How to train cats to use a cat door or ring a bell to let them in
If you have an outdoor cat, you can look forward to learning how to train cats to use a cat door or how to ring a bell so you know they are ready to come inside.
I realize there are times when I let my cats out and 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 ready to come in. I live in an area that is too cold for a cat door (I have one that goes to the basement where the cat litter boxes are), so I chose to find a way to be signaled to open the door, something we wanted because of the extreme cold that we sometimes experience here.
Here is a very simple way to train your cats to let you know when they want you to let them in.
Simply take a small bell, one that is loud enough for you to hear, and turn it on a string just outside the door. Be sure to show it to your cat several times and if you need to, you can even add some catnip to the bell to attract your cats.
You can get a bell at any craft store for practically nothing. Using several small bells might even be better for you or your cat. Tie the bell(s) to a string that hangs low enough for your cat to reach easily, and then attach a catnip toy or use a catnip spray to attract your cat.
Every time your cat rings the doorbell to come in, you want to give her a treat to let her know she’s done something worth rewarding. If your cat doesn’t like the doorbell right away, you may have to keep showing it to her to get her interested, and sooner or later she’ll learn that you’ll come to the door to let her in when she rings the bell.
At first, you may need to keep showing them the doorbell every time they come in or out so they begin to connect the doorbell with the door that opens for them. You might 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 the door will open.
While I realize there will be times when you may not open the door just because you’re not there or for various reasons, your cat will still begin to connect the doorbell to the door being opened.
If you live in a place where you can put a cat door, this is one more option you can use to let your cat in and out as he pleases. This will also depend on what other animals you may have in the home. One more reason I choose not to have a cat door that leads outside, is that I have a cat that can get out but is nervous and I have to be there to watch him when he does go out so he doesn’t freak out and take off.
While you can buy a cat door at any pet store, you can also make your own if you’re good at creating things. We put our basement cat door in ourselves, simply by cutting a small hole in the bottom of the door and putting a piece of plastic through it so they could easily walk through.
If you want to fit a cat door that goes outside, make sure you know what size it needs to be so that your cat can fit comfortably through the opening. While a cat that is used to going out all the time will likely quickly figure out how to use the cat door, they may also need to know how to train cats to use this new door.
This should be a fairly straightforward process. One of the ways you can train your cat to use this door is to hold it open and use a toy to entice your cat to go from one side to the other. It should only take a couple of times to do this before your cat realizes that he can come and go as he pleases.
Once they’ve been in and out a few times you’ll want to show them how to use the door for themselves when it’s closed and you can use the same process to do this. You may decide to use food to entice your cat through the door and help push the first few times, but many cats will adopt this process fairly quickly if they really want to be able to get out.
With persistence and love, you can learn to train cats to do just about anything.