Cat flap woes

(27 Posts)
ilovemargaretatwood8931 Tue 09-Jun-15 20:09:04

Hello cat people! Any advice and help greatly appreciated.

I've had cats all my life and have never yet come across one who seems unable to work out a cat flap- until now.

We have a lovely, sweet natured and charming kitten who will be 1 next month. For the last 5 months, we've been trying to teach him to use the flap; he doesn't really get it, still.

Annoyingly, we have all sorts of other cats come in and out of it, it's getting ridiculous and beyond a joke now- they eat his food daily, they creep about the house in the dead of night and generally annoy us.

So, I'd like to get one of the flaps that read your cats microchip, or maybe one of those that read a chip in a collar. This would hopefully stop the unwanted visitors. But am very reluctant to do so before making sure our cat can actually use a flap!

So, my questions are-

1. Have you any sure fire tips on how to train a cat to use it's flap?

2. Have any of you ever come across a cat that won't/can't learn? Is this possible?

3. What experience do you have of these special cat flaps that use a chip recognizer? Are they worth the money, do they work?

Thank you, I look forward to ANY replies!

Lozzie12 Tue 09-Jun-15 20:13:41

I'm not sure about teaching him to use the flap but we have a Surelflap for our dog and 2 cats and it's fantastic. Highly recommended and keeps the other cats out.

Fluffycloudland77 Tue 09-Jun-15 20:16:03

How does he get out if he doesn't use a flap?

TheOneWiththeNicestSmile Tue 09-Jun-15 20:16:49

Our cats can use a flap but 2 of them still sit in front of it looking at us imploringly (it is quite a snug fit but they manage to get back in ok grin)

Have you tried taping it open during the day so he gets used to popping in and out of the hole?

ilovemargaretatwood8931 Tue 09-Jun-15 20:20:30

We let him in and out of the back door a lot, and always make sure he's not shut out for the whole day if it is raining etc.

I worry that because he is used to us doing this, he has no 'reason' or impetus to actually learn, so I wonder if we should stop doing this, but always feel very sorry for him if he wants out/in.

When we went away for a weekend, we took the door off the flap for him so that he could get in and out at will, and he can use the flap then absolutely fine. But the door mechanism seems to baffle him.

ilovemargaretatwood8931 Tue 09-Jun-15 20:24:47

Cross post TheOne! Yes, we've done taping it up, and he really likes going in and out, so in theory we could just leave it at that, but I don't want all the heat to escape the house in winter. So would rather he learned to operate the door.

Also, I worry that a taped open door is such an open invitation to all and sundry!

Sorry, I should have put this in my OP. Sorry to drip feed.

TheOneWiththeNicestSmile Tue 09-Jun-15 20:26:25

I often open the door to let ours out; sometimes I hold the flap open for them instead, just to make the point! I suppose head-butting it can be a bit uncomfortable though...

How about sort of feeding him?through it ( head first)?

There is a larger size of the Sureflap door. It's more expensive but may be worth considering that?

Methe Tue 09-Jun-15 20:29:03

We have a sure flap and it's fantastic. It cost a fucking fortunes to install as has to go through a wall but it's well worth it. We've got some right bolshy cats in the street that would be in here all the time wothout it. I couldn't offier any advice about training cats to use the, though, both mine had it sussec within 20 minutes.

RiverTam Tue 09-Jun-15 20:30:31

No idea how to train them to use one, ours hit it without much bother.

We have the microchip one and it's worth its weight in gold. We have had some very aggressive cats round our way so it offers our cats some protection from them.

ilovemargaretatwood8931 Tue 09-Jun-15 20:30:34

Thank you for these suggestions everyone. smile

We've done the passing him back and forth through the flap a number of times, he doesn't seem to grasp it still, but I think that I need to really just do that loads more.

Will up my commitment to teaching him!

The sureflap looks excellent though, I want him to use that by winter!

slippermaiden Tue 09-Jun-15 20:31:15

We have a sure flap cat flap that uses my cats micro chip to work. No problems with setting up. Cat is happy to use it. Can turn dial to in only, out only, in and out or locked completely.

Fluffycloudland77 Tue 09-Jun-15 20:36:13

I think the tail is wagging the dog here.

Stop all assistance, if he wants out he has to use the flap.

Be hard hearted because you will get a furry face pleading at the flap looking heartbroken.

ilovemargaretatwood8931 Tue 09-Jun-15 20:40:15

Fluffy, I think you are right. It's time to harden my heart.

My aim now is to train him to use the flap, and then I'm absolutely buying a sureflap. I can't face many more nights of finding a random Siamese (I think) cat in the bedroom!

PeppermintCrayon Tue 09-Jun-15 20:45:02

Our Sureflap is great. We used treats to tempt PeppermintCat through at first. He dislikes the cat flap and will paw at it mournfully and scratch the door if we are around.

Fluffy is right!!

TheOneWiththeNicestSmile Tue 09-Jun-15 20:51:44

OP might just have a spectacularly thick cat though

soimpressed Tue 09-Jun-15 21:02:15

We have a sure flap and it has been fantastic for our nervous cat who is terrified if another cat comes in the house. Our cat took ages to get used to it and for a while we had the flap tied up so it was open all the time. She started to use it then, especially if we enticed her in with treats. The flap clicks as they go through so she was nervous of that at first. Then I read about putting a large chunk of blu-tac down the side of the cat flap. The flap stayed fully open at first but each day I moved the blu-tac down a tiny bit so the flap was slightly less open. She slowly got used to having to push it open and now she uses it all the time.

ilovemargaretatwood8931 Tue 09-Jun-15 21:05:27

TheOne grin

This has crossed my mind!

His party trick is playing fetch with hairbobbles, but he's not always very good at the fetch bit...

He's very sweet though.

I think I'd forgotten how different cats can be. Our old cat died last year aged about 18, he was so lovely, and so different in his cat flap ability!

Fluffycloudland77 Tue 09-Jun-15 21:11:50

Let's hope he's manipulative not dense.

ilovemargaretatwood8931 Tue 09-Jun-15 21:40:21

so impressed the blue tack idea is brilliant! I think I'll do that!

Thank you

RabbitsarenotHares Wed 10-Jun-15 15:00:27

I did a similat thing as soimpressed but with a clothes peg rather than blutack.

During the day I made sure it was fully open one way or the other (because if it was just slightly down the wrong way she'd have had more trouble). In the evening, though, I'd swing it to the opposite way she was, so when she went out it was open into the house, and when out it was opened to the outside. Each evening the peg went lower.

Then, at the weekend, I closed it completely, armed myself with her favourite treats (expensive dried chicken cubes which a friend had given her) and spent ten minutes throwing them through the door, waiting for her to go through to get them, then waving more inside again. It helped, obviously, that the door was see-through!

She wasn't totally convinced, at one point simply stretching her head through to pick up the treats without having to walk through, but we got there eventually. When she went out for a wander I did make sure there were more treats within sight to tempt her back in. For a few days she wasn't convinced she should open the door without treats being offered though!

And yes, I have a Sureflap and it is brilliant! Stops the local Tom coming in a spraying everywhere!

PolterGoose Wed 10-Jun-15 15:42:07

I would start with a standard flap but take the magnetic strip off the flap so it opens and closes gently and quietly.

RubbishMantra Wed 10-Jun-15 15:57:21

Is your current cat-flap lockable? Then you won't wake up to random cats in the house. Also good to keep your boy in overnight, that's when cats most often come to harm, re. RTAs, foxes etc.

MCat's perfectly capable of using the flap, yet will still stare wistfully through it. Why do they do that?

RandomMess Wed 10-Jun-15 16:01:36

Our sure flap gets through it's batteries every couple of months and for some reason our dog can get out but not back in (think it's the step up as she's a snug fit)

If only the sure flap microchip worked for both in & out modes!!!

RandomMess Wed 10-Jun-15 16:02:37

Yes to what RubbishMantra says, we keep our cats locked in overnight as it's much safer for them and often a condition of homing pedigrees for that reason.

PeppermintCrayon Wed 10-Jun-15 16:43:19

We have had ours over a year and only had to change batteries once or twice

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