How To Stop Your Cat From Scratching At The Door

Are you desperate to stop your cat from scratching the door?

In this article, we will focus on solving the specific problem of door scratching, because it’s a little different than scratching the sofa or other surfaces. If your cat is pounding on the door every night, you need to resolve this issue, fast.

The best way to stop cats scratching the door is to use deterrents like anti-scratch tape and cat repellent spray, or to ensure they have access to where they want to go with cat doors (or leaving doors open). However, there are a few other tips and tricks we’ll share as well.

Why Is My Cat Scratching The Door?

Cat Anti Scratch Tape

  • Cats don't like the stickiness
  • Difficult to see on doors
  • Useful for a range of surfaces
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Interior Cat Doors

  • Free movement means less scratches
  • Variety of types
  • Many that are easy to install
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Door Scratch Protector

  • Protects against scratches
  • Great for doors and flat surfaces
  • Easy to apply
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Cat Nail Clippers

  • Less likely to scratch with short nails
  • Easy to use
  • Save on vet bills
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Cat Scratching Post

  • Gives them somewhere to scratch
  • Massive range of styles
  • From cheap to very expensive
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We’re all immediately aware when the cat starts clawing at the door, but responding in some ways can simply reinforce the bad behavior. To break this cycle, the cat needs to know that scratching the door is not allowed.

Scratching is an innate behavior in cats and we don’t want them to stop altogether, but we can always teach them when and where to scratch, and when and where not to scratch.

It’s important to remember that every cat is different and there are many reasons cats scratch doors from boredom to wanting freedom of movement, so the method of changing the behaviour will also vary.

Scratching At Door Vs Scratching Different Surfaces

Before I tell you what steps you can take to stop your cat from scratching at the door, let’s consider how it’s different from scratching other surfaces.

Cats tend to scratch territorially important places. That’s because when they scratch they leave their scent behind.

This can explain why your cat likes to scratch furniture like a sofa, where you spend a lot of time (along with the dog). This way they complement your scent with theirs.

Outside the home, cats use their claws for climbing trees, leaping, and catching prey. It can be difficult for a cat to learn appropriate scratching and inappropriate scratching, but they can be taught!

Why Do Cats Scratch Doors?

how to keep cat from scratching door

Your Cat Is Bored

When a cat doesn’t get enough playtime or human interaction, it gets bored and scratches at the door to get your attention.

This happens more often when your cat knows you’re inside a room that they are not!

Have you thought about setting up a cat climbing wall?

Your Cat Is Hungry

If you free-feed your feline, chances are high it will get hungry at any time.

If your cat pounds on the door every night, it could be telling you it’s hungry.

Your cat will likely meow loudly along with the scratching.

Your Cat Needs Affection

Although cats are often aloof, there is no doubt that they need your love and affection.

When they simply miss your presence and want time and attention, they will scratch at the door.

Your Cat Is Cold

A bit obvious, but if the weather is poor outside, there’s no doubt your cat will want inside.

If they don’t have access via a cat door or open window, they’ll scratch till they find the warmth!

To Sharpen Or Shorten Nails

Cats will often scratch to help keep their nails down.

Clipping their nails can be an effective way to get them to stop scratching.

Some of the reasons cats scratch doors and furniture can even be similar to why cats lick and knead you!

How To Stop Cat From Scratching The Door

how to stop cat scratching door

Here are some methods you can use to keep your cat from door scratching.

1. Start With Good Habits

Generally, if you don’t want to be your cat inside your bedroom (or any other room), never introduce it to your cat in the first place.

If the cat gets inside he will want to own that territory and mark it as their own. Start with your puss the way you intend to carry on.

Also, if you keep the other rooms locked while you’re asleep, you can make the house accessible using cat doors.

You can purchase good cat doors from a shop, or if you’re good at DIY, you can easily make one. Cat doors can easily solve the problem if you don’t have a reason for keeping the cat out of an area.

2. Readjust Your Cat’s Schedules

When a cat wants treats or food, it scratches at the door.

This happens because you either free-feed your cat or feed them in a pattern where they get hungry at night.

Get into a healthy cat feeding routine that will ensure they are full through the night and don’t expect to continually snack.

Definitely don’t feed the cat after they have been scratching.

It’s important that your puss is eating good healthy food that will sustain it.

Try not to feed them the cheapest possible cat food – it’s probably not helping their behavior any – and make sure they always have access to clean fresh water.

3. Ignore And Train

Remember the word, ‘ignore’, when you’re dealing with your cat’s door-scratching habit.

Any kind of affection, anger, shouting, playing, feeding, or allowance to the room means you’re reinforcing the cat’s behavior.

In a nutshell, simply ignore your cat, figure out why your cat is scratching at the door, and work on it.

If your cat is really determined to scratch at the door, you might also want to consider using a good cat repellant.

Most of these products can be used inside or outside and are designed to stop cats from scratching furniture, doors, beds, and so on. There are times when training is especially important. For example, if you’re in a ‘van life with a cat‘ situation.

A well-trained cat is essential when traveling, especially when you’re in small spaces. You may need to implement all of these tactics to stop your cat from scratching here.

4. Provide Toys Or Company

One of the reasons why cats scratch at unwanted surfaces is you haven’t provided them with activities to stimulate them.

Environmental enrichment is a process to make your cat’s surroundings the way it allows your cat to express their species-specific behavior.

An enriched space allows your cat to explore vertical space. Here are some cat room ideas to explore.

Add cat trees, scratch posts at appropriate spots, a cat TV, and even a Catio (cat patio), if possible.

Another cool idea is a cat tree that looks like a tree!

If boredom is the reason your cat is scratching at the door, you should try and make the home more stimulating. Doing this could solve other behavior-related issues as well.

5. Keep Their Nails Short

Trimming a cat’s nails may make them less likely to scratch at your doors and furniture.

We’ve all seen cats going at it on a scratching post, and that’s because it helps them shed the topcoats of their nails.

It’s not difficult to trim a cat’s nails so long as you have a good pair of clippers.

If your cat has nothing to scratch, you’ll need to help them to keep their nails short.

Why Do Cats Hate Closed Doors?

Cats do seem to simply hate closed doors – they think they rule the world and should be able to go wherever they please.

There can be multiple reasons why your cat scratches the door. Identify what it is and work on it until your cat stops doing it.

It can require patience and time, but it’s well worth it, especially if it stops your cat from damaging your home.

Let us know if you have any comments down below – feel free to share your experience with your cat.

Now, find out the answer to ‘Why does my cat bite my nose?‘!


1 thought on “How To Stop Your Cat From Scratching At The Door”

  1. One of my Ragdolls just simply hate the doors being closed – period! This means if the wardrobe door or even shower screen is closed you definitely know about it around 3am!


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