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Cat flap training - please help!(9 Posts)
My cat is 19, and has been with me since he was 4 (I was a student!!)
We used to have a cat flap through the back door, which he learned to use with no problem at all at the age of 14. He'd go outside to pee and poo quite happily.
However, a year ago, we started some building work on our house. He was given a tray and we both hunkered down in a bedroom away from the disturbance for the duration.
However, the old cat flap has now been replaced - at some expense - with a cat flap that goes through the wall. As such, it has a bit of a tunnel on it, but is otherwise the same as the old flap. My cat cannot seem to get the hang of it, or of going outside to the loo.
I have tried putting him through the flap each evening, and coaxing him back (so far, he's only managed one way). He's reluctant to use it and doesn't seem in the least bit curious about it either.
I'm now resorting to taking the litter tray away and sitting in my dining room with the sliding doors open, waiting for him to go outside to wee. But no joy! He just keeps marching up to the place where the tray is usually kept and looking at me expectantly.
Advice and tips v welcome!!
He's 19. Let him keep the tray! Older cats normally prefer not to have to go outside to wee. And the best way to let him get used to the flap is to take the flap off for a while, so there is just a hole in the wall (easier in Summer than Winter of course). Then he will start going in and out if the mood takes him. and eventually when you put the flap back on that should continue. But don't take the tray away or expect him to go outside to toilet.
I think you'll find he is training you
I'd be happy for him to have a tray when I'm here - but when I go away it's a problem. I recently came back from a weekend away to a hall full of poo and litter, and an unhappy cat. I'm off to Italy for a much-needed week this summer, and I honestly think the cat will be cleaner and happier during that time if he can learn to go outside again.
Do you not have a cat sitter when you go on holiday?
A 19 year old cat is likely suffering from at least some degree of arthritis and is going to find navigating a cat flap with a tunnel difficult. Add to that potential other health issues (has he had any blood and urine tests to check kidney function?), he really needs a litter tray 24/7.
Yes, next door and I have a reciprocal cat-sitting arrangement. Their cat goes to the loo outside however and I don't feel I can ask them to clean a litter box for 7 days.
My cat is fine. He goes to the vet every 3 months for a check on his thyroid (he's on meds for that), but is in A1 health otherwise. He's sprightly as anything given his age.
I would really appreciate some tips from those who have trained cats to use a flap of this kind. He is well cared for and physically very able still. He enjoys going outside, but he can't get the hang of this particular arrangement for some reason.
Could it be that he can't see what's at the other end? I've read that giving them somewhere to hide when they get out the cat flap so they can see that there is no threat to them 'out there' helps.
Of course, he might just prefer being inside.
Spartacus - That makes sense. It is a dark tunnel as far as he is concerned and though he can smell the outside, maybe it seems threatening because he can't see. thecatneuter's idea of taking off both flaps for a bit may help if that is the case.
I am sitting with him downstairs, and he has just gone outside for a wee! But out of an open door, not the flap. Still, progress...
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