Would you like to know how to train a cat to use a cat flap. Celia Haddon offers her advice...

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I have installed a cat flap into our home in the hope our cat, Misty, will use it through the winter months. However, she has paid no interest in it. How do I train her to use the cat flap?

Celia says: Do not try to stuff her through the cat flap! That will simply put her off the whole idea. First, take a clean cloth, like a hankie, use this to stroke gently against her cheek and chin, and then rub the scent from her on to the cat flap. Cats are often frightened of going straight out into potential enemy territory, so make sure there are things she can hide behind once she is through by putting something like plants in pots near its exit.

Next, try to lure her through the flap using really good treats, or even her food (if you have regular feeding times). If this doesn’t work, most cat flaps will allow you to use something, such as a wooden clothes peg or parcel tape to hold the flap completely open, then put the treats the other side. Once she is used to going through without having to push with her nose, use the peg or the tape to lower the flap a little so the flap needs just a very gentle push. Then take the peg away altogether and continue the treats. This may take two or three weeks.
Do not hurry it.

Celia Haddon – MA MSc MA is a well-known pet columnist and author of numerous cat books. She is a cat lover and owner, with a cat behavior qualification and broad experience of feline issues.


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