries occur as well as deaths, which cause the poor animal untold pain and cost their loving owners a fortune in vet's bills.  

Apart from these horrors the great outdoors in an urban environment can be extremely frightening for a cat. It is full of sudden loud noises of every pitch.  Fast-moving vehicles approach from all directions and there are too many people rushing around.

Who's the prettiest?

So how do you stop your cat from rushing outside every time you open the door?  This is no easy task but it can be done with perseverance and patience.  Of course, it is easier to train a young kitten in the way you want it to behave than an adult cat whose habits are already well-formed.

 As with any form of animal training the best approach is to work with the cat's 
natural instincts.  It is well-known that cats hate sudden loud noises which they perceive as a threat.  So when you see your cat heading for the open door, startle them by banging an object such as a heavy book or rolled-up newspaper onto a hard surface, or clap your hands loudly while yelling 'NO' at the top of your voice, - anything to stop them in their tracks and get them to turn back to the safety of the room.

BUT - make sure you are between the cat and the door when you do this. DON'T EVER do it when you are behind the cat or you will get the opposite effect and scare him/her  right out of the door!

I can't get down now

Another effective method is to get someone else to stand just outside the open door with a water pistol or spray bottle. As soon as the cat tries to go outside give it a good squirt on the nose which will send him straight back inside. If this person can make the loud scary noise at the same time, or if you can enlist a third person to do this, it will be even more of an effective deterrent.  

Your role is to wait inside the room so that when the poor frightened cat comes running back inside you can be there to welcome him with open arms, to cuddle and soothe him and praise him for being a good cat.  This would be a good opportunity to give him a treat.  

Best of all, if you have time to call the cat back before he gets to the open door, do so in a voice full of alarm.   Do this before the scary noise and the water spray happen and he will soon realise that your alarmed voice is warning him that something nasty is going to happen to him and that he had better avoid it.

Cat outside my house

This could also be useful in other situations.  If you see him about to jump over a neighbour's fence, for example, or go somewhere where you know there's a dog, or a rival cat, calling him back in an alarmed voice will tell him there's the threat of danger.

Never forget to lavish praise and petting on your cat when he does the right thing and use treats as a reward to reinforce his good behaviour.

1 comment:

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