Recently my father decided to move the litter box, cat food, water, etc. out into the garage, (instead of leaving it in one of the house bathrooms). We already have a cat door leading from the house into the garage and didn't think it would be too big of a deal teaching kitty to use it. Kitty likes the garage and seems content with the placement of her "stuff" out there, but doesn't like the cat door. If the little door flap is taped up so she can see the other side, she has no issues with jumping in and out; however, once the flap is down, she won't even try to go through. We've tried holding a bowl of her favorite food on one side, but all she'll do is come up to the door and yowl. We've showed her it moves and she's sniffed it and touched it with her paw, but nothing else.
My Border Collie mix learned to use a dog door in 2 minutes, but she had another dog to show her how it worked. Our other cat recently passed away so now Kitty is an only cat, so no luck there.
Any advice to help my father out with this, (I don't live at home), would be great!
This might not be the most popular of options, but what I've done is to hold the door open and push the cat through it, letting them feel the door on their body as they go through. And have treats on the opposite side. If you don't have a second person, leave the treat just past the door so she will find it immediately upon arrival.
If there is a food treat she goes nuts for, that usually works better than a toy. Then leave the food treat in her dish a few times, so she will want to go out.
Cats are plenty fast learners but they are, well, cats. Ours will often lobby for either person door access or for a human to open the cat door but they know full well how to use it.
Yup, when we installed the cat door in our basement window, I literally pushed Mr. Kitty through it to the space below the porch. Only had to do it twice before he figured it out. I'm not sure cats can figure out the cause>effect as easily as dogs.
I realize that I'm generalizing here, but as is often the case when I generalize, I don't care. ~ Dave Barry