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How to Train Your Cat to Use a Cat Flap

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A cat flap can be an effective way to help you let your cat come and go as they please, but training him to use it will take time and patience. Fortunately, you'll find that the result of having your cat come and go at his leisure is well worth the effort it takes to train him.

Here are the top tips on how to train your cat to use a cat flap.

What is a Cat Flap?

A cat flap, also known as an in-out door, is designed to let cats freely come and go from your home without needing your help to get out of the house or back in after they've explored the great outdoors.

Choosing a Placement

Before you choose where to place your cat flap, you need to measure your existing cat door. The new flap should fit into that space without overlapping or shifting around. Pick an area that's often frequented by both of your cat/s.

Pro Tip: Cat flaps are typically installed 15cm from the floor. Measure the distance between the floor and your cat's belly to fit the flap correctly. What's more, rather than open spaces, keep the path directly outside the cat flap highly shielded.

Choosing the Right Type

Before you can teach your cat how to use their new cat flap, you'll need to choose one for them. Cat flap options include vinyl cat flaps, fabric cat flaps, and magnetic cat flaps. There is no right or wrong choice here as all have their pros and cons. The best option is simply what works best for you and your kitty.

Think about how many cats will use the flap, where you want it installed, and what kind of style or design fits with your home, then find one that suits.

Getting your Cat Familiar with the Flap

Here are some tips to get your cat comfortably using a flap:

1. Introduce your cat to the, before installation

It's vital to introduce your cat to the flap before installing and show them how it works. Have them explore and get used to the flap's feel, shape, and size, so they use it without hesitation.

2. Have the cat flap open

This mainly works if you have the cat flap already installed. Having the flap open for a while alerts your cat that the flap is an opening to the outdoors. As such, they're less cautious about using it to go out or come in.

3. Rub their scent on it

Some cats may not want to get near the flap as they perceive the cat flap as a foreign object. Rubbing their scent or cat pheromones on the flap may help your cat familiarize and get comfortable with the flap.

Training your Cat to Use the flap

A cat flap is only a great addition if your cat knows how to use it. If your cat doesn't see it as part of their territory and doesn't realize they can get back in whenever they want, they won't bother using it.

Here's how to train them that using a cat flap is beneficial to them:

Start by making sure that your flap closes appropriately—even when you aren't actively closing. Install one with adjustable size, so every cat fits through comfortably. This will ensure that even kittens or seniors can learn how it's easy to use one.

Teach your cat that there are benefits to going outside: toys and fresh air! Leave tasty treats outside in places where they can easily smell but cannot reach them without going through the flap. Make sure these locations change regularly. Otherwise, your cat will learn they only need to go out when certain sights and smells appear.

Alternatively, with the flap open so that your cat can see you from inside and you on the outdoors, show your cat some treats you're holding and encourage them to get them. If they walk through, praise them and reward them with more treats. Repeat the process now with yourself inside and your cat outside.

Once your cat is familiar with an open cat flap, repeat the process with a half-closed cat flap and only your hand poking through. This will teach the cat to push the cat flap open by themselves.

Repeat until your kitty becomes a pro at using the flap.

Final Thoughts

Cat flaps give your feline friend safe and controlled access to all parts of your home, which is excellent if you want them roaming about while you're out or busy. If you're on the hunt for this helpful addition, check out our vinyl door flaps which your kitty will love using.

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