How to Keep Cats Out of Rooms

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The easiest way to keep cats out of rooms you don’t want them going into is to close doors, but that’s not always practical, or even possible. Instead, make cat-permissible rooms kitty-friendly and make off-limit spaces unattractive.

Start Early

Setting boundaries early will make it easier to enforce house rules. If possible, decide which rooms your cat is allowed in before you bring her home and set them up accordingly.

Tip

  • Any time you bring home a new cat it’s ideal if you can spend a few days with her to acclimate her to her new environment and gradually introduce her to different parts of your home so she’s not overwhelmed.

Cat Rooms

Make cat-accessible rooms appealing to your kitty so she’ll want to spend time in them. Litter box areas and feeding space should be private, clean and well-maintained. Place cat trees, toys and bedding and scratching posts in the places you’d most like your kitty to spend her time.

Tip

  • Play with your cat and give treats in cat-friendly rooms to make them desirable spots.

Noncat Rooms

Place upside down plastic floor mats at the entry to rooms you want your cats to steer clear of. Alternatively, use sticky tape on the floor of doorways -- cats don’t like the feel of these surfaces and will be less likely to cross boundaries. Jumping is a possibility. You may need to cover floors with a wide swath of material to keep your cat from vaulting herself into no-go rooms. Also consider using commercial sprays that deter cats from certain areas or place high gates in front of doors to block off space.

Tip

  • Cats don’t like the smell of vinegar, coffee grounds, moth balls or orange peels, so if the smells are palatable to you, and you don’t have other animals or small children about, set bowls of these in the entry ways of no-cat rooms.

Warning

  • Some tape leaves sticky residue on your floor. Read labels to ensure you’re getting the right tape for your flooring.

Semi-Cat Rooms

Chances are there are some rooms you’re OK with cats being in, as long as they follow your rules. For example, the kitchen might be considered a permissible space provided kitty doesn’t jump on tables or counter tops. Instead of making rooms entirely off-limits, cat-proof certain areas. Place cookies sheets on no-jump surfaces -- kitty will get a nonharmful scare when she lands on them and they clatter about.

Enforce Rules

If your cat goes into a room that’s off-limits, take her out immediately and reinforce the method you were using to keep her out. A water spray bottle can shoo her from a no-room. Don’t yell at your cat or physically punish her -- it won’t fix the problem, only scare or hurt her.

Tip

  • If your cat urine-marks a particular part of a room, she’ll be attracted to that space again. Clean up accidents as soon as you find them and use an enzymatic cleaner to remove all trace of the smell to prevent marking again.

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