Cats are known for having all sorts of weird habits that do not make sense to us right off the bat. They attack you if you rub their belly, they run around at full speed on a whim, and they jump on top of people in the middle of the night. While all of these habits are very weird, there is another habit that often boggles owners' minds: cats meow loudly at closed doors.
Cats meow at closed doors for many reasons like being bored, curious, and wanting attention from people on the other side. Cats can't open doors that they want to get through, so no matter the reason, if a cat wants the door open, they will, loudly, let you know!
While some of the simpler reasons for cats meowing at doors are clear now, there are so many other reasons and, if need be, there are ways to stop your cat from continuing this bad habit. We will go over all aspects of this peculiar behavior below, so keep reading!
Why Cats Hate Closed Doors And What They Will Do Then
Before we get into the reasons for the strange way that cats act around closed doors, we should clear up exactly what the habit is so that you can understand how bizarre the behavior is if you do not have a cat or have not seen this behavior before.
Some cats will sit next to a closed door and meow and cry as loudly as they can at the door. Sometimes this yowling is accompanied by scratching at the door and sticking their paws and noses underneath it.
When the door is finally opened for them, they stop meowing almost immediately and will either go into the room, just sit there with the door open, or turn around and walk away. This behavior can be very confusing for cat owners.
One part of this issue is owners wondering if their cat is offended when they are shut out of a room. Some people may shut their cats out. of their bedrooms at night to prevent the cat from waking them up way too early in the morning.
Fortunately, your cat's desire to get into a room when the door has been shut in their face is not usually because they are sad.
Some cats do have separation anxiety and may get sad or scared when they can't freely get to you, but most cats are not sad when they are shut out of a room. We will cover how they really feel about being shut out of rooms.
Reasons For This Behavior
We have established that many cats are obsessive about closed doors and it is a common habit to meow and scratch at a closed door.
Here are the many reasons why they do this so that you can better understand what your cat might be trying to tell you when they are behaving like this.
Everyone knows the phrase “curiosity killed the cat”. While being curious about what is behind a closed door is not a danger to your cat's life, it is one of the biggest reasons why cats hate closed doors.
It does not matter if there is no one in the room or if nothing has been moved or changed in there, a cat will often assume that a closed door means that there is something new and exciting that they are rudely being refused access to.
They might think there is food behind the door or a new person, but whatever they think might be behind the door will drive them crazy until they get to see what's really on the other side.
When doors are left open, the cat doesn't have to worry about what might be in the room because they can see into it, or know that they have access if they want to.
Another huge reason for cats to meow at closed doors is that cats, like many animals, are quite territorial. They see your house or apartment as theirs, not yours, and they only want a couple of people or animals to have access to their home.
Because they believe that every room is their property, when they go to patrol the house, as cats often do, they are not able to properly claim that room and will demand to be let into their territory.
Want to be fed
Some cats just simply want to be fed. This is usually the reason for their riot against closed doors in the morning or dinner time as they are demanding their breakfast.
You are the one who gives it to them, so they need access to you. If you are behind a closed door during these times, your cat probably just wants you to come out and feed them.
This is also one reason for them loudly begging to have the door opened and then walking away once you open it. They are not trying to be annoying, but they are trying to show you that they want food.
They are walking away so that they can lead you to their food dish or feeding area. If you follow your cat when they do this, they will lead you to the reason why they wanted the door open in the first place.
Another reason for this weird behavior is that your cat wants to say hello or good morning! You should view this reason as loving behavior instead of your cat trying to be annoying.
Cats do not like to greet just anyone, so if they go out of their way to tell you hello and then leave after a short while, they really like you and feel comfortable around you.
While this is a high compliment from creatures who are known to be aloof, it can still be really annoying to have to open the door so your cat can say hi.
This is another reason why a cat might beg to have the door opened but then turn around and walk away. While cats seem like they want to be left alone, they are actually very social and want to be able to interact with you often and play or cuddle.
Their sociability is what drives cats to find you in whatever room you are in but sit far away from you seeming like they are pretending to not like you.
If your cat is allowed to sit with you on the couch or they have a favorite toy in another room, they might cry to be let in but then walk away right after the door is opened.
This is because they know what their favorite activities are so they are trying to lead you to a different area where they can play with you or cuddle.
Similarly to when they want to be fed, just follow your cat and they will help you understand why they are acting the way that they are.
How to Stop it
While understanding why a cat will cry out and scratch at doors fulfills half of the mystery, the other half is figuring out how to get them to stop.
It is possible to get a cat used to closed doors and there are many different ways to teach your cat to stop behaving like this at closed doors.
Feed them Later
The biggest reason for your cat waking you up in the morning by crying at the door is because they are hungry and want to be fed like we discussed before.
One of the easiest ways to deal with this is by feeding them at a later time. While transitioning into this later time is not very easy and your cat will be upset at you for a week or so when you make them wait, after they get used to it, they will be full for longer and won't start begging for food until the new feeding time.
Because one of the big reasons for meowing at closed doors is boredom, there are a lot of easy fixes to this. Provide your cat with plenty of toys and interesting items for them to play with and explore.
Boredom is often the reason why they cause problems at night when cats are very active, so providing them with ways they can entertain themselves is a great way to stop the crying at your door.
If your cat is both an outdoor and indoor cat, you might find that installing a cat door is very helpful. They will appreciate the extra stimulation from outside activity and will probably not bother you when you are sleeping.
They also will have access to shelter, food, and water if they need it throughout the night so they will not cry at your back door to be let back in.
Place Deterrents outside the Door
Deterrents for cats are easy to find and you do not usually need to go to a store and buy something special. There are a few household items that most cats strongly dislike and you can put them on or in front of the door.
These deterrents will at least keep your cat far enough away to stop scratching at the door, though you might still hear them meowing from a little ways away.
Some deterrents are double-sided sticky tape, tin foil, or motion-activated air can. Cats are notorious for hating tape and things that stick to their paws, so if you stick some double-sided tape on the floor next to the door or over the area that they scratch at, they will recoil from the sticky feeling and keep a bit more distance from the door.
Some cats do not like tin foil so you can put a sheet of it over the area of the door that they scratch at and areas that they can reach and they will also keep a greater distance from the door.
They do not like the sound or feeling of tin foil, so just a little bit in areas they might try to touch will teach them to stay back.
Another great deterrent is a motion-activated air canister. When your cat gets close to the door and starts meowing, the air canister will blow a stream of pressurized air that will startle your cat and they will run off or back up.
This way your cat will have a negative experience with begging at the door without losing the positive bond they have with you.
One of the more difficult ways to get your cat to stop meowing at closed doors is to just ignore them.
While this is not recommended if your cat actually needs something like food or water and you should make sure they have what they need at any time, ignoring your cat's cries of boredom at night can teach them that being loud and annoying does not get that door to open.
While it can take a couple of weeks or only days, this method will soon teach them to stop crying at the shut doors in the house.
The transition time will be quite difficult and you might have to get earplugs to sleep with, your cat will be quieter in regards to closed doors if they learn that they can not control you and make you open that door.
With these ways of stopping this behavior, your cat should quit being upset at closed doors, but if for some reason they are still doing it, you should consider coming up with ways to please them without going out of your way to open any closed doors.
One of these ways is to prevent the door from opening all the way.
Cats usually don't need doors to be fully open, they just want to have access to the room if they want to go in there. A good solution to stop the meowing is to get a doorstop or special latch to keep the door open just wide enough for your cat to get through.
A doorstop will keep them from pushing the door wide open so you can still have privacy from roommates or family without upsetting your cat.
There are special latches that you can get that will hold the door open just a crack but it can't be closed or opened more than the allotted amount.