Why do cats dislike doors?

Doors are a human concept. They are part of the human home which is divided into rooms with walls. The door allow access to the rooms. But domestic cats which inherently have the character of their wild cat ancestor don’t understand doors. They are never present in their natural habitat.

Why do cats dislike doors?
Why do cats dislike doors? Montage: MikeB
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However, cats are keen observers and through observation and self-learning they understand that there is something beyond the internal and external door. As they want to patrol their home range (the territory they call their own) and as they are naturally inquisitive (as part of their prey hunting drive) they want and need to get through doors. But they are often shut or pulled to. The door presents a barrier to their instinctive life. Therefore they dislike them.

Well, they don’t so much as dislike them but find them an unnecessary barrier. Doors are another example of the unnatural world domestic cats live in when sharing the home of their human caretaker.

In a mild way, doors are a clash of cultures. They are an area of human-animal conflict! An enterprising business makes cat flaps (cat doors) for internal doors to combat this difficulty.

Using their innate learning by observation skills, cats sometimes very successfully learn to open internal doors by jumping up to the door handle and yanking it down using their weight and gravity. You are almost certain to have seen one of the many online videos of this demonstration of domestic cat athleticism and intelligence.

You’ll find that in multi-cat and cat-and-dog households that the feline leader of the group (if there is one) takes charge of the door opening task. The others watch and then follow him/her through the open door once the task is completed.

Whereas the cat’s natural instinct is to get to the other side of the door, sometimes through fear, they will stop at invisible barrier bounded by the door frame.

You may have seen it: cats looking out through an open front or back door at the world outside their home as if there is a sheet of glass between them and the wild outdoors. They’ve been conditioned to stay indoors and have become too anxious to explore. Confining cats to the indoors for a long time can change their natural behaviour and curb their inquisitive instincts. It makes them anxious to stimulation that would otherwise interest them.

This is probably a good thing as it means they are safer. They are less likely to escape via a door which is inadvertently left open. Against that thought there is the purpose of all cat guardians: to allow their cats to behave as naturally as possible so they reach maximum cat mojo in the language of Jackson Galaxy.

P.S. look at the base of internal doors near the edge farthest from the hinges and you’ll see paw marks building up over time as your cat regularly pushes open a door which is pulled to but not closed.


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