How to get my cat to quit scratching the screen door?

danteshuman

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So for almost a year my apt has not fixed/replaced my screen door. They finally fixed it; yeah! I now have screen door for my sliding glass door, that locks.

The problem? My clever bastard can/will open the sliding glass door & the screen door if they are not locked. So of course I’m locking the screen door! Now he keeps pawing at the bottom corner of the door trying to open it.

How do I get him to stop? I keep telling him no and he sorta pauses for a few minutes, then starts again. Today I pulled out the squirt bottle and squirted the screen door (no where near him) & he finally took a break. I don’t want to have to squirt his paws for this. In the past I did temporarily use the squirt bottle at his feet to get him to stop rushing the front door. Other than that, I don’t use a squirt bottle to train him. Instead I usually redirect or bribe him. However nothing will redirect him from wanting to go outside now!

Will duct tape in his ‘open the door corner’ work? After Christmas I can buy a vinyl screen door guard but until then, all extra $$$ is going to presents.
 

daftcat75

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You never want to bribe a cat away from a behavior. That just teaches the cat that bad behaviors get rewarded. Will he do any damage if you just let him scratch it out? It's possible that he'll eventually learn the door won't open for him anymore and lose interest in it. Though that's unlikely. Cats like to frequently test their environment. I got Krista to stay off counters with double sided tape or motion detection air cannisters. But the effect was only temporary. After awhile she would test it again. And if I wasn't keeping up with the tape or the expensive air cannisters (that sprayed me more often than her), then she would eventually forget that lesson I was trying to teach her. You can try duct tape or tin foil. But you may have to keep re-applying your deterrent. Hopefully you can figure out a stop gap until you can get a screen guard. You might also just lean into it until you can afford the guard by putting a cardboard guard up. This way he can scratch all he wants. It won't get him anywhere, and it won't cause the door any grief either.
 
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danteshuman

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I bribe him when he does tricks.

He has already caused a small/tiny hole in the screen.... but he keeps at it. 🤦🏻‍♀️

He keeps at it and meows. He will be kinda deterred from it. After I told him no & squirted the screen 2-3 feet from him...... I was able to call him to me. After a few minutes of quick cuddles I let him back out in his harness. (To reward calm behavior.) So short of picking him up or licking him in the bedroom..... I think duct tape is my best bet.

Oh and he wants to eat the sticky tape! 🤦🏻‍♀️🤣🤦🏻‍♀️ I tried that for the counters and failed. He loves all plastic and wants to eat it.

He is lucky he is cute and cuddly! 💜 Jackie is my problem child! 💜
 

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danteshuman

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I know if I let him out the same time every day it would be better. However I have to follow the weather.

I can’t tolerate heat or cold. So I follow the weather, when it is between 60 (pref 65F)- 78F. Since it gets up to 105 F here on super hot days and 34F here on the coldest nights, the time keeps changing. During the super hot summer/fall months I used to take him out in the early morning (dawn) & let him look out through the screen door all night.... once it got cool enough.

For the last ?8? months he has been spoiled with 4-7 hours of outside time every day, since he did not have a screen to look outside. Now I’m getting him used to 1-4 hours max outside every day and he is trying to escape. (He also gets 1-2 short walks every day depending on how well my legs are doing that day.)
 

Tobermory

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Have you tried Feliway spray? I use it on areas that I don’t want Mocha to scratch like certain rugs, footstools, and chairs. It’s worked well for me. Just a light misting (when she’s not around) and she doesn’t bother that spot again for several weeks. At first, I had to spray more often, but it seems to deter her now for a month or more.
 
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danteshuman

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Feliway doesn’t really calm him down.

Thing is he is clever & obsessive in his drive to escape. He is focussed completely on opening the screen door so he can escape. He isn’t scratching out of boredom or to mark territory.While he us picking at the screen door he is screaming his head off!🤦🏻‍♀️

I shut the sliding glass door and that shit him up & got him to start calming down 10 minutes later. Within 30 minutes he was relaxed.

I may wing up closing the sliding glass door for 30-60 minutes every time I catch him scratching at the screen.
 

Tobermory

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Feliway doesn’t really calm him down.
The spray has two effects. One is calming, but the other is to discourage inappropriate scratching and marking. Here’s the description from the website:
  1. Makes travel and visits to the vet less stressful
  2. Allows convenient and targeted management of the areas marked by your cat with urine or scratching in your home
 
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danteshuman

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Tobermory the scratching is a side effect of him trying to open the screen door. Scratching isn’t the driving factor, going outside is!

He is upping his game and now meowing loudly as he picks at the screen door. 🤦🏻‍♀️ Then when I tell him no, he just sits... looks at me..... cries loudly and looks outside. 🤦🏻‍♀️ Shutting the door for a bit is working a bit. I’m trying to only reward him with outside time when he is calm & quiet. So he learns that doesn’t work.

Though I have found no scratch spray to work on him in the past. I might try that with the mattress.
 

Jem

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You could try placing one of those plastic rolling chair mats with the little nubs facing up in front of the screen door. Most cats don't like the feel of the hard plastic nubs on their feet as it's very uncomfortable.

You mention that you do take him out but it's not on a schedule, which I know you also mentioned (and I agree) would be best BUT...If he's a smart little cookie, perhaps you could start making his outside time more predictable...create "the lead up to going outside" the routine.
Like a special toy or treat, perhaps clicker training...IDK what, but something that you do with him ONLY before you go outside. Then perhaps he will learn that when this happens, this will be the when he gets to go out. He may even start to obsess about the "pre game ritual" rather than try to open the door....which may or may not be a blessing. ;)
 
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danteshuman

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He is a smart kitty and he is clicker trained! 🤣 I will havd to think of some pre outside time thing. He is trained to get up on the footstool so I can put his harness on (without bending over) and to get on the foot stool when he comes inside (to get his harness off & get treats.) Jackie also does high 10, spin, sit (& he now sits and meows for his wet food) he is learning to lay down.

The main reason I open the door & let him look out the screen door, is so he can look outside (& I can not have to closely watch him.)

I think I may try a special phone alarm sound that only goes off 5-10 minutes before outside time, to see if he can connect that to going outside.
 
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