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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct. 29, 2000
    Location
    Southern Pines, N.C.
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    11,422

    Default Teaching a feral cat to use a kitty door

    My barn cat is semi feral. Comes near me but will not let himself be caught. The other night I shut him in the tack room with the heater on by mistake and now he goes in the room every night.

    This is fine with me -- I want him to stay warm. But when it gets down into the 20's I want to shut the tackroom door (pipes might freeze).

    I am willing to install a small cat door in (dogs have doggie doors in the house, so I will need to put in a small cat door so Kitty is safe inside) but if the cat cannot be taught to use it, there is no point.

    Any suggestions?
    "I used to have money, now I have horses."



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan. 4, 2007
    Location
    TX
    Posts
    39,987

    Default

    Put the door in and leave the flap open for some days, until you are sure he is using the cat door.
    Then leave the flap down and he should figure by himself to go thru.
    All our cats have figured it without the flap down, but they were tame ones.

    The trouble is that you will also have other critters using the cat door.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar. 24, 2004
    Location
    Pottstown, PA (East Coventry)
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    3,004

    Default

    I never taught any of my cats how to use the dog door. They all figured it out on their own but it always was the cats were in the house and they figured out how to get out.

    I would go with Bluey's suggestion of leaving the flap open until kitty figures it out. I would also select a brand of cat door that has the semi clear flap versus the solid flap.

    The other thing you can do to make it more obvious is to shut the cat in the dark tackroom and leave the light on in the barn. The light will then shine through the open cat flap.

    Cats are much smarter about the dog doors than most of my dogs.
    Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community. (Tidy Rabbit)



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan. 4, 2007
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    TX
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    39,987

    Default

    Oh, our cats would most of the time open the flexible flaps hooking them and pulling them open to the side they were on and then sneaking thru the opening, not pushing thru like the dogs but rarely.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul. 13, 2011
    Location
    East Longmeadow, MA
    Posts
    3,139

    Default

    Our feral barn cats learned to use the cat door with zero problems.
    What's wrong with you?? Your cheese done slid off its cracker?!?!



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan. 18, 2010
    Posts
    850

    Default

    Ours figured out the cat door with no problem either. They just cautiously nose through it the first few times, then pretty soon they just barge on in

    The "new arrival" strays get in the barn on their own, so if they want food they have to go thorough the cat door.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar. 9, 2006
    Posts
    1,830

    Default

    I agree with using a clear door; cats feel more comfortable going through a door when they can check out what's on the other side first.
    You might also try temporarily removing any magnets or weatherstripping holding the door shut. A lot of cats will test the door by giving it a very gentle nudge. When it doesn't move, they won't realize they simply need to apply more pressure. They just assume you've installed a cat height window. You want the door to swing very easily while they are figuring it out.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan. 4, 2007
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    TX
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by carp View Post
    I agree with using a clear door; cats feel more comfortable going through a door when they can check out what's on the other side first.
    You might also try temporarily removing any magnets or weatherstripping holding the door shut. A lot of cats will test the door by giving it a very gentle nudge. When it doesn't move, they won't realize they simply need to apply more pressure. They just assume you've installed a cat height window. You want the door to swing very easily while they are figuring it out.
    If you don't want the magnets to hold, add a few strips of scotch tape to them, until they are not making contact any more.
    After the cat goes thru well, you can take some off and more and more until you can take them all out, once the cat catches on.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul. 31, 2007
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    14,888

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by oliverreed View Post
    Our feral barn cats learned to use the cat door with zero problems.
    A feral cat spends all day, every day taking care of himself. He knows there are not Cat Food Stamps slung under his lazy butt to protect him. So he Will figure out a cat door quickly if there is something he wants on the other side.

    Give a cat credit!
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar. 24, 2010
    Location
    Tucson
    Posts
    5,785

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by mvp View Post
    A feral cat spends all day, every day taking care of himself. He knows there are not Cat Food Stamps slung under his lazy butt to protect him. So he Will figure out a cat door quickly if there is something he wants on the other side.

    Give a cat credit!
    Yep, our feral (Will Feral, actually) figured out the dog door into our house. Which we didn't realize until the night he let himself in and locked himself in our library...

    All the tips making it easier for the cat are good, but probably just leaving the flap up so the cat knows it goes out is enough for the cat to figure it all out.
    My horse is a dressage diva so I don't have to be.

    Quote Originally Posted by katarine
    If you have a fat gay horse that likes Parelli, you're really screwed



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct. 28, 2007
    Location
    NY
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    4,036

    Default

    My cat picked it up fine, but I could push her through. But she really learned how to work the electrical door! She studied it hard, and got the timing so it would close right behind her, no strange cat or animal follow her in. It was interesting to watch her put all her focus on it.
    My other cat barrels through it, after all these years she still doesn't quite understand that she controls it.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul. 31, 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by netg View Post
    Yep, our feral (Will Feral, actually) figured out the dog door into our house. Which we didn't realize until the night he let himself in and locked himself in our library...
    That locking himself in your library was On Purpose.

    Do you have any 18th-century political philosophy in there? Anything on the framing of the Constitution? Those are long, involved texts and he needed a locked door to give him adequate time.

    I have a horse who knows all about the Inalienable Rights of the 4-leggeds. Thank God he's a food-centered gelding and not a feral cat.

    Don't say you haven't been warned.
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar. 24, 2010
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    Tucson
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by mvp View Post
    That locking himself in your library was On Purpose.

    Do you have any 18th-century political philosophy in there? Anything on the framing of the Constitution? Those are long, involved texts and he needed a locked door to give him adequate time.

    I have a horse who knows all about the Inalienable Rights of the 4-leggeds. Thank God he's a food-centered gelding and not a feral cat.

    Don't say you haven't been warned.
    Ooh. I have those books, but they're in the barrister bookcases in my bedroom. Phew! That was a close one!

    I think maybe he was reading about aircraft integration, trying to figure out how to take out the planes which fly overhead...
    My horse is a dressage diva so I don't have to be.

    Quote Originally Posted by katarine
    If you have a fat gay horse that likes Parelli, you're really screwed



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