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Door Darting Behavior in Cats

door darting behavior in cats

Door darting is a potentially dangerous behavior for a cat. For a kitty who lives indoors exclusively, escaping through the door to the outside can result in instant tragedy. Even for a cat who is allowed access to the outside, being able to just zip out the front door whenever it’s opened can have very bad consequences.

The Allure of Door Darting for Your Cat

From the cat’s point of view, door darting is the one opportunity to escape to where all the excitement is located. When the front door is opened, a whole bunch of enticing scents enter the house. For an indoor/outdoor cat, being able to be in charge of his own in-and-out schedule is very appealing. The door is open and there’s nothing to do indoors so the cat uses that as his chance to head outside for some bird or chipmunk hunting.

three books by Pam Johnson-Bennett and a quote from AHA


Types of Feline Door Darters

Some cats are very obvious and insistent about their plan to bolt out the door. They sit and wait for any opportunity – whether it’s a visitor entering or leaving, the cat parent entering with an armload of groceries or a child heading off to school. The obvious door darter makes his intentions known and although you do everything you can to block his access, he knows there will be one time when you’re not paying attention and he can zip out behind you.

Then there are the covert door darters and they can be the most dangerous because cat parents often don’t realize kitty is even missing. He hides somewhere in the room, ready to slip out without anyone noticing. It isn’t until dinner time that you may become alarmed because kitty isn’t meowing in the kitchen the way he always does when you pop open the cat food can.

Photo: Pexels

Door Darting can be Deadly to Cats

Cats who aren’t used to being outdoors are at serious risk of being hit by cars, attacked by other animals, becoming lost, ingesting poison, among many other dangers. Regardless of whether your cat darts out the door and usually just sits on the front porch or stays in the front yard, he is in danger. Door darting is a behavior that needs to be corrected.

Retraining Your Door Darting Cat

First, stop giving your cat any attention at the door. It’s probably very typical for you to bend down and greet your cat as soon as you open the door. Chances are, kitty is right there waiting for you as soon as he hears your key in the lock. You now have to make the door a place where you completely ignore your cat. All meet-and-greets need to take place away from the entrance.

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