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

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Is your cat a door darter? Door darting cats seize any opportunity to charge out the door past your ankles. They’ll be gone before you know it.

Mostly, cats that have only been indoor cats will prefer to stay inside and may become stressed when going outdoors.

An outdoor cat that is also an indoor cat is probably used to scooting past you when there is an open door, or the cat may have his own cat door.

But, what if your cat is an indoor cat or an outdoor cat and you don’t want him door darting to the great unknown?

Different Reasons Why You Need To Stop the Cat From Running Out The Door

This can also apply to keeping the cat in a particular area. Often, when cats are introduced to a household, the cat owner may keep the new cat and the old one apart for a day or two.

Maybe you just want to stop the cat from running through the bedroom door and jumping onto your bed.

The cat may be older, unwell, or have had an operation. Maybe he is not used to going outdoors, or there is some danger outdoors.

You could be pet-sitting and caring for someone else’s cat. You may be caring for a cat that has been lost, the reasons are endless.

Whatever the reason, you need to know how to keep a cat from running out the door.

cat opening the door handle
This is one clever cat! Is he going out or coming in?

Preparing For Unexpected Escapes

Often, a physical barrier is going to be the quickest and easiest solution. It may mean that you have to adjust your behavior, just like when looking after a toddler. Cats and toddlers have one thing in common, they are both lightning fast.

Keep The Door Closed – Not necessarily Reliable

Keep the door closed. Keeping the door closed will prevent your cat from running out unexpectedly. The obvious problem is that the door can easily be left open, and perhaps you want the door open for fresh air.

Get A Cat Run

A cat run is a great solution to keep your kitty in the house. It will give them a safe and secure area 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.

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.

ITENT Cat Tent for Indoor and Outdoor Cat Enclosures( Outdoor Cat Tent, Cat Tunnel, and Playhouse) Cat Playpen X-Large Portable Cat Tunnel Play Tents for Cats Rabbits and Small Animals…

Play With Your Cat

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.

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

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

Bluemary Cat Toys, 2pcs Cat Wand Toy and 4pcs Rainbow Cat String Toy with Feather Teasers, Interactive Cat Toys for Indoors,Funny Exercise for Kitten or Cats

Get A Big Box

A simple solution here 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, however, will depend on the size of the doorway at your place.

Remember to have the open side up otherwise your cute little feline friend will just jump up onto the top 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.

A big box is lightweight and easy enough to move out of the way so that you can exit if you need to. If the cat comes over to check out what you are up to, it is pretty easy to size up what side the cat is looking at and quickly move to the other side.

C’mon – we can outsmart cats!

Use A Cat Harness Or Leash

This is not my favorite method 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.

I can actually see this working well when the door doesn’t have to be opened too often and the cat is nearby.

A good solution for senior cats.

rabbitgoo Cat Harness and Leash for Walking, Escape Proof Soft Adjustable Vest Harnesses for Cats, Easy Control Breathable Reflective Strips Jacket, Black, S

A Cat Scat Mat

I know they look like some kind of torture.

Personally, I wouldn’t use these in locations where the cat has to jump onto the mat. Walking across is okay. Most cats will give up, although cat behavior suggests that they will try to find a way at first anyway.

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

Or, have near the door for those times, the harness is forgotten, or someone (not you of course) leaves the door open

Homarden Cat Repellent Outdoor - Cat Scat Mat of 16 X 13 Inches (Set of 10) - Cat Repellent Spikes to Keep Cats Out of Yard Permanently - Cat Deterrent Indoor 13ft Coverage

Use A Cat Gate or Screen Door

Install a barrier, such as a gate or screen door, to block your cat’s access to the door. There is more information below about cat gates. Note: This option has a cost that is higher than any of the other methods.

how to keep a cat from running out the  door
He’s just waiting for the opportunity to dash out the door. Is the grass greener on the other side kitty?

What Are Some Common Types Of Door Barriers That Can Be Used To Keep Cats Inside?

Retractable Screens

These are temporary barriers that can be placed in doorways to block off certain rooms or areas of the house. These screens are versatile and can be removed and used elsewhere as needed. They 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.

The barrier moves backwards and forwards with the door opening and closing to block the opening.

Bow Wow Barrier 28” White by Smart Retract: Retractable Door Barrier for Pets

Baby Gate Or Door Gate

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

Richell USA - Cat Safety Gate (94951) (Beige)

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.


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.

PetSafe Pawz Away Mini Pet Barrier for Cats and Dogs - Adjustable Range up to 2 1/2 Feet Radius - Pet Proof Your Home - Waterproof - For Use Indoors and Outdoors

Understanding Why 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 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.

However, it’s important to note that each cat is an individual, and their behavior is not only influenced by their breed or personality but also by their environment, training, and socialization.

ways to keep a cat from running out the door

Chance Of Success

It does take being vigilant 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.

For example, a combination of a baby gate and a retractable screen door This type of barrier uses a baby gate to block off the doorway, and a retractable screen door that allows the cat to see and smell the outside while keeping them confined to a specific area of the house.


A combination scat mat and the big box method. This is also a double barrier method.

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.

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

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