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How to teach kitten not to run out the front door?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Hi,

We have had our newest kitten, Sheba, since the summer. She is now 5 months old. In the past 2 months, she has managed to run out of the front door when it has been opened at least 10 times, usually because my father has "forgotten" to look for her before leaving, or because she has managed to squeeze past our blocking hands/feet/bags when we're coming in.

Although we live on a fairly quiet street, we are worried about her getting run over by a car or being hurt by one of the numerous tough-looking neighbourhood cats (three of them have fought our eldest cat through the door screen in the past).

Each time she gets out we spend upwards of a half-hour trying to wrangle her back inside. We are wary of leaving her to "find her way home" because she just gallops around willy-nilly at top speed - she doesn't stop to sniff anything or explore and I don't think she would neccessarily find her way back to the house on her own because she's not paying attention to her surroundings.

She obviously enjoys the "game" of being chased up and down the street, which probably has reinforced her wanting to get out. What can we do to discourage this? She does not respond to a spray of water, puffs of air, cans filled with coins or marbles, reprimanding, or anything else we have tried for this and her many other kittenish behaviours (climbing up drapes, jumping on the stove and counters, etc).

Is this wanderlust just part of her personality that will calm down as time goes on and she is spayed, or is there something we can do to really discourage her from bolting out the door? We definitely don't want her to be an outdoor cat and we're running out of ideas.

Thanks so much for your help!
tetheriel
post #2 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by tetheriel View Post
Hi,

We have had our newest kitten, Sheba, since the summer. She is now 5 months old. In the past 2 months, she has managed to run out of the front door when it has been opened at least 10 times, usually because my father has "forgotten" to look for her before leaving, or because she has managed to squeeze past our blocking hands/feet/bags when we're coming in.
Thanks so much for your help!
tetheriel
1.Daddy needs to be more aware.
2. have some favorite toys or treats at the door and toss them in the other direction when you open the door and then scoot out fast.
3. Have someone quarantine her in another place when you leave.
4. try a scat mat or scat can to deter her from getting to o close to the door in the first place.

Hang in there, my cat got out once it was NOT fun.
post #3 of 13
Question One - is she spayed?????

Try using a squirt gun/bottle and using it every time she is near the door.
post #4 of 13
I'm glad you realize the dangers outside. She doesn't.

If, the next time she tries to get out the door, she encounters someone she doesn't recognize, roaring and squirting water, she might reconsider.

It's how I convinced some of my cats that the outdoors is not as inviting as it looks.
post #5 of 13
My kitten does exactly the same thing! She knows when I am about to leave for work, for instance, when I get my coat from the coat hanger, she'll be already sitting at the front door, waiting for me. Or, when I slip on my shoes, pick up my pocketbook, etc.

I normally distract her by throwing her favorite toy to the other site of the room, or I'll pick her up and place her on the top perch of her little cat tree, that buys me time to run as fast as I could to the front door before she does! It's not easy but I have not found any other ways. I wouldn't want to discourage her from visiting the hallway leading to the front door because that is where her litter box is located.
post #6 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abigail View Post
1.Daddy needs to be more aware.
2. have some favorite toys or treats at the door and toss them in the other direction when you open the door and then scoot out fast.
3. Have someone quarantine her in another place when you leave.
4. try a scat mat or scat can to deter her from getting to o close to the door in the first place.

Hang in there, my cat got out once it was NOT fun.
These are some good ideas.
My kitten tries to get out too.
post #7 of 13
Hi! I feel for you.

My old cat attempted to "escape" her entire life (and she was spayed). My new kittens are 6.5 months old and they try from time to time. I have made it a point to say "NO" in the sternest, most firm voice possible... with no "nice mommy" undertones at all. This seems to have worked with my girls, but you may have a larger hill to climb since she's already gotten out.

I do like the idea of something/someone scary outside (with water! haha!) Once, my old cat tried to escape during a thunderstorm, and a clap of thunder sounded just as she was going through the door. That sent her back in the house and under a bed... she didn't try again for months! (but she DID eventually try again, so you'll have to always be on your guard). So, an unexpected "consequence" might be just the ticket!

Let us know how it turns out. Good lunck!
-Lk
post #8 of 13
Well what I did when both my babies were 'babies' is I gave them a good righteous scare the first time they headed out the door. Basically clapped my hands together and hissed!

Both seemed to learn real quick that the outside world = SCARY!
post #9 of 13
I stomp my feet, say "get" really loudly, or clap. Works for my two usually.
Sometimes Tomas will run into the garage, if the door is up he gets very frightened of "outside" and runs back into the house. If the garage door is down he wants to sniff around for mice and argue with me.


Can you try taping signs to the door to remind people to beware of escape artist cat? or maybe have it say "You let her out, you'll be the one chasing her down".

Definately put her up in one room if you'll be having lots of holiday guests in and out of the house, or before shopping trips when you know you'll have your hands full when you come back in the house.
post #10 of 13
hey thanks for this thread..I have a little escape artists on my hands too...
good tips...great visuals in mind of some of these posts..thanks for the laugh...
post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thank you all for the advice ...

Goldenkitty: No, she is not spayed - another reason we don't want her getting out! She's scheduled to go under the knife in 3 weeks.

We have tried throwing toys and closing her up in her crate (not locked, just shut). She can make it down an entire flight of stairs and along the hallway in the time it takes me to open and shut the door. But I think if we throw her most favourite toy UP the stairs at just the right moment it might slow her down a bit! This will work great for when we're leaving the house, but as for when we arrive ...

Unfortunately she doesn't seem to be affected by loud noises or reprimands (usually she doesn't react and it's our other two cats who act as though they're the guilty ones). She is the most fearless cat I have ever met so I think we're going to step it up a notch and take Werebear's advice - we're going to try having a stranger "spook" her so that (hopefully) she won't be interested in the door at all.

Thanks again everyone!
post #12 of 13
Just make it as scary as you can around the door. I know with ours, when we bring in groceries, they are locked in the basement so we don't have to worry about them sneaking out on purpose or accidentily

And one reason she may be wanting to get out is she is in season or close to it, so keep a very watchful eye on her
post #13 of 13
How about attaching a small window screen to a short broom handle and using it as a shield, or even just a tennis racket? It'll give you something to keep her back if nothing else as you scrunch your way out.
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