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10 Ways to Keep Cats Out of Rooms: Easy & Humane Tips

cats outside the bedroom
Image Credit: Lucamato, Shutterstock
Last Updated on November 16, 2023 by Kathryn Copeland

Our beloved feline friends absolutely love to do things that we really don’t want them to do. Sometimes it seems like they do it on purpose! This can also include going into places that you would prefer they didn’t. It could be a basement with dangerous chemicals, or perhaps it’s a room with all kinds of expensive collectibles, or it may even be your bedroom at night.

So, if you’re wondering how to keep your cat out of a room, you’ve come to the right place, as we’ll go over 10 different safe methods to accomplish just this.

The 10 Ways on How to Keep a Cat Out of a Room

1. Shut That Door!

A very obvious yet effective method. You’ve probably already been doing this, and your cat has found other ways of sneaking in, which is why you’re reading this article. But humor us as we highlight the importance of keeping the door closed.

  • Make a point of entering and exiting the room and quickly shutting the door behind you. You can use treats and cat toys to distract your cat if necessary.

If you don’t actually have a door, you could either install one or look into placing a barrier that will prevent your cat from entering the room.

  • If your cat is old or not very agile, you could probably get away with a baby gate or purchase a pet gate that might be a little taller.

2. Ignore Cat Behavior

If you notice your cat scratching the door, whether you’re in the room or not, you need to ignore this as best as you can. If your cat receives attention from you, even if it’s negative in nature, she will see this as a good thing. It turns into a game, or she’s just happy to receive any attention at all.

If she doesn’t manage to get into the room, and you pay her no attention, she’ll get bored and find someone else to harass or something else to do.

bored domestic cat
Image Credit: IceEye, Pixabay

3. Use a Scent Deterrent

Since you can’t ignore the scratching behavior indefinitely, you will need to make the door unattractive to her. Cats naturally dislike a variety of different scents that, if placed on or near a door, will make them avoid it completely.

Some of these scents include but are not limited to:
  • Citrus (lemon, orange, lime, and grapefruit)
  • Mint (especially peppermint and wintergreen)
  • Menthol (eucalyptus)
  • Cinnamon
  • Vinegar
  • Hot and spicy scents (like curry and pepper)
  • Some seasonings (thyme, rosemary, and rue)
  • Lavender and geranium

Just be sure to be very careful if you decide to use essential oils as a way to deter your cat. Many essential oils can prove fatal to cats, so you’ll want to prevent your cat from having any physical contact with the oils. Even inhaling certain essential oils can cause illness and breathing difficulties.

You can try soaking some cotton balls in a strong scent and put them in a container that has small holes in it. Place this near the door, and your cat might not want to go near it.

There are also sprays that use both sound and a pheromone scent that is designed to calm and stop your cat from unwanted behaviors.

4. Use a Taste Deterrent

Like with strong scents, there are also strong tastes that will put your cat off. Of course, this means you’ll have a door with some kind of food substance smeared on part of it. Still, hopefully, once your cat associates the room with this disgusting taste, she might lose interest in it.

These tastes include commercial bitter sprays and anything hot and spicy (hot sauce is a good choice). Using taste as a deterrent for a door won’t be as effective as the other sense deterrents (smell, touch, and sound), but it’s worth a try if nothing else works.

5. Use a Sound Deterrent

Like most animals, cats are very sensitive to loud and sudden sounds. However, the one thing you need to keep in mind is that it’s best if you don’t make the loud noise yourself as that still equals attention. Your cat will associate the scary noise with you and not the door and room.

There are motion detector sprays that emit a startling hissing sound that will occur if your cat goes near it so it can be placed next to the room in question.

There are also collars that can be placed on your cat that emit a high-frequency sound that will deter your cat from entering any space you choose.

If you decide to go old school and make the noises yourself, you can try things like pennies or stones in a can that you shake suddenly or blow a whistle. Again, as already mentioned, you need to be sneaky about this, so your cat doesn’t actually see you do it.

This method should also be only used as a last resort. The last thing you want to do is make your cat nervous or a cat that is already skittish even more skittish.

6. Use a Touch Deterrent

Cats are known to dislike the sensation of their paws sticking to things. If your cat is constantly scratching at the door, you could put tape designed to prevent cats from sharpening their claws on surfaces on the door. You can also use regular double-sided tape or just make your own using packing tape (or any other tape you might have on hand).

You can also tape aluminum foil to the door or tape it to the floor in front of the room, so she’ll want to avoid those areas. However, avoid using any of these as deterrents if your cat tends to chew on everything.

7. Redirect Cat

When your cat starts obsessing over the room, you can try playing with her as a way to distract her. You should invest in setting up a space for her that is, essentially, cat enriched. Lots of places to climb and scratch, high perches, and toys. If she has her own comfortable space, she might be happy to spend time there and less worried about the room she isn’t allowed to go into.

Be sure to spend lots of time with your cat in her space and make a fuss over her (if she’s the kind of cat who appreciates a fuss). Give her treats, play with her, make this space as appealing and special as you can.

8. Make the Room Uncomfortable For Your Cat

If you make the room your cat is interested in uncomfortable for her, she should lose the desire to enter it (play loud music and spray vinegar, so the room smells unappealing, for example). If the room is your bathroom, spill some water on the floor, and she won’t be as interested in coming in in order to avoid getting her paws wet.

Just be careful again with this method. Don’t allow your cat to experience any discomfort that she will associate with you.

angry cat close up
Image Credit: Rudy and Peter Skitterians, Pixabay

9. Only Use Positive Reinforcement

Never punish your cat. Like a broken record, we’re going to keep repeating the same message. Any type of punishment you inflict on your cat will only teach her to fear you instead of preventing any negative behavior.

Most of the suggestions in this article are designed to help prevent your cat from going into a room, but this needs to be accomplished without looking like you’re the one directing the various deterrents.

Lots of patience and love will go a long way when you’re attempting to “train” your cat.

10. Consistency Is Key

Ensure you are consistent with your rules. Don’t allow your cat in the room at times and then punish her other times. This will only confuse your cat, so your room should either be completely off-limits at all times, or you let her in whenever she wants.

cat training
Image Credit: Andriy Blokhin, Shutterstock

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Conclusion: Keep Cat Out of Room

Don’t forget that your cat shouldn’t catch you in the act of sabotage. She will associate the negativity with you and not with the room you’re trying to keep her out of. Some of the products mentioned are automatic and will keep you out of the picture, but if you can’t afford to buy something at this time, you’ll just need to be extra sneaky.

Not every method listed here will work for every cat, so you will need to try out a number of different approaches until you find one that works for you both. Hopefully, we’ve given you some ideas that will help keep your cat out of a room. Perhaps when it’s all said and done, your cat will end up forgetting all about that room and will be much happier in her own catified space.

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Featured Image Credit: Lucamato, Shutterstock

About the Author

Kathryn Copeland
Kathryn Copeland
Kathryn was a librarian in a previous lifetime and is currently a writer about all things pets. When she was a child, she hoped to work in zoos or with wildlife in some way, thanks to her all-consuming love for animals. Unfortunately, she's not strong in the sciences, so she fills her days with researching and writing about all kinds of animals and spends time playing with her adorable but terribly naughty tabby cat, Bella. Kathryn is hoping to add to her family in the near future – maybe another cat and a dog.

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