If you have an outdoor cat, you may be hoping to learn how to train cats to use a cat door or how to ring a bell so you know they’re ready to come inside.
I realize there are times when I leave my cats outside that I can get 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 in. I live in an area that is too cold for a cat door (I have one that goes in the basement where the cat litter box is located) so I chose to find a way for them to signal that I should open the door, which we wanted due to of the extreme cold we sometimes go through here.
Here’s a very easy way to train your cats to let you know when they want to come inside.
Just take a small bell, one loud enough for you to hear, and swing it from a string just outside the door. Be sure to show this to your cat several times, and if you need to, you can even add some catnip to the bell to appeal to your cats.
You can get a bell at any craft store for practically nothing. Using several small bells may even do better for you or your cat. Tie the bell or bells to a string that hangs low enough for your cat to easily reach, then attach a catnip toy or use catnip spray to attract your cat.
When the cat calls to come in, you’ll want to give them a cat treat to let them know they’ve done something worth rewarding. If your cat doesn’t take to the bell right away, you may have to keep showing it to them to get them interested, and sooner or later they’ll learn that you’ll come to the door to let them in when they ring the bell.
In the beginning, you may need to keep showing them the clock every time they go out or come in, so that they begin to associate the clock with the door that opens for them. You may even want to start with a bell inside the house for when they want to go out, and this will help them learn more quickly that ringing the bell means opening the door.
While I realize that 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 in a place where you can put in a cat door, this is another option you can use to let your cat in and out as it pleases. This will also depend on what other animals you may have in the home. Another reason I choose not to have a cat door that leads outside is that I have a cat that can go outside, but she is irritable and I have to be there to babysit when she goes out so she doesn’t get scared and take off.
While you can buy a cat door at any pet store, you can also make one yourself if you’re crafty. We put the cat door to our basement in ourselves, simply by cutting a small hole in the bottom of the door and putting a piece of plastic over it that they could easily walk through.
If you want to install a cat door that goes outside, make sure you know what size you need for your cat to fit comfortably through the opening. While a cat that is used to going outside all the time will most likely figure out quickly how to use the cat door, you may also need to know how to train cats to use this new door as well.
This should be a fairly simple process. One of the ways you can teach your cat to use this door is to keep it open and use a toy to tempt your cat to go through from one side to the other. It should only take a few times before your cat realizes that it can go in and out as it pleases.
Once they’ve gone in and out a few times, you’ll want to show them how to use the door even when it’s closed, and you can use the same process to do this. You may choose to use food to attract your cat to go through the door and help them push through the first few passages, but many cats will take to this process fairly quickly if they really want to be able to get out.
With persistence and dedication, you can learn to train cats to do just about anything.