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Can Cats Open Doors? – What You Need To Know

Cats are such fascinating creatures. They are full of their unique quirks that keep us owners highly amused and on our toes. Cats are also very intelligent beings and they tend to learn things pretty quickly. A lot of people think that cats are aloof, but this isn’t technically true.

They are actually very clever on the grand scale of things and have long memories which is a great basis for learning. Cats usually adapt to their surroundings well and they love to mimic and copy our patterns and behavior.

More recently we were asked if it was possible for cats to open a door and we thought we’d look into this topic a little further for you.

So, can cats open doors? It is completely possible for a cat to open a door if they feel the desire to do so. Cats are pretty intelligent beings and know exactly what they want. You won’t find too many cats doing this on a regular basis, but they certainly have the capability and know-how to do so.

Cats are very determined when they want to be. They often don’t take too kindly to things being in their way and will usually scratch and claw their way in and out of everything.

Opening doors is certainly not off the agenda if they see fit. Cats have the ability to jump and climb pretty well which just makes it so much easier for them to open doors if they wish to do so.

Can cats open doorknobs vs door handles?

Although it is fair to say that cats are very intelligent and are completely capable of opening doors their success at this will often depend on the type of door handle that is present. If a door is built with a regular push down handle then this is the easiest way for cats to open a door.

These types of handles, particularly those used on doors inside the home are pretty simple to maneuverer and if you find opening the door handle easy yourself, you can be sure your cat will also.

There are several ways in which a cat may be able to open a door handle:

  • By climbing on nearby furniture and pushing down on the door handle (usually pawing at the handle)
  • Stretching up and pulling down on the handle (some cats have pretty long bodies and can stretch up quite high)
  • Jumping up to catch the door handle with their paws

You may be thinking that this is quite unlikely to happen and it is true to say that most cats are not tempted at all to go to the lengths of opening a door, but it is highly possible. Some cats are most skilled at this and will usually be the cheekiest of the bunch. 

Unless you choose to categorically lock doors there is always the possibility that your cat will decide to open them. Some owners choose to shut cats into a separate room at night, mostly to discourage destructive behavior whilst the rest of the household is asleep.

If this is the case with your own kitty, you need to be aware that there is still the possibility of them escaping by opening the door themselves.

If you have doorknobs rather than handles, it is much less likely your cat will be able to open the door. When you think about it logically, the action of opening a doorknob is very different from a handle. It would be much harder for your cat to be able to master the doorknob.

Door knobs need to be turned the correct way to open successfully and you require a certain level of grip to be able to do so which cats may find tricky to achieve. It’s not to say however that a cat can’t do this and if they did we would consider it to be a lucky try that just by chance went in their favor.

Is it normal for cats to open doors?

We wouldn’t go as far as to say that it is normal for cats to open doors, however, there are cats out there that will happily choose to do this.

It is rare, but not impossible depending on the types of door handles you have in your home. Cats can be pretty cheeky creatures and some just can’t help but get up to mischief.

Cats are very clever creatures and are quick learners. They love to mimic the behaviors and actions of others. You will probably find that opening doors is something they have seen you do many times before. Once they have caught on to how to do this, it will not take them long to master the art of opening the door.

This isn’t an action you should be necessarily worried about and it is not very common for most cats, however, it can be particularly annoying for you. Especially if you are trying to keep your kitty somewhat contained at night.

Cats can become very boisterous at night and cause destruction in the home which is why some owners to choose shut their kitty in their own room overnight.

Why do cats try to open doors?

For the most part, cats will not open doors unnecessarily. You will usually find they will reserve these types of antics when they are trapped somewhere.

A good example of this is when a cat is shut into a room overnight. They can be pretty upset about the fact that they cannot walk about the house causing trouble and doing as they please so they hatch an escape route. If they know they are capable of opening the door to set themselves free they will be sure to do so.

Another example would be if you have a door closed in the home that is usually open. Your kitty will find it very strange that the door is closed and will want to know what is going on. They are likely familiar with what is behind the door and instinctively want to inspect it to make sure all is okay.

Cats are creatures of habit, and although they can be very good at adapting to their environment, change does startle them.

Cupboard doors are usually a good call for cats, after all, there could be a tasty treat the other side right? These types of doors are much more common for cats to open. There is usually a good incentive on the other side and you will find cats find these much easier to open since they are on a much lower level.

How do I stop my cat from opening doors?

It can be very annoying if your cat keeps opening doors, particularly if they are doing so to get to places they shouldn’t be. It can be a difficult behavior to try and stop. All the amount of training in the world is not likely to help much since cats are so strong-willed. 

When a dog is trained correctly they usually try their best to please their owners. We are sorry to say that cats don’t see things in quite the same way and therefore when it comes to cats opening doors it is a case of prevention rather than cure.

Let’s look at some of the best ways that you could try to prevent your cat from opening doors:

  • Lock Doors – This is not always so convenient, but if have a persistent cat that continually opens doors you may want to consider locking them completely if you can. Most doors inside do not lock, but if you have the capability to do so this could be a great solution.
  • Childproof Clips – If your cat continually opens cupboard doors then you may want to invest in some child safety clips to prevent them from doing so. Cats love to try and sneak into kitchen cupboards just like toddlers do and childproof clips work wonders!
  • Paper Weights – Place a paperweight the other side of your doors to stop your cat from opening them. They may still be able to maneuver the handles, but the door will not physically open. This could be slightly less annoying than having to lock all the doors.
  • Citronella (citrus sprays) – If your kitty is continually targeting a specific door that you do not want them to go anywhere near, try cornering off the area with a Citronella spray. Cats can’t stand the smell of citrus and this will keep them well away from the door that they keep trying to open (do not spray all around the house or your cat will likely disappear on you)
  • Leave doors open – If your cat’s door opening antics are getting too much, why not just leave all your doors inside open. Sometimes cats are persistent about going places where they know they are not allowed to go. If you keep the doors open they may just genuinely get bored and leave well alone.

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