Cat slipping through the door

If you have an indoor cat who is not allowed outside, but keeps on slipping through the door when you’re going outside, here’s some advice.

The best thing to do is to start mixing up your routine a bit. All animals are extremely good at working out that if you do A, then B will follow, so when you pick up your keys for instance, she knows you are going out – hence the run for the door.

Choose a day when you have a bit of time. Get ready to go out – remember, all the things you do before picking up your keys are also subtle clues to her that you are going out. Pick up your keys and then sit and read a book for half an hour. Or pick up your keys and have a cup of coffee, for example. After a while she’ll learn that picking up your keys is no longer a reliable cue that you are going out.

If you get stuck and you really need to go out immediately, have a bowl with her favourite treats in it – something like cooked chicken or bits of ham. It needs to be something you can throw. As you head for the door, throw a whole lot of these really yummy treats away from the door, and she will more than likely head for them to eat, rather than head for the door.

Wendy Wilson, behaviourist

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