Many of us cat parents have experienced at least one door dasher in our lifetime. If you’ve got one, this blog is for you.

Yep I have one, I have a door dasher. It’s my sweet Frankie man. In the morning when we get up and say to the dogs “let’s go outside to go potty” Frankie can be sound asleep and once he hears those words he is running faster than the dogs to the door.

A while back when I was helping my old great dane outside I didn’t realize that Frankie got past me. It wasn’t until later that day when I noticed I hadn’t seen my Frankie man. I was frantically looking around the house and then it hit me, DID HE GET OUT! We live in Arizona and it never rains here but that day Frankie got out it decided to pour. After searching the house and not finding him I ran out in the backyard in the pouring rain and started yelling FRANKIE!!!  FRANKIE!! Through the sounds of the rain coming down I hear this little “meow”.   Frankie had decided to jump up on our 6 foot tall cinder block fence but he didn’t want to jump back down. I ran to him, grabbed him, got him in the house, dried him off, and realized I need to start training this boy!

How To Train Your Door Dasher Kitty

Frankie, like most cats, some people would say he is a bit spoiled. See my cats have this lovely catio they can go out anytime during the day and enjoy the outdoors. They LOVE it!  You might be asking yourself so why is Frankie so adamant about going outside in the yard then? Well you see Frankie loves to eat grass. We don’t treat our grass with any chemicals so I am perfectly fine having him go out to munch on the grass but it has to be on my terms and it has to be safe for my Frankie man.

So the first thing I started with was teaching him, “NO” you cannot run out the door every time we let the dogs out. This part is very important, I learned a while ago from listening to several different cat behaviorists that with every “NO” you give a cat you need to replay it with a “YES”!  So the “YES”, which we are still working on, is that Frankie can go outside – but only if he has his harness on. Frankie is 12 years old and, until a few months ago, never had a harness on in his life. We’re still working on it, but he is doing great. So I will tell him, “Frankie, No!” When I open the door and then I will go and get his harness, put it on and say, okay, let’s go eat grass.

But let’s be realistic, I can’t harness Frankie up every time I let the dogs out.

Trust me, my one dog goes in and out ALL day long! So what are some other things I do to keep Frankie from door dashing? Since his biggest reason to go out is to get his grass fix, I am trying to keep up on growing cat grass. I want to plant a bunch for the catio but being in Arizona in the summer and it’s 115 degrees the cat grass doesn’t do so well outside. Again, when I go to open the door I look at Frankie and I say his name followed by “NO”. Then I get his pot of cat grass and give it to him as a “YES”.

This is working for Frankie but what if your cat is going out just to run away or immediately jumps the fence?  What we want to do in this situation is make the indoors more interesting for them. You can catify your home with shelves, cat trees, mix up their toys from time to time and don’t forget to have a play session with your babies at least once a day. There are so many cool window perches that are easy to put up (most just suction onto the windows). You can make it more interesting for them by putting a bird feeder outside the window for them to enjoy some bird watching! Also, don’t forget to look into harness training! Taking your cat outside is so fun!

As you can see with a little training and a little imagination you can make your cat not want to dash out that door. Keep safety in mind first and start training with positive reinforcement and  soon you will no longer have a door dasher.

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