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What do you do if your cats won't use the sureflap?

(28 Posts)
valrhona Mon 01-Dec-14 14:37:30

Since the winter months came in, strange cats started coming in and freaking out Margot, who is a somewhat dim but sensitive soul. So I ordered a sureflap cat door in order to give her back her sense of territory and security etc. Dh installed it yesterday and neither cat is keen. I popped them outside yesterday before dinnertime and even though it was dark and cold, they only eventually came in when I propped the door open for them. Dh is convinced they're both too dim to get the hang of it (even though he absolutely dotes on the two of them) he's not convinced of their smarts. He may be right hmm
Does anyone have any suggestions??? please?? I am working so can't spend time coaxing them in during the day but will try again tonight at dinnertime.

GreenMouse Mon 01-Dec-14 14:57:17

I'm sure it's probably just the change of catflap that is spooking them a bit, they will get used to it soon enough! Two of mine had issues when I had to replace my sureflap for a newer model recently, even though they had been using the old one quite happily for ages. They were doing the "poor me locked out" face at the window for a couple of days, but now they're absolutely fine with it.

valrhona Mon 01-Dec-14 15:03:01

Oh Greenmouse, I hope you are right! I was laughing to myself at Coley's little poor-meeeee face yesterday outside the door. But I really do hope they get the hang of it. Your cats might be smarter than mine, god love them!!

Lonecatwithkitten Mon 01-Dec-14 16:40:16

Sometimes you need to prop the flap open for a while so they get used to the click. Even the terrified of her own shadow tail less wonder learned how to use it.

Archfarchnad Mon 01-Dec-14 20:29:21

Archcat uses the Sureflap, but he does still prefer us to open the door for him if we're around, and is also capable of doing the 'pathetic sad cat face' outside the door to be let in. At the beginning you have to stay hard and make it clear that it's through the flap or nothing.

Have you tried putting a few Dreamies in the flap itself, or a tempting heap of them directly on the other side where she can see it - so she has to go through to get to them.

We lock our Sureflap when it's dark so he has to stay in, and that confuses him more than anything else - that it's open sometimes and closed other times. So in the morning when it's open we often have to go up to the flap and call him over, then push it in to show him that he can go through. Archcat is also of the 'dim but sensitive' variety.

valrhona Mon 01-Dec-14 21:54:31

Well, got home tonight too late for dinner time, they'd been fed. Apparently given the choice between taking on cat flap and venturing out, well, they just stayed put all day. hmm

Arch I tried the dreamies on the outside rim of flap yesterday and Coley the marginally brighter of the duo made pathetic attempts to get at them and just knocked them off onto the ground when she batted the flap (sigh..)

Is poking them through the flap a bad plan (with treats awaiting them on the other side??) #kittytrauma

valrhona Mon 01-Dec-14 22:03:31

Dh now reporting poo found in his office. Is not happy. Trays were immaculate at 1am. Blaming me sad

BetsyBell Mon 01-Dec-14 22:05:52

Mine took a while to get used to the click. They'd probably get used to it quicker if they're on the outside - bit more incentive to use the flap then!

valrhona Mon 01-Dec-14 22:06:30

Not for the actual poo he found. Oh lord.

smile

Fluffycloudland77 Mon 01-Dec-14 22:07:02

Did you poo in the office?. Did you?

If you DIDN'T it is not your fault.

Sounds like you need to prop it open for them so they adapt, begrudgingly.

valrhona Mon 01-Dec-14 23:01:52

It wasn't my poo. Honest.

grin

Will put them out in the am and prop. What are the bets Coley the Brave gets in, knocks prop out and Nice but Dim Margot is stuck out all day confused

valrhona Tue 02-Dec-14 08:35:04

Both cats now refusing to use litter trays AND catflap. Dh not happy camper sad. Somebody peed in ds's lego overnight. A new and unwelcome development. Later on a poo was found near the fridge.
Not good. The trays had been used overnight which is only consolation.
We are going away for Christmas and got the sureflap put in so that they'd be safe and secure while we are away as we will be relying on cat sitters.

SureFlap Tue 02-Dec-14 11:31:54

Hi valrhona,

Firstly, thank you for choosing SureFlap! It can take some cats a while to get used to a new cat flap but we find that in most cases cats will adapt to it once they have got used to it!

Propping it open for a few days is a good idea. This will mean that any cat can get through, not to mention the cold weather, but it should be worth it in the long run. Try taping it open - this should prevent any cats knocking it closed.

Another thing you could try is adding your cats' scents to the cat flap to make them feel safer as they approach it. To do this, rub a cloth over your cat's face and then wipe the cloth around the frame of the cat flap.

I hope your cats get the hang of it soon!

Best wishes,
The SureFlap Team

valrhona Tue 02-Dec-14 14:21:06

I will tape up the flap, thanks for the reply Sureflap. Finger's and paws crossed!!!

Lovethesea Wed 03-Dec-14 13:14:38

Took my two a couple of days, I sellotaped it open for a couple of days til they were back and forward happily hearing the click.

I did throw dreamies in and out to encourage boldness!

They soon worked it out fine, ours is always open to our two and it is lovely they have safe access to outside without the risk of being followed in by the neighbourhood tough cats.

Huntercat headbutts it and comes in. Feistycat uses her paw to push it open the puts her head in carefully.

Ours has batteries that hardly ever need replacing but it did have them both stuck outside the other day as the red battery light went unnoticed! Oh the looks, the looks!

valrhona Wed 03-Dec-14 18:25:43

Well, as mentioned up thread, neither of mine would ever be contestants on Cat University Challenge. Door taped open all day. So going out is ok at least. Not sure about coming in for Margot who is not the smarter of the two. She waited for dh to come home and came in the front door with him. Litter trays were as I left them this morning and no poo/pee evident so we will count that as progress!!

Archfarchnad Wed 03-Dec-14 20:21:33

ooh, the SureFlap people have discovered the Litter Tray topic! Cooeee!

valrhona - another tip, don't know if you saw the recent BBC programmes on cat behaviour, but there there was a flap-refusing cat and the behaviourist said the family should add more plants, furniture etc directly in front of the flap outside so that the cat doesn't feel vulnerable or exposed when stepping outside the house. Although in your case poor Margot seems to have more issues with getting in again.

BTW, the behaviourist explicitly said you shouldn't try 'posting' the cat through the flap, as they have to work it out all themselves and really want to do it.

Archfarchnad Wed 03-Dec-14 20:22:20

Ah bugger, have just seen it's a door - not so practical with the furniture in front then grin.

valrhona Wed 03-Dec-14 22:34:29

Thank you Arch!!!! That is very useful. Will resist temptation to go postal on poor Margot. Also I have another door (patio type) so I can get access to the back garden etc and put a few garden chairs etc in front of cat flap while she contemplates the conundrum that is the new catflap. Saying a prayer to Egyptian cat gods that they get the hang of this before 16th December!!!

RandomMess Wed 03-Dec-14 22:38:31

I really hope we don't endure this when we move to our new house, although after being shut in for 2 weeks they will be desperate to get out and any cat flap will do????

I've heard it's common for them to not like the "clunk" of the sureflap hence the need to tape it open for a while.

Pipbin Wed 03-Dec-14 23:31:38

Well done to actual Sureflap for spotting the thread. I have heard good things about their customer service.

Anyway, we built ours in the middle of the living room so the cat kept walking near it and setting it off. With the encouragement of wool she went through it s few times. She also got to sent mark it a few times. Then when we put it in the actual door she was used to it.

Jux Thu 04-Dec-14 08:06:02

I see what the cat psych says, but if you're posting them through the new flap, then it is getting their scent on it.

GreenMouse Thu 04-Dec-14 12:55:26

Sureflap have fabulous customer service, I had an issue with my replacement flap and they couldn't have been more helpful.

valrhona Thu 04-Dec-14 19:55:36

Update: cats are using the taped up cat flap to get in and out. Somebody is pretty fed up with me though and has taken to peeing in ds's lego and play sets. confused
Also I don't know if randomers are coming in during the day. Who knows what's going on. Maybe it's not even one of my own cats doing the weeing.
Sigh. Please let all of this resolve soon [daily mail sad-face]

valrhona Thu 04-Dec-14 19:56:55

I rubbed Margot's scent on the flap today (used her blankie)

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