Our cats are treasured members of the household, putting their mark everywhere in our home via their scent, scratch marks, and stray fur. Though they are generally allowed to freely move around the house, there are some instances when you might need to keep your cat out of a room. A common reason would be you’ve just adopted a kitten from a shelter and need time for the two cats to get accustomed to each other’s scent before they meet face to face. Other possible reasons could include construction work in a particular area of the house, or a newborn just recently came home (read Bru Sim’s story on how she made it work!). You could also have fragile items displayed in a room and simply don’t want your cat to have access to them.
Whatever your reason may be, you can safely keep a cat out of a room through these tried-and-tested ways:
1 Create a physical barrier.
Keep the door to the room closed or install a child safety gate that your cat won’t be able to jump or climb over. The physical barricade will prevent her from seeing what’s inside (although it might not stop her from being curious!). Each time someone enters or exits from the prohibited room, shut the door as quickly as possible so she doesn’t get a chance to enter through the person’s legs.
2 Distract your cat from entering the room.
Distraction through treats and toys also works wonders in making your cat forget that a particular room exists. Before the door to that room opens, whip out your homemade feather cat toy and entertain her, or hold a treat in your hand and call out her name. With these positive techniques, she’ll keep her attention glued to you.
3 Make the room less enticing for your cat.
A room can be cat-free if you make the setting undesirable for your feline pet. This can be done by removing potential hiding places, burning incense, playing loud music, placing unpleasant textures, and introducing unsavoury scents.
Cats are known to dislike citrus fragrances such as orange, lemon, and grapefruit. You can also make a 1:1 mixture of lemon and vinegar, which you can spray at the entrance and other parts of the room to keep your cat at bay. Whether you purchase or create these scents, make sure they are non-toxic for your pet in case she accidentally licks them.
4 Make other parts of your house more appealing for your cat.
Find encouraging ways to keep your cat away from the room. Provide her with scratching posts, climbing areas, and cosy nooks in areas of the house you’d prefer her to linger in. Or, if your outdoor space allows it, build an outdoor catio that she can happily explore on a regular basis. Not only will a catio diminish your worries about keeping a close eye on her, but it will also enrich her life.
5 Invest in a motion-activated cat repellent.
Buy commercially sold electronic cat deterrents that release a burst of air or ultrasonic sound and flashing light when your cat approaches the vicinity of the room. Some popular brands include PetSafe SSSCAT Spray Dog and Cat Deterrent and Wikomo 1 Ultrasonic Solar Powered Animal Repeller.
It’s important to note that you should never scare your cat and make her associate negative actions with you. For example, the lemon-vinegar mixture should never be sprayed towards your cat’s face and ears. Nor should you startle her with a blast of air or a loud sound. Your cat might end up avoiding you when she realises that you have been frightening her.
Consistency is key in making your cat follow your rules at home. Make sure everyone sticks to the same protocols so your kitty doesn’t get confused about where she can and can’t go. As long as you approach parenting from a place of positivity, your cat will follow the rules you’ve set and love you just the same.
Are you a new cat parent? Read our other cat-friendly guides and interviews with fellow cat parents here.