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Using pet food to build up a cat's trust of a catflap

Monday, 25th June 2012

Feeding cats near the door can make them more trusting of a catflap if they refuse to use it.

Writing to the Telegraph's resident animal expert Dr Pete Wedderburn, one concerned pet owner explained their cat refused to use a new flap after it was sprayed by a neighbouring male.

The owner also suggested that the cat, called Poppy, may be put off by the clicking sound it makes.

Dr Wedderburn explained in his letters column in the newspaper that it is a good idea to feed the animal near to the door, then once she is comfortable around it, move her food to the other side of the open door.

"Once she has been using the open door for a while, allow the flap to close but keep it set to be open all the time with the electricity off," he recommended. "Once she's using it regularly, turn it on, making sure to reward her with food every time she goes through it.

He explained that it is importance to supervise use of the cat flap as much as possible in the first few weeks so that other cats aren't turning up and marking their territory around it.