How To Keep A Cat From Running Out The Door! I Don’t Want A Missing Cat!

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A physical barrier is going to be the quickest and easiest solution to stop your cat from running out the door.

It may mean that you have to adjust your behavior, just like when taking care of a toddler. Cats and toddlers have one thing in common, they are both lightning fast and disappear in an instant.

Different ideas to stop your cat running out the door are described below in detail/

1. Get A Big Box To Put By The Door

A simple solution here to stop the cat running out of the door, is to get a big box and place it in front of the open door.

A box that is similar in size to the one shown is ideal.

If your box is smaller than this, remember to have the open side up, otherwise your cute little feline friend will just jump up onto the top of the box and be out the door in a jiffy.

The good thing about this method is, there is no cost, it is easy, there is just a matter of finding a box. Put your box feelers out!

A big box is lightweight and easy enough to move out of the way so that you can exit if you need to.

C’mon – we can outsmart cats!

2. Keep The Door Closed – This Is Not Foolproof

Keeping the door closed will prevent your cat from running out the door unexpectedly.

The obvious problem is that the door can easily be left open, and perhaps you want the door left open to allow fresh air to come in.

The other problem with this solution is that you would need to be on guard at all times, whenever anyone uses the door. In the long term this is not a practical solution.

3. Get A Cat Run To keep the Cat Safe

A cat run will give the cat a safe and secure area to enjoy the outdoors, where they can come and go as they please, while still keeping them out of harm’s way.

A cat run ideally has an entrance and an exit, so you don’t need to worry about getting up each time your kitty wants to come and go.

A cat run like the the one below can be connected to a cat door so the cat or cats can go in and out on their own. The cat door can be closed when you don’t want the cats to access the outside area. Conversely, the cat door can be closed to keep the cats in their safe outdoor area, while you attend to things inside the house, that may necessitate leaving a door open.

The good thing about a system like this is that it can be added to with another tent and more tunnels you should ever want to do that.

This solution has great merits to giving the cat access to the outdoors in a safe manner, however the cat may still attempt to run out the door.

Cat Tent for Indoors and Outdoors Cat Enclosures

Related: You can always train your cat to stay indoors. There’s more information here about how to do train your cat to stay indoors.

4.Play With Your Cat To Lessen Their desire To Run Out The Door

Playing with your cat is a great way to give them exercise and mental stimulation, and it will also help build their trust in you.

Try feather wands, laser pointers, or other interactive toys that will allow your kitty to chase something. Keeping t he cat busy will detract them from the idea of running out the door.

This is a good method if, a couple of people need to exit and the cat can be distracted by playing with him.

Chasing and hunting are part of a cat’s natural instincts.

Provide playtime and entertainment indoors to help keep your cats stimulated, so they don’t become bored and look outside for stimulation

  Cat Wand Toy
cat opening a door handle
This is one clever cat! Is he going out or coming in?

5.Use A Cat Harness Or Leash

Using a cat harness is not my favorite method to keep your cat from running out the door, as it just sounds like being too organized, however, it may be an ah-ha solution for your purposes, so I have included it here.

Attaching a harness or leash to your kitty when you open the door can help you control their movements and prevent them from running past you.

This works well when the door doesn’t have to be opened too often and the cat is nearby.

Using a cat harness or lead is a good solution for senior cats.

Cat Harness and Leash for Walking

6. A Cat Scat Mat

Personally, I wouldn’t use these in locations where the cat has to jump onto the mat because it will be uncomfortable for the cat.

Walking across a scat mat is okay. Most cats will give up, although cat behavior suggests that cats will try to find a way, at first anyway.

This method is a good secondary back up to using the “big box”.

Or, have the scat mat near the door for those times, the harness is forgotten, or someone (not you of course) leaves the door open. The scat mat then becomes a back up plan.

Cat Scat Mat

Top Choice – Use A Cat Gate or Screen Door

A cat gate is a barrier that can be placed in doorways to block off certain rooms or areas of the house to stop the cat from entering or exiting. There are many different types and styles of baby gates.

The door gate below is effectively a second door. You can choose when you need to use it so there is no annoyingness of having to climb over the top.

I think this is a perfect solution. As it is specifically made to stop cats, the spaces between the bars are narrow.

Cat Safety Gate

How can you make sure that the door barrier does not create a safety hazard for humans or the cat?

This depends on what system you intend to use. For any visitors to your home, explain the situation and what is in place. It is best if everyone is aware of the steps being taken to keep the cat indoors.

a cat sitting  next to a closed door
He’s just waiting for the opportunity to dash out the door. Is the grass greener on the other side kitty?

8.Retractable Screens

These are temporary barriers that can be placed in doorways to block off certain rooms or areas of the house from the cat.

The screens are versatile and can be removed and used elsewhere as needed. The screens are made from durable mesh material that allows light and air to pass through while still providing a barrier to block the cat’s access.

To keep the screen firmly closed when not in use, some retractable screen doors also have magnets or latches.

This retractable screen attaches to the door frame.  It keeps your cat from running out the door when a parcel or food is being delivered or when someone knocks on the door.

It is times like these that you are distracted and it is hard to keep an eye out for the cat and pay attention to the visitor at your door. The way that this screen works takes away having to think about where the cat is.

This screen moves backwards and forwards with the door opening and closing to block the opening. This could be the perfect solution to stop your cat running out the door. I like this idea.

 Retractable Door Barrier for Pets


The collar sends a tone and a static correction. This will require the cat to wear a collar. The cat must weigh 5 pounds or more.

 Pet Barrier for Cats

Why Do Cats Run Out The Door?

If your cat sees something that interests them outside, such as birds or other cats, they will race for the door.

Sometimes it is not so obvious and the cat will charge past you when the door is opened.

Have scratching posts, toys, and scratchers around the house, as well as plenty of places for your cat to hide and sleep.

Provide places at height so that the cat can have a vantage point to see what is going on. Cats often do this when outdoors – sit on a fence pillar or perch on the top of a fence surveying the surroundings.

Neuter your cat and this will reduce the urge to roam outside.

Are Certain Breeds Or Personalities More Prone To Running Out The Door?

Some cat breeds are known for their high energy levels and curious natures.

This makes them more prone to running out the door.

Breeds such as the Siamese, Bengal, and Maine Coon are very active and curious, which can make them more likely to try and escape.

Certain personalities and individual traits of cats can also make them more prone to running out the door.

For example, a cat that is very curious and adventurous may be more likely to want to explore the outside world, while a cat that is shy or nervous may be less likely to do so.

Ways to keep a cat from running out the door- Pinterest image

Chance Of Success

It does take being vigilant at all times, to stop a cat from running out the door.

If you are looking after someone else’s cat or if your own cat is ill, it can be stressful.

For this reason, I suggest a double barrier so that if all else fails at the first barrier, there is still a second layer of door protection.

A combination scat mat and the big box method. This is a double barrier method that is doable and inexpensive.

Use some of the ideas above to come up with a double barrier, which will give you more peace of mind compared to one method only, which may not be foolproof.

vector - two cats reading
I’m quite happy indoors, dear. Much safer. I do like a comfy window seat though!

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