How do I train my cat Dreamer to use her cat flap?

Cats take to cat flaps readily, simply because they are not afraid to weave through small gaps. Their whiskers serve to indicate when they can squeeze through a space safely. Training is therefore usually quite straightforward. Having fitted the door of the cat flap, wedge this open and place Dreamer on the inside.

Then attract her attention and call her through this opening. Reward her with a treat, and then repeat the procedure from the other side of the flap, so she will come in from outside as well. If you leave the flap partially open, indicating that there is a gap here, Dreamer will soon be going in and out on her own.

Bear in mind that cats find it easier to master a door that swings in both directions rather than one which opens in one direction only so that it has to be pawed open to allow access from the other side. If you choose this type of design, you are likely to have to be more patient with Dreamer, but most cats will soon master such flaps.

What you should never do is to open the door for her, after fitting a flap. Otherwise, she is likely to continue demanding to be let in or out, rather than using the cat flap. If you suspect that Dreamer may be having difficulty in getting through the opening, go outside and encourage her through the gap, rather than allowing her to come in with you.

A magnetic cat flap is preferable, as this will give admittance to Dreamer only. Otherwise, you may find that other cats have come into your home in your absence, and laid claim to this territory, by spraying their urine here, creating a very unpleasant smell.