Have you ever tried to keep your cat out of your bedroom or bathroom, only to see a little paw or two darting beneath the door, hear their frustrated and anxious meows, or leap to stop them from scratching up the doorjamb? Cats are curious and sometimes complex creatures. In this article, we’re examining one interesting cat-titude mannerism: why cats hate closed doors.
Keep reading to learn why cats throw temper tantrums outside doors and how to help them calm down.
How Does a Cat React to Closed Doors?
Some cats meow, scratch, or cry for hours behind a closed door. Whether it’s a room they’re locked in or they’re trying to get into your bedroom at night. It can be frustrating and downright annoying when your fur baby overreacts to being shut out of an area of the house. Furthermore, it can be distressing that your cat is so upset.
Not every cat hates closed doors. And some only react periodically or when they want something or are missing you. For example, if your bedroom door is closed at night, your cat may feel left out and try to scratch its way in. But that doesn’t mean you have to let it in. We explain how to prevent your cat from crying outside a door later in this article.
Why Do Cats Hate Closed Doors?
There are various reasons why some cats hate closed doors, and it doesn’t necessarily depend on what side of the door they’re on. It could be the curiosity about what’s on the other side or what they’re missing out on. Yes, cats can experience FOMO just like humans.
Indoor cats often like to be social and not shut off from the main event. In contrast, outdoor cats may feel trapped inside, and so they scratch at the door because they want out.
Other cats may be exhibiting how territorial they are. Closed doors might make them feel less in control of their environment. And if other pets are in the house and they’re kept from keeping an eye on them, felines can get a little purr-snickety.
Some cats who hate closed doors may react as soon as they hear the click of it shutting. This could also indicate fear or anxiety. Separation anxiety and isolation are common behavioral issues with felines and may be exacerbated by closed doors.
Do Cats Experience Separation Anxiety?
Cats can experience separation anxiety, which basically means they want to be with you all the time. When they’re away from you, they can get agitated. This often shows up when they’re home alone or kept from you due to a closed door in the house.
The cause of separation anxiety can vary depending on the cat and the situation. Female cats are diagnosed with it more than male cats. And indoor cats are also more prone to experience the disorder than outdoor cats because living indoors means getting used to being with a human consistently. In addition, changes in routines or environments can also worsen or develop separation anxiety in cats.
Separation anxiety can manifest itself in different ways. You may notice your cat is urinating or defecating outside of the litter box. Excessive crying or destruction of household items are also potential signs of the disorder. One of the most apparent identifiers is when your cat is hyper-attached to you, including following you around the house and crying behind closed doors.
Preventing or treating your cat’s separation anxiety can be done. However, the method will depend on the cat and its response. One thing you might consider is adding another pet to your household to keep your cat company if you haven’t already. Medications and behavior modification are also ways to treat anxiety. It’s always a good idea to talk with your vet about a recommended course of action, as well as with friends who have also dealt with separation anxiety cats.
Pro Tip: Learn signs to watch for when bringing a new cat home.
How Do I Prevent My Cat From Crying Outside My Closed Bedroom Door?
There are several ways to prevent your cat from crying outside your closed bedroom door. We must warn you, though, it’s likely to take several days and a lot of patience, especially if your cat has hated closed doors for several months or years. You’ll have to stay strong, as we know how hard it is to ignore the sounds and actions of distress from your beloved fur baby.
Let’s look at four options and see which might work best for your situation.
Ignore the Meowing and Scratching
Ignoring your cat when it meows or scratches at a closed door can help it realize you won’t cave and open the door. Doing this consistently can teach your pet that a closed door is part of the routine and you’re in control. However, it may take a long time to correct the behavior. In other words, fear of closed doors can be a learned behavior, and it will take patience to teach your cat that closed doors aren’t the enemy.
Tire Your Cat Out With Playtime Before Bed
Cats are crepuscular, which means they’re the most active at dawn and dusk. So, if your cat has been sleeping most of the evening and you go to bed at dusk, that’s when they’re ready to play. And therefore, them crying at your closed bedroom door is an attempt to keep you up to play with them.
A way to trick your cat into resting when you do is to tire it out with playtime before you go to bed, and the more the better. See if it works for your pet. If it does, you’ll likely need to make it a part of a nightly routine.
Reset Your Cat’s Body Clock
Scheduling playtime before bed is an excellent way to reset your cat’s body clock. The overarching idea is to train it to go to sleep at the same time you go to bed. Sticking with the new routine is key, however. For example, do mealtime and playtime at the same time every day if possible. And try to close and open your bedroom door at the same time every day. This can help get your cat used to when the door will open for you to walk to its food dish, for example.
Motion-Activated Cat Deterrent
Many professionals don’t necessarily like motion-activated cat deterrents because it is a form of negative reinforcement. But if you’ve tried everything else, it might be your last resort for a pleasant night’s sleep.
Here’s how it works: you put a motion-activated air can next to your closed bedroom door. It will help deter your cat from crying outside the door. The can sprays short bursts of air when movement is detected nearby. It’s safe, but cats usually hate it and learn to avoid it and, as a result, stay away from the door.
Why Do Outdoor Cats Meow at the Door?
The primary reason outdoor cats meow at the door is that they’re asking to be let outside. Mainly if they prefer to urinate outdoors or they may be anxious to do some hunting or lay in the sun. Or they might have a buddy cat outside they’re looking for.
Another reason outdoor cats may hate a closed door is that they feel trapped. When they’re outside, they have endless places to roam, things to smell, and sounds to investigate. In comparison, the constant sameness of indoors may honestly get a little boring at times. Like humans who love the outdoors, we can get restless if indoors for too long.
Pro Tip: Learn how to introduce your cat to the outside world.
However, you’ll have to listen closely and watch your cat’s body language to fully determine what they are trying to tell you with their meows. A distressed meow is different than a bored meow, and a relaxed stance means something different than a nervous pace. Try to pick up the clues to figure out what your cat is really after.
Is It a Good Idea to Provide an Outdoor Cat With a Cat Flap Door?
A cat flap door is a good way to provide an outdoor cat with the freedom to come and go. And it also provides a safe place to go in case you’re not home and your pet needs to get inside out of the rain.
A cat flap door is a personal preference. If you are considering one, we recommend getting one you can close and lock when needed. We used one that we could set one-way travel, so in the late afternoon, when we’d like our kitty to come in and not be able to go out for the evening, she’d be unable to go back outside. However, you will want to make sure other creatures follow them home and inside as well. For this, microchip cat doors may be the best option.
Help Your Cat Overcome the Anxiety of Closed Doors
It’s tough seeing our cats experience anxiety. It’s also tough not to get a proper night’s sleep or take a shower in privacy. If your cat hates closed doors and it’s causing your family unrest, help your cat overcome it by trying some of the recommendations in this article. While you may never get rid of the curiosity of what is behind the door, you can teach your cat that everything will be okay regardless.
Does your cat hate closed doors? Share your cat’s story in the comments below.
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