How to Keep a Cat From Running Out the Door

Black cat in doorway
Black cat in doorway (Image: Krasnevsky/iStock/Getty Images)

The "strictly indoor" lifestyle is difficult for some cats. If you have one of those cats who bolts for freedom every time the door opens, an electronic cat deterrent should keep him from escaping. But accommodation and compromise might be a happier solution for both of you.

Things You'll Need

  • Electronic pet deterrent
  • Vinyl floor mat
  • Treats
  • Coins
  • Empty soda can
  • Harness and leash

Keeping Kitty Inside

Set up an electronic pet deterrent, such as StayAway, near the door. When the cat approaches, the device will make a high-pitched sound that only a cat can hear and will emit a brief, harmless spray of compressed air. You'll find StayAway and similar devices at pet supply stores.

Put a vinyl desk chair mat at the door, cleats up. The cleats are uncomfortable underfoot, and your cat will not like walking on them. Although these mats are thick and stiff, it's possible to cut them into strips. Office supply stores sell them.

Distract the cat. Just before you open the door, gently toss a few treats in the cat's direction. Make sure they land several feet from the door. Your cat should be so busy hunting for the treats, he may not notice that you've opened the door.

Discipline the cat. Put some coins in an empty soda can to create a noisemaker. If you cat approaches the open door, shake the can and say "no" firmly.

When Mittens Must Feel Fresh Air

Take your cat outside on a harness and leash. She'll enjoy the outdoor time, and she'll realize it's no longer necessary to run for the door every time it opens.

Let your cat join you on the deck or in the garden. As long as you're outside, she'll probably stay with you.

Consider building an outdoor enclosure for your cat. An enclosure is inexpensive and easy to build, and will allow your cat to enjoy being outdoors safely.

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