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How to Keep My Cat from Using the Dog Door: 11 Tips & Tricks

Written by: Christian Adams

Last Updated on February 6, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

cat looking curiously on the pet door

How to Keep My Cat from Using the Dog Door: 11 Tips & Tricks

Cats are curious creatures, and they can become attracted to using the dog door for various reasons, such as exploring new areas, following their canine siblings, or seeking an escape route. However, allowing your cat to use the dog door can be dangerous since it exposes them to hazards like traffic, predators, and getting lost.

To prevent your feline friend from using the dog door, we’ve compiled this comprehensive guide with 11 effective tips and tricks. Keep reading to learn how to protect your cat while ensuring they have a fulfilling indoor life.

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How to Keep My Cat from Using the Dog Door

1. Understand Your Cat’s Motivation

Before you can effectively address the issue, it’s essential to understand why your cat is using the dog door in the first place. Are they bored, curious, or seeking companionship with their canine sibling? Observing their behavior and considering their daily routine can provide valuable insights. Once you understand their motivation, you can tailor your approach to address the root cause of their behavior.

cat going outside using cat door
Image Credit: DextairPhotography, Shutterstock

2. Adjust the Size of the Dog Door

If possible, you can adjust the size of the dog door so that it’s too small or large for your cat to fit through comfortably. Finding the right size that allows your dog to pass through easily may require some trial and error while preventing your cat from following suit. Make sure to monitor your cat and dog when adjusting the door to ensure it’s comfortable for your dog and effective in deterring your cat.

3. Use Microchip or Magnetic Pet Doors

A more high-tech solution is to use a microchip or magnetic pet door that only opens for pets wearing a specific collar. This prevents your cat from using the dog door while still allowing your dog access. These advanced pet doors can provide an added layer of security, ensuring that only your authorized pets can enter and exit.

4. Deter Negative Behavior

Using deterrents like double-sided tape or aluminum foil on the dog door’s surface can discourage your cat from attempting to use it. Cats typically dislike the feeling of the materials on their paws, making them less likely to approach the dog door. You can regularly check and replace the deterrents as needed to maintain their effectiveness.

5. Use a Baby Gate

A simple yet effective solution is to place a baby gate in front of the dog door, preventing your cat from accessing it. This method allows you to maintain separate access points for your pets without altering the dog door, but you have to remove the baby gate when your dog needs to go out since it will block their access.

Safety baby gate on white background
Image Credit: Noel V. Baebler, Shutterstock

6. Create a Designated Cat Area

Establishing a designated area within your home for your cat, complete with toys, scratching posts, and hiding spots, can keep them entertained and less likely to venture outside through the dog door. This personalized space will also help your cat feel more at ease in their environment, reducing their desire to explore the outdoors.

7. Increase Indoor Enrichment

To keep your cat entertained indoors, you can provide various toys, puzzle feeders, and climbing structures. It will help prevent boredom and reduce their desire to explore outside using the dog door. Periodically rotating toys and introducing new enrichment items can keep your cat engaged and interested in their indoor environment.

cat playing with a ball and a tunnel at home
Image Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock

8. Spend Quality Time with Your Cat

Spending time playing, grooming, and cuddling with your cat is vital to strengthen your bond and keep them content indoors. It can also alleviate boredom that may be causing them to seek adventure outside. The time and attention you give your cat can significantly impact their well-being and happiness.

9. Monitor Your Dog’s Behavior

Ensure your dog isn’t encouraging the behavior. Watch for any signs that your dog may be inviting your cat to play or follow them outside through the dog door. Discourage this behavior and redirect your dog to play or explore indoors. Fostering healthy interactions between your pets can prevent unwanted behaviors from developing.

cat and dog together on sofa
Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

10. Provide a Safe Outdoor Space

Create a secure outdoor enclosure. If your cat is determined to enjoy the outdoors, consider building a secure outdoor enclosure (catio) so they can safely explore outside without using the dog door. A catio can provide your cat with the stimulation and enrichment they crave while protecting them from outdoor hazards.

11. Consult a Professional

If your cat continues to use the dog door despite your efforts, consider seeking advice from a professional animal behaviorist or trainer. They can provide tailored solutions and guidance based on your cat’s needs and behaviors. An expert’s perspective can be invaluable in addressing complex behavioral issues.

veterinarian doctor holds cat
Image Credit: H_Ko, Shutterstock



By understanding your cat’s motivation for using the dog door, providing alternative solutions, and reinforcing positive behavior, you can effectively prevent your cat from using the dog door. Remember, consistency and patience are essential when implementing these tips and tricks. With time and effort, you can teach your cat not to use the dog door or at least distract them when your dog uses it, ensuring their safety and your peace of mind.

Featured Image Credit: Astrid Gast, Shutterstock

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