We recently installed a cat flap for our cat. Actually, my hubby did. It took about 3 hours. It’s supposed to take about 15 minutes, but because of the awkward door panels and the amount of my time my husband likes to contemplate such undertakings, it took quite a while. During the installation ordeal, Stiggy and I did our bit by sitting in the sitting room, watching funny cat flap videos on You Tube and shouting encouraging words now and then. It was best we stay out of the way, really.
Our cat is a bit of a softy. This cat flap has a magnetic catch so that it’s not flapping about in the wind. This requires the cat to push his head against the flap with a bit more force than a free-flowing one. Now, most cats are aggressive creatures and will butt their little heads against anything just to see if it will move. Not our cat. If a door isn’t open exactly enough for him to fit through, he’ll sit by it and wait for someone to open it for him. So, I knew I had my work cut out for my with trying to train him to use it.
The first hurdle was just to get him to go through it for the first time. When he was ready to go outside, I held the flap open and he hesitantly went through. When our cat wants to come inside, he usually sits on the hood of our car (where we can see him through our sitting room window) and waits to be let in the front door. So, the next time I saw him, I had to call him through the cat flap (which is in the side door). He came through it with me holding the flap open, no problem. I then decided to tape the flap open so that he could come and go as he pleased. For some reason, he still goes to the front door when he wants in or out, so I have to call him to the flap.
He’s come in and out of he flap several times now, but it’s not yet a habit. He still tries the front door first. Well, it takes humans 21 times to make or break a habit, and I imagine it’s not much different for a cat.
Well, this morning I taped the flap open again, Me-me went out, and I sat down in the sitting room to have breakfast. I got up a few minutes later to get something from the kitchen, and I arrived just in time to see the fat back side of Me-me’s number one enemy, Scruffy Cat (part Scottish Fold), high-tailing it out the flap. Great.
I cut the tape. Time to get Me-me to use his head to open the flap. When he turned up, I again called him to the flap.
I dangled his pouch in front of him, encouraged him…he’d come right up to the flap, but he would not press his precious head against it. I then grabbed the bit of tape hanging from the flap and pulled it in just an inch or so…success! He pushed his head against it and opened it the rest of the way. We still have a ways to go yet, but hopefully he’ll get there soon.