How to Train Cats to Use a Cat Door or Ring a Bell to Be Let in
If you have an outdoor cat, you may hope to learn how to train cats to use a cat door or how to ring a bell so you know they are ready to come in.
I realize there are times when I leave my cats outside that I might be busy and forget to check on them, so I found a way for them to let me know they are at the door and ready to come inside. I live in an area that is too cold for a cat door (I have one that goes into the basement where the litter boxes are) so I chose to find a way to signal me to open the door, something we wanted because of the extreme cold we sometimes pass through here.
Here’s a very easy way to train your cats to let you know when they want to be let inside.
Just get a small bell that is loud enough for you to hear and swing it from a string just outside the door. Make sure you show this to your cat many times and if you need to, you can even add some catnip to the bell to please your cats.
You can get a bell at any craft store for virtually no money. Using several small bells may even be better for you or your cat. Tie the bell or bells to a string that hangs low enough for your cat to reach easily, then attach a catnip toy or use catnip spray to attract your cat.
When the cat rings the bell to come in, you’ll want to give them a cat treat so they know they’ve done something worth being rewarded for. If your cat doesn’t take to the bell right away, you may have to keep showing it to them to keep them interested, and sooner or later they’ll learn that you’ll come to the door to let them in when they ring.
In the beginning, you may need to show them the bell every time they go out or come in so that they begin to associate the bell with the door that opens for them. You may even want to start with a bell inside the house when they want to go outside and this will help them learn more quickly that ringing the bell means the door will be opened.
While I realize there will be times when you may not open the door simply because you are not there or for any number of reasons, your cat will still begin to associate the bell with the door opening.
If you live somewhere where you can install a cat door, this is another choice you can use to let your cat come in and out whenever he wants. This will also depend on what other animals you may have in the home. Another reason I choose not to have a cat door leading outside is that I have a cat that can go outside but is nervous and I have to be there to watch the baby when she goes out so she doesn’t get spooked and to take off.
While you can buy a cat door at any pet store, you can also just make one yourself if you’re good at making things. We installed the cat door to our basement ourselves by simply cutting a small hole in the bottom of the door and putting a piece of plastic through it that they can easily walk through.
If you want to install a cat door that goes outside, make sure you know what size it needs to be for your cat to fit comfortably through the opening. Although a cat that is used to going outside all the time will most likely quickly learn how to use the cat door, you may need to know how to train cats to use this new door as well.
This should be a fairly easy process. One way you can teach your cat to use this door is to hold it open and use a toy to tempt your cat to go from one side to the other. It should only take a few times of doing this before your cat learns that he can come in and out as he pleases.
After they’ve been in and out a few times, you’ll want to show them how to use the door themselves when it’s closed, and you can use the same process to do this. You may choose to use food to entice your cat through the door and help her through the first few times, but many cats will pick up on this process fairly quickly if they really want to be able to go outside.
With persistence and love, you can learn how to train cats to do almost anything.
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