How to train a cat to use a cat flap
5th May 2015
Most cats can successfully be trained to use a cat flap, even if they have never used a cat flap before. Even cats that are used to using a cat flap might be suspicious of a new one. Take a look at our top tips to ensure your cat starts using their new cat flap in no time!
Introduce the cat flap to your cat before installation
Give your cat a chance to inspect the new cat flap before you install it so that they can get used to the sight and smell of it. If you have a SureFlap Microchip Cat Flap, this is the perfect opportunity to programme your cat’s microchip into the cat flap. We advise doing this prior to installation so that you don’t accidentally programme in the neighbour’s cat!
Installing the cat flap
Measure the distance from your cat’s belly to the floor; this is the ideal height to install the cat flap. Try to ensure that the cat flap opens out onto a sheltered area rather than an open space. Open spaces make cats feel vulnerable as they feel more susceptible to being ambushed. If your cat feels safe going in and out of the cat flap then they will feel happier using it. If you do need to install the cat flap in a more open location, position objects, such as plant pots or a bench, around the cat flap for your cat to hide behind when they go in and out of the house.
Entice your cat with treats
With the installation out of the way, it’s time to start teaching your cat how to use their new cat flap. Cats love treats, so what better way to encourage your cat than with a tasty tit bit! Place your cat’s favourite treat on the opposite side of the cat flap to tempt them through. Make sure this is taken out of your cat's daily food allowance so that they don't overindulge.
Add your cat’s scent
It might sound a bit odd, but if your cat is reluctant to using their new cat flap, try adding their scent to it. A new cat flap will smell alien to your cat so with their scent applied to it, they are more likely to trust it. To do this, wipe your cat’s face with a cloth and then wipe the cloth around the cat flap.
Prop the flap open
Propping the flap open will create a more inviting hole for your cat to pass through. This can easily be achieved with a peg or a piece of tape. Give your cat time to get used to going in and out of the cat flap before removing the prop. If you have a microchip cat flap this will mean that any cat will be able to come in, but it could be a vital step in the cat flap training process and worth it in the long run.
Whether your cat takes days or weeks to get used to their new cat flap, you will need to be patient. Not all cats will take to a cat flap straight away, but given time, most cats will get the hang of using one. It’s important not to give in and open the door for them. If you do, you could undo all the hard work you’ve put in!