As any cat owner knows, cats have a lot of quirks and idiosyncrasies. One of them is a hatred for closed doors, no matter what lies behind them. Sometimes, this innate drive to get into the closed room could lead to frantic meowing, scratching, pawing, and clawing at the door and doorknob.
If your cat has this quirk, it’s not an individual one. As it turns out, cats hating closed doors is a thing, and there could be many reasons behind it.
The 7 Likely Reasons Why Cats Hate Closed Doors
1. They’re Territorial
There’s some truth to the adage, “Dogs have masters, cats have slaves.” With their territorial nature, cats think they own your house and everything in it, so when you close a door, you’re cutting them off from “their territory.”
2. They’re Social
Though cats may be solitary in the wild, they’re social animals. They may bond with other cats in your household, dogs, and you, so they want to be part of the experiences and activities happening in your home. When a door is closed, they may be missing out on something.
3. They Have No Sense of Privacy or Personal Space
Every cat owner knows that cats aren’t that great at understanding the need for personal space, whether walking across your laptop while you work, lying across your chest and blocking your view, or sticking its butt in your face. With that, cats don’t understand why you need a door closed and why they can’t get in.
4. They’re Curious
Cats are curious—so much so that there’s an entire proverb dedicated to this quality (you know the one!). When a door is open, that room may not be that interesting. Close it, and suddenly your cat wants to get in and explore.
5. They’re Strong Survivalists
No matter how cushy your cat’s life is, it still has innate survival instincts that help the species survive. Cats that don’t have human caregivers, such as feral cats or strays, learn quickly that doors can be a source of shelter or food.
6. They Like Freedom
Many cats don’t feel comfortable confined in one space, even if that space is the whole house and the closed room is a tiny bathroom. To your cat, it could feel like it’s trapped. You may open the door and the cat will stay put, but it’s about having the option to leave.
7. You Conditioned the Behavior
It’s possible that your cat hates the closed door not on its own but because you conditioned it. If you’ve ever had a door closed, heard your cat meow, then opened the door, your cat learned that meowing opens doors and grants access.
Can Cats Become Comfortable With Closed Doors?
It’s common for cats to hate closed doors, but if this behavior becomes disruptive to your routine, you can train your cat to become more accepting of closed doors.
This starts by conditioning your cat to understand that it has a sanctuary space in your home. Choose a room, fill it with toys, a litter box, and food and water, then start with short sessions confined in the room. Go very slowly, increasing the time away gradually as your cat gets more comfortable. It’s better to take longer to get there than push the time to the point that your cat gets anxious.
Cats hate closed doors, but this is just another quirky behavior that’s common to the species. There are many reasons your cat may not like it when it’s confined or can’t access a room, but with gradual training, you can condition your cat to become more comfortable with certain rooms being off limits.
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