Can Cats Open Doors? (5 Tips To Stop A Cat From Opening Doors)

Can Cats Open Doors?

When it comes to pet intelligence, dogs undeniably get more credit than cats. But unknown to most pet parents, cats can be pretty smart too. Your feline friend is intelligent enough to navigate various challenges that many other pet animals would struggle to solve.

For instance, most cats can find their way home from several miles away. That explains why many lost cats are usually reunited with their owners sooner than later.

Cats are also incredible at recognizing their owners’ appearance, smell, and sounds. If your kitto wandered away from you while taking a stroll together in a busy street, you can trust his sense of smell to lead him right back to you.

Evidently, cats are far more intelligent than their owners probably think they are. But can cats open doors?

The short answer is yes, cats can open closed doors. And usually with too much ease. It’s not unusual to find your cat snuggling on the couch a few minutes after leaving him prowling in the backyard and closing the door on him.

Read on as we expound further on cats and closed doors. The post will highlight, among other things, the reasons cats love to open doors and the factors that could make it easy for your kitto to open a closed door. We’ll also highlight how to train or prevent your cat from opening doors in your home.

So, Are Cats Smart Enough To Open Doors?

As we’ve just indicated, most cats are intelligent enough to open doors.

However, it’s important to note that not every cat will figure out how to open closed doors. That’s for the simple reason that cat intelligence varies depending on a host of factors, such as age, breed, personality, sociability, and training.

Another thing to remember is that the kind of door matters a lot. Regardless of how intelligent your cat is, certain doors may prove way too difficult for him to navigate.

Most cats will have an easy time opening lever door handles after observing their human parents undo the levers a few times. Doorknobs tend to prove a bit more challenging and can only be opened by very smart or highly trained cats.

Can Cats Open Closed Doors?

Can Cats Open Closed Doors and Do They Know What They’re Doing?

It’s not uncommon to come across a cat owner wondering, ‘I left my cat in the other room and closed the door behind him, how did my cat open my door?’

Now, we’ve already indicated that most cats can open closed doors. But perhaps the million-dollar question is, do cats actually know what they’re doing? Remember, it’s one thing to perform an action and a completely different thing to grasp the gravity and weight of one’s action.

For instance, very young bereaved children may know that their parents are dead. However, you may still see the kids smiling even as their deceased parents are lowered down the grave. That’s a clear indication that the children don’t exactly realize the sting of death.

To understand whether cats know what they’re doing when they open closed doors, it’s important to take an in-depth look at cat intelligence.

Cats may not be too smart to remember the schematics of a doorknob. But they’re intelligent enough to realize that turning the door handle is the only way to enter or exit the house. So, in most cases, cats actually know what they’re doing.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by myopicsunflower (@myopicsunflower)

In fact, some cats will open a closed door and then proceed to close and open the door repeatedly. At first glance, this may come across as nothing but normal kitty play behavior.

However, besides enjoying the physical and mental stimulation that comes with opening and closing a door repeatedly, the cat is also well aware of what he’s doing. That’s because cats possess a basic aspect of intelligence known as object performance.

Object performance refers to the ability of some animals to understand that people and things continue to exist even when they’re out of view. It’s how cats realize what lies on the other side of a closed door.

Another classic case of object performance is when a cat’s toy slides underneath the couch. While the cat can no longer see the toy, he knows very well that it still exists. The cat may stay right by the couch wondering how to retrieve his beloved toy. Or, he may actually try to pull it out.

Maybe you’re the kind of cat owner who keeps wondering, ‘my cat open doors, is this normal kitty behavior or is my cat a genius?’

The chances are that your cat is incredibly smart. But he’s probably not a super-genius after all. That’s because most cats possess object performance, an aspect of intelligence that makes them appreciate the existence of things which are not necessarily within view. Opening a closed door is one way cats manifest object performance.

ORSDA 2in1 Interactive Toys for Indoor Cats, Timer Auto...
6,733 Reviews
ORSDA 2in1 Interactive Toys for Indoor Cats, Timer Auto...
  • ????DOUBLE THE FUN FOR YOUR CAT - ORSDA 2in1 ambush interactive electronic cat toy has two fun ways to enjoy playtime! 1#The...
  • ????RICH & REPLACEABLE ATTACHMENTS - Differ from other single-functional ambush feather cat toys, ORSDA cat feather toys add 4...
  • ????EXERCISE & MENTAL STIMULATION - ORSDA cat enrichment toys will help keep your indoor cat stay physically and mentally active...

Last update on 2024-03-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Does the ability to open a door speaks to a cat’s intelligence?

Although it may not suggest that your cat is a genius, the ability to open a closed door is a sure indication of a smart cat.

Remember, opening doors is uncommon among cats. So, cats that can do it definitely have above-average intelligence.

Recommended: Click Here To Discover this new form of cat-to-human communication that many cat owners have dreamed about… but few have actually thought possible.

Why Does My Cat Keep Opening Doors

So far, we know that most cats can open doors. We also know that many cats are actually aware of what they’re doing.

But now to the most important question, why do cats keep opening closed doors?

The most obvious reason your cat likes to open closed doors is that he wants to get to the other side. Maybe you locked the cat outside your house while he was busy playing but he now wants to come in. Or perhaps you locked him inside a room he doesn’t feel comfortable being in. In either scenario, the primary motivation is to get on the other side of the door.

Cat Opening Glass Slide Door

The following are other reasons cats keep opening closed doors;

1. Territoriality

Cats are fiercely territorial animals. In the eyes of your kitto, everything in your home makes up his territory. That ranges from his toys and feeding bowls to outdoor posts and the entire house (including every single room in it). In fact, most cats consider their human owners as part of their possession.

Like all territorial animals, cats are naturally wired to maintain situational awareness at all times. One way they do that is by surveying the entire span of their territories from time to time.

In this case, a closed door prevents the cat from accessing and inspecting all areas of his territory. The only solution here would be to try and open the closed doors.

2. Curiosity and Adventure

Curiosity killed the cat (but saved the rat) is a phrase that you’re probably already conversant with.

Indeed, cats are the most curious of all human pets. They have an insatiable desire to venture into places that are out of sight.

A closed door is enough to pique your cat’s curiosity. The door acts as a barrier to something potentially sweeter and more appealing that could be lying on the other side.

If curiosity is the primary reason your cat keeps opening doors, you’ll realize that the animal always becomes worked up at the sight of a closed door. But as soon as he opens the door, the cat simply walks away. It’s a clear indication that he’s gotten what he wanted.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Tommy_the_cat (@oll1e_cat)

So, do cats like open doors?

It’s evident that cats tend to be more curious about what lies beyond the door screen. This begs the question, do cats like closed doors or are they more at home with open ones?

The simple answer is that cats love open doors than closed ones. Even if your cat is not in the habit of opening doors, it’s still recommended to leave the doors to various rooms ajar. Otherwise, his curiosity may kick in, causing him to scratch incessantly at the door in a bid to open it.

3. Fear

Cats, like humans, are claustrophobic. They fear being confined in small spaces unless when escaping potential danger.

For frightful and skittish cats, a closed door immediately instills fear. Upset but determined to escape, the cat will try to undo the door lock so he can break free.

So, are cats scared of closed doors?

Yes, cats with skittish personalities are definitely afraid of closed doors.

4. Routine Changes

Cats are creatures of habit and certain routine changes may cause them to want to open closed doors. A classic example is if you happen to close a door that’s usually open.

Your feline friend will find it strange and out of character that the door is closed when he’s used to seeing it open. His next response will be to try and open it.

Other routine changes that could cause your cat to want to open closed doors include;

  • Home renovations, particularly renovations that change the appearance of the door
  • Moving homes
  • Changing the cat’s sleeping room


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Anita Chick (@wildchildduds)

5. Hunting Instincts

Humans may have domesticated cats for thousands of years. But our feline friends haven’t entirely lost their hunting instincts.

While your home isn’t anything close to a wild jungle, it still offers an ideal environment for your kitto to hone his hunting skills.

During his short wakeful hours, your cat will normally go on the prowl. And he’ll mostly prefer doing so outdoors, which means opening all closed doors on his path.

6. The Need to Socialize

Cats may not be as social as other household pets, such as dogs. But they’re also not as independent and solitary as most people think of them to be.

Your feline friend will be happier enjoying the company of other household members.

Cats particularly love to hang out with their owners, where they prefer being the center of attention.

Clearly, your cat can’t socialize with you if he’s locked in another room. This explains why most cats will try to open closed doors to reunite with other household members.

So, why do cats hate closed doors?

Cats hate closed doors for a number of reasons, ranging from territoriality, fear, hunting instincts, and the need to socialize.

Is It Normal For Cats To Open Doors?

The word “normal” is relative and quite subjective. So, it would be misleading to declare outright that it’s normal for cats to open doors.

However, what we know so far is that some cats will be happy to open closed doors. And the motivation ranges from fear, territoriality, the desire to reunite with other household members, etc.

Another thing worth noting is that a majority of cats will not open closed doors unless driven by a compelling motivation. For instance, if you happen to lock your cat outside the house, the animal may start by meowing for you to let him in. If that fails, he could turn to scratching as a way of demonstrating his frustrations. It’s only when you continue to ignore him that he may consider attempting to open the door.

Perhaps you’ve owned multiple cats but have never seen any of them trying to open a closed door. Well, there’s no need to fret. In fact, the situation is probably better off that way.

In most cases, cats opening closed doors works against homeowners.

Your cat could let stray cats into the house. These other cats could damage your upholstery or even steal your food from the kitchen. Worse yet, the stray cats could injure and even kill your adorable kitto. That’s especially true if your cat is a female on heat who happens to have been spotted by other males now competing for her attention.

Why Is It Easier For Some Cats To Open Doors Than Others?

Now that we’ve repeatedly highlighted that cats can open doors, you’re probably wondering, can all cats open doors?

Not all cats can readily open closed doors. Some may require a bit of training and compelling motivations to do so.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Chewie & Pals (@chewie_and_pals)

The ability of cats to open closed doors varies from one cat to another. It depends on a host of factors, as discussed below;

1. Intelligence Quotient

Cat intelligence varies by breed. Certain breeds are definitely smarter than others.

The following are the top ten most intelligent cat breeds ever;

  • Abyssinians
  • Maine Coons
  • Scottish Fold cats
  • Cornish Rex cats
  • Balinese cats
  • Havana Brown cats
  • Bengals
  • Korat cats
  • Savanna cats
  • Burmese cats

Can Bengal cats open doors?

Bengals are classified among the smartest cat breeds. Their intelligence makes it relatively easy for them to work their way around closed doors.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by ollie (@ollie_the_f1bengal)

Can ragdoll cats open doors?

Ragdolls may not be considered among the top ten most intelligent cat breeds. But they’re still smart enough and with some training, they can comfortably open closed doors.

However, note that even if you have a cat from any of the above breeds, that’s no guarantee that he’ll be smart enough to open closed doors.

2. Size of the Cat

The bigger your cat is, the easier it will be for him to push or pull a closed door. Larger cat breeds like Maine Coons and Norwegian Forest Cats have the upper hand here.

But it’s important to note that the focus here is brawns and not brains. Which implies that the door in question may be closed but not necessarily locked.

In the same breath, door size matters a lot. Smaller doors, such as kennel doors, will not be a problem for most cat breeds regardless of size. However, the same cannot be said about larger doors, such as garage door or the main front door to a house.

Can cats open barn doors?

Most barn doors are way too heavy for cats to push or pull open.

Can cats open barn doors?

3. Door Handle and Door Type

The weight of a door may determine how easy it is for your cat to push it open. However, the bigger factor is usually the type of handle on your door, or the type of the door itself.

Can cats open screen doors?

Screen doors are among the easiest door types for cats to open. The cat will simply attach his claws to the screen and then push or pull it.

Can cats open sliding doors?

Sliding doors are even easier to open than traditional screen doors. That’s because these doors typically open incrementally, allowing a cat to monitor the progress of his work. The cat will become motivated with each inch of the door that slides open.

Can cats turn doorknobs?

Doorknobs are undeniably more difficult to turn for cats compared to twisting levers. But with adequate training, some intelligent cat breeds may become adept at opening doorknobs.

Can cats open round doorknobs?

If cats find doorknobs considerably more difficult to open than regular door handles, then it goes that round doorknobs are even trickier. That’s because the round shape reduces grip. As such, your cat’s toes will only keep sliding right off the handles. But as we’ve constantly reiterated, it all depends on how intelligent and trainable your kitto is.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Ching Ching Cat (@ching_ching_cat)

Can polydactyl cats open doors?

Polydactyl cats refer to cats with extra toes. The extra toes, coupled with a much bigger paw, come with higher manual dexterity. Which implies that polydactyl cats have a higher ability to open closed doors than cats with regular toes.

Can cats open windows?

Windows are typically lighter than doors. Therefore, they’re also easier to open. But this mostly makes sense if the window is closed but not locked, as all the cat needs to do is push or pull it open. For locked windows, the type of lock will determine how easy it is for your cat to open it.

Can cats open drawers?

And what of cabinets, can cats open cabinets too?

Much like doors and windows, the ease with which cats can open drawers and cabinets depends on the size of the drawer or cabinet door, as well as the type of lock used. Note that anything that requires a key to unlock is definitely out of your cat’s league.

Can a cat lock a door?

Cats can close doors as all it takes is pushing the door shut. However, cats locking doors is totally unheard of.

Can You Train A Cat To Open Doors?

If you’re looking to train your cat to open doors, you may find yourself wondering, ‘can cats learn to open doors?’

With rigorous training, many cats can become adept at opening closed doors. That’s because cats are smart learners. They mostly learn by mimicking the actions and behaviors of their human owners.

The good news is that there are several programs to follow for cat owners who wish to train their feline friends to open closed doors. One such program is by using a clicker.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Tero Piiroinen (@piiroinentero)

Here’s how to go about the training;

i. Find a noisy clicker or retractable pen (a pen flashlight or laser pointer will be suitable for deaf cats).

ii. Make several clicking sounds and then offer the cat a treat.

This helps the cat to associate the clicker with treats.

iii. Once the cat has associated the clicker with treats, try to make the clicking sounds on the other side of a closed door and see if the cat will attempt to open the door.

So, how do cats learn how to open doors?

Some cats can learn to open doors after watching their owners do it a couple of times. But most cats will probably master this skill after rigorous training.

Amazon Basics Cat Tower with Hammock and Scratching Posts...
51,234 Reviews
Amazon Basics Cat Tower with Hammock and Scratching Posts...
  • Cat tower in Gray designed to engage indoor cats in climbing and scratching and cozy naptime
  • 2 sturdy scratching posts, plush suspended hammock, secure base, and a replaceable dangling soft ball toy
  • Natural jute fiber provides an optimal texture for cats to sharpen claws and keep nails healthy

Last update on 2024-03-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

How Do You Stop A Cat From Opening Doors?

While it may be tempting to train your cat to open doors, experts discourage it. On the contrary, you should focus on stopping your feline friend from learning to open closed doors in the first place.

But that begs the question, how do I stop my cat from opening the lever door? Or how do I stop my cat from opening doors at all?

Whether you have a lever door or doorknobs, there are multiple ways to prevent your cat from opening the doors.

The first and most important tip is to analyze the doors that your cat keeps opening. This will help you determine his primary motivation.

For instance, your cat is likely looking for food if he keeps opening the kitchen door. Similarly, he might be in the mood for playing or prowling if he repeatedly opens the front door.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Cat Cute Funny Love (

Regardless of the motivation, the following tips may help you to stop your cat from opening closed doors;

1. Have a cat-friendly latch

A latch makes it difficult for cats to open closed doors. The only thing to ensure is that the latch is large enough for your cat to go through but small enough to keep out other larger animals like dogs.

2. Abandon lever doorknob

Most cats will find lever doorknobs easier to open than round doorknobs. So, an effective solution here is to ditch your lever doorknobs with rounded ones.

3. Child-proof the door

Incorporating a childproof feature to your door is recommended where you intend to keep the door closed at all times. These features are more common for rounded doorknobs.

4. Use a deterrent

You might also add a deterrent to your doors to make the handle less appealing for cats. Common deterrents include using double-sided tapes around the doorknobs, placing plastic floor matting on the doorway, or applying a citrus cat-repellent spray on the door.

5. Lock the door

If everything else fails, simply lock the door. Remember that even the smartest cat in the world won’t figure out how to open a locked door.

Lastly, conduct routine inspections to ensure your doorknobs and latches are always in order. Also, check that the door your cat is attempting to open doesn’t have alternative escape routes.

For instance, the doors to unused barns may have holes underneath, dug by rodents and other burrowing animals. In this case, your cat going under the door to gain entry to the barn may be just as irritating as him opening the actual barn door.


Evidently, there are numerous reasons cats love to open closed doors. There’s usually no cause for alarm unless you find the behavior utterly irritating, in which case you can implement any of the tips listed above.

Having a cat pee all over the house can drive you crazy. It stinks and creates unnecessary work to clean up the mess. But what can you do to fix it? Click Here to Learn More….

Checkout Our Favorite Cat Products

1. Best Online Course For Cat Parents
Our favorite: The Cat Language Bible (How to Finally Understand And Speak to Your Cat) – A new form of cat to human communication that many cat owners have dreamed about… but few have actually thought possible.

2. Best Immune Support For Cats
Our favorite: Tomlyn Immune Support – Best Supplement for Cats and Kittens.

3. Best Cat Treats
Our favorites: LIFE ESSENTIALS All Natural Freeze Dried Chicken And Sheba Meaty Tender Sticks – Both are Great.


Maria is the Founder and Senior Editor at She is a lifelong feline enthusiast, self-educated pet care nerd and adores cats of all shapes! Currently parent of 2 adopted cats. She loves iced coffee, playing guitar and cat-cuddling! .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Content

Cat problems? Enter your email to get our free training guide.