Teaching old cats new tricks

c: | f: Nature / Design

It appears that even something as humble as the catflap confounds members of the animal kingdom.

We have recently acquired a catflap that we thought would be a real boon for our pair of felines to come and go as they please, and of course selfishly easing the burden on cleaning the litter tray quite as often.

Sadly, both animals are baffled by the swinging cat-sized plastic and stare wistfully beyond it at the outside world until one of us presses it up for them to gracelessly squeeze through. Granted they’re getting long in the whiskers now, but I thought that something designed specifically for them might well trigger a vague notion of curiosity or familiarity and cause some spontaneous interaction. Or at least experimentation.

When it became clear they simply didn’t get it, I tried gently coercing the dimmer of the two towards it, then guiding his face against the translucent plastic to make him realise that he could control its motion. He just concertinaed up and ran to the comparative safety of the kitchen. Even the cleverer tortie considers it an interplanetary portal and won’t attempt entry / exit without human finger-propping intervention.

We tried laying a trail of biscuits outside for the prizewinner to munch, but that merely increased the amount of drool on the carpet immediately inside the flap and the volume of mewing to get the damn door open.

In the absence of any other plan, ideas on training approaches gratefully appreciated.

2 bods gave a toss

    teaching my cat tricks

    I have the same problem! I don’t know why they’re so damn scared of that flap. Hope our cats eventually figure it out!

    Stef Dawson

    Ours eventually sussed it — took a shade over six months though.

    Now they can’t leave it alone and it’s like Flapham Junction…. in, out, in, out… but it’s brilliant that they can come and go as they please.

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