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Home > Cats > How to Train a Cat to Use a Cat Flap (5 Tips & Tricks)

How to Train a Cat to Use a Cat Flap (5 Tips & Tricks)

blue tabby maine coon kitten standing in front of cat flap

A cat flap is a great way to allow your cat in and out of the house without leaving grubby paw marks on the walls and windowsills or having your flowerpots constantly knocked over.

While some cats will approach a cat flap with curiosity, some may be more skeptical; either way, your cat will need some coercing.

We’ve compiled a list of tips and tricks to help you train your cat to use a cat flap confidently. Your cat may be uninterested at first, but have patience and remember that some cats take time to get used to the door. Let’s get started!


Before You Start

When training your pet to use a cat flap, your cat needs to learn to get in and out of the cat flap and how to operate it. It may be a process that takes longer than you expect, but patience is critical. Use this opportunity to strengthen your bond and build a closer relationship with your cat.

Kittens from about 6 months are usually easier to train, but if your cat is older, these tips will still help. You will need a treat your cat is willing to work for. It may be different for every cat, but it could be a piece of dried kibble, kitty treats, or even wet food. Your cat may even be willing to work for its favorite toy.

It may be hard to keep your cat’s attention, so keep sessions short to keep them engaged.

cat going through microchip cat flap
Image By: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock

The 5 Tips for Training a Cat to Use a Cat Flap

1. Introduce the Cat Flap

Introduce the cat flap to your cat before you install it. Allow your cat to sniff it, paw at it, and get familiar with it on its own terms. You can show your cat how it moves and even encourage your cat to walk through it, making it a fun game. By allowing your pet to sniff around and rub against it, your cat can familiarize itself with this new contraption and leave its scent.

2. Install the Cat Flap and Leave it Open

After a day or two, you can install the cat flap on your door, but leave it open. This way, your cat can slowly get used to going in and out of the hole first. It can lay next to the opening and eventually learn that it is a safe and familiar area of the house.

You can lure your cat by placing its favorite toy or treat at the opening for a bit of extra motivation. Your cat will slowly associate the cat flap with a positive thing and will be more drawn to go there.

brown cat flap installed in the back door of a house
Image Credit: loocmill, Shutterstock

3. Get Your Cat Familiar with the Noise of the Flap

As you may know, cats can be startled by a sudden and loud noise, and some cat flaps can make a loud noise when they close. Some cats won’t mind it, but some may be more sensitive to it. Introduce the sound of the flap to your cat by opening and closing it. You can do this gently to start so that your cat gets used to the sound and is more familiar with where it’s coming from. If your cat is happy around the noise, reward it with a treat to create a positive association.

Keep practicing these steps until your cat is confident going through with the sound of the cat flap.

4. Teach Your Cat to Push the Flap

Some cats may find the step from a fully open cat flap to a closed one too difficult. Close the flap of the door just a little by propping it. That way, your cat can still see through but must push it slightly to get through. This will slowly teach your cat to use the door, and once your cat has mastered it, you can remove the prop. Some cats may prefer to use their paws to open the flap and push their head through, while others will prefer to just use their head to push it open. There is no right or wrong way, so allow your cat to use whichever method it chooses.

cat's head on microchip cat flap
Image Credit: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock

5. Patience

Patience is the keyword when it comes to training your pets. Cats are usually stubborn, and they don’t enjoy being forced to do anything, so take it at their pace. Move on gradually and patiently so that you and your cat are not stressed out.


Is the Cat Flap the Right Fit?

If your cat still seems hesitant to use the cat flap, consider if it is the right fit. The shape, height, and position are all crucial factors in teaching your cat to use a cat flap.

  • Measure the distance between your cat’s belly and the floor to ensure it is at the proper height for your cat. Cat flaps are typically installed 15 centimeters from the floor.
  • Your cat may be more hesitant to use the flap if it enters a large open space. Large spaces make cats feel vulnerable, so make an effort to keep the path directly outside the cat flap as sheltered as possible.
  • If your cat suddenly stops using the cat flap, check that it hasn’t become uncomfortable.



Remember that training your cat to use a cat flap will require patience, as cats generally don’t enjoy change and can be stubborn. Your cat may take to it easily and quickly, or it may be resistant for some time. Make sure the cat flap is the right size and position, use positive reinforcement to reward your cat, and keep sessions short so that your cat doesn’t get bored. Once your cat is confidently using its personal door, it will feel more independent, and you can rest easy knowing that your cat can come in and out as it needs to.

Featured Image Credit: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock

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