Cat won't use cat flap

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notjustacat
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Cat won't use cat flap

Post by notjustacat »

Recently a cat has been coming into the house at night via the cat flap. My cat lives in an upstairs bedroom where it has everything it requires to make it happy and relaxed. The other morning I got up to find my cats' bed all rumpled up, her food bowl empty and her missing, which was unusual as she is normally on her bed waiting for breakfast. Did I not hear a commotion you may ask. Well unfortunately I am deaf and don't hear anything once I take my hearing aid out at night. My cat did return during that day but then started sleeping downstairs. After the above I set the cat flat at night so that my cat could leave through it but not enter. This resulted in me having restless nights going downstairs quite a few times during the night to check if my cat needed to be let in (which on most occasions it did). Then one morning I found the cat flap door broken I suspect by the renegade cat.
Having searched for a replacement cat flap I found one that is activated by the cats microchip and was just what was required. Now the problem is that my cat won't even attempt to use it. When I first fitted it she was inside and sat by the back door refusing to use the flap and waited to be let out via the door. The same when she is outside she sat waiting to be let in. I think because she thinks she can't get in the house she has taken to disappearing for longer periods of time. She,Cheyenne I have had for two years and got her as a very, very nervous four year old. So what to do?, any advise will be very much appreciated.
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Kay
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Re: Cat won't use cat flap

Post by Kay »

I have no direct experience of microchip activated catflaps, but I was wondering if there is any chance her chip hasn't yet registered so it isn't opening for her - could she perhaps have tried to use it when you weren't around, found it didn't work, and have given up on it?

sometimes a cat needs to rush indoors to escape an enemy outside, so I wouldn't risk having her shut out - better shut in safe but frustrated than denied entry when in a panic
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Crewella
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Re: Cat won't use cat flap

Post by Crewella »

I don't have much experience of cat flaps, but might it be worth just propping it open for a couple of days to get her used to going through it again?

I've followed her story since you started posting, I do hope you get something sorted out for her, you've done so well. xx
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andybriz
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Re: Cat won't use cat flap

Post by andybriz »

I think if you just keep her in, but with it unlocked the overwhelming need to go out will eventually make her use it.. Don't open a door/window to let her in otherwise she'll never use it. She will then use it to come in for food.

I have a Sureflap one and it is great, but the first week or so I had to hold it open for them/push them through it constantly. And coming back in it makes a click noise once it registers the chip which can be off putting for them but they soon got used to it.

At night I keep mine in, but I can't just lock it, I need to put the kitchen bin in front of it, otherwise they push the plastic with their heads so hard the plastic starts to bend at the corner and I'm scared it's going to snap! They do seem flimsy.

I remember back in the 80's we had a cat flap at home where you slid a solid panel in the front to lock it, which seems a better design to me, but then this was before chips! But you should be fine if you keep yours open day and night.
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notjustacat
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Re: Cat won't use cat flap

Post by notjustacat »

Thank you Crewella and Kay for your thoughts. She came back yesterday having been gone all the previous night and sat waiting for me to open the back door. When I first installed the new flap with Cheyenne outside and saw that she was wary of it, I tried enticing her through by putting her favourite tip bits in the entrance. She pushed her head far enough in to take them so that it is her chip recorded in the flap. However yesterday, I had some friends visit while Cheyenne was in the house having been let in. In normal Cheyenne fashion she panicked on seeing them and headed for the cat flap. She decided escape through it was her only option. So she has gone through it and it has recorded her chip. But she has been gone another night and today also. I'm not sure whether I should put a manual cat flap back in and/but would it resolve the problem. She obviously loved that old cat flap.
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notjustacat
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Re: Cat won't use cat flap

Post by notjustacat »

Hi andybriz that is useful info and that's the flap I have. I think the click noise it make (which I can't hear) I hasten to add might be the key factor. I will take your advice hard as it will be to resist letting her in. One wonders why she doesn't stay around the back garden area but disappears for such long periods now. Also I would have thought the colder nights would overcome her fear. However I may have to resort to buying a new cat flap, but I will persevere for a week or two. I just don't want her feeling she is being driven away.
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Re: Cat won't use cat flap

Post by meriad »

The other option to try is to set the cat flap to open all the time so it doesn't click open and shut so Cheyenne gets used to the different feel of the flap. Then once she's coming and going just fine then reactivate the automatic bit
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Re: Cat won't use cat flap

Post by notjustacat »

Great minds meriad I had just done that before I read your post. Paws crossed, as I haven't seen her today.
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SarahT1 [PLLE]
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Re: Cat won't use cat flap

Post by SarahT1 [PLLE] »

Is your girl home yet, Mick? Thinking of you. Anything that spooks Cheyenne is obviously a big worry for you.
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notjustacat
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Re: Cat won't use cat flap

Post by notjustacat »

Hi Sarah thank you for your thoughts, she turned up about 8pm last night. A post from andybriz suggested not letting her in via the door to entice her to use the cat flap. However just before 8pm I went to the back door with a torch (black cats are notoriously difficult to spot in an unlit garden). No sooner had I opened the door she shot past me and headed for her upstairs room. As she hadn't been home for over 24hrs by then she was very hungry. She stayed in all last night but has taken to sleeping in a downstairs room under the dining table. But when I prepared her breakfast she ran up to her room to await me taking it up there. Now this is the best bit, while she was eating I stroked her four times before she realized and shrugged me off. A result after two years, I know you will understand what that meant to me Sarah. Mind you after her meal she ran passed me as though I was the enemy as normal. She headed for the cat flap but wouldn't go through it, that is, until I taped the door open. With a clear hole to exit by she was fine and off she went. I won't tape the door open for her return, as andybiz has said to she has got to learn. So at present it's an on going problem but we will prevail.
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Re: Cat won't use cat flap

Post by meriad »

Personally, I'd allow her an easy way in, but force her to use the cat flap to go out.... I'd rather she be safe inside vs stuck outside?
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notjustacat
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Re: Cat won't use cat flap

Post by notjustacat »

Hi meriad, what I intend doing is, if I see her out there tonight I will try to entice her through the now deactivated cat flap. Unfortunately I can't leave the cat flap taped open all night as it would be a come in invitation for some of the other local furries. If I know she is out there but still won't use the flap to come in then the door will be opened. However if she isn't there when I retire to bed, it will be another restless night as I would go downstairs every hour to check if she has come in via the flap or is sitting waiting to be let in. As I type this she is fast asleep under the table next to me.
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Re: Cat won't use cat flap

Post by meriad »

Glad she's back inside. If she's inside then I'd untape the cat flap so if she wants to go outside she has to go via the flap ;-)
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Kay
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Re: Cat won't use cat flap

Post by Kay »

I'm so pleased she allowed you to stroke her - she may not welcome it yet but clearly is not spooked by your touch

She knows her home and her owner, and it would seem values both, in her own limited way - your patience with her is wonderful, and if there is any justice in this world she will reward your care for her one day
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Re: Cat won't use cat flap

Post by SarahT1 [PLLE] »

That's lovely Mick! So glad she allowed you a few strokes. You are such an amazing cat daddy. Phew. What patience, as Kay says. Keeping her safe is crucial and knowing that she can get back home at any time. In her own way, as others have said, she has indicated that she knows and values her home, but she does put you through it. We are all rooting for you both. She is sooooo beautiful. What a complete stunner that girl is.
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Re: Cat won't use cat flap

Post by Crewella »

I absolutely echo the last few posts, that's such good news. She very definitely knows and values her home and owner. Well done. :)
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