How to Safely Keep Cats Out of a Room

Fact checked by  Jackie Brown
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Cats are well known for their inquisitive nature. They love to explore and investigate things, particularly areas within their territory—and that includes your home.

However, you might want to keep your cat out of a certain room for various reasons. It could be that you don’t want your cat in the kitchen where food is prepared, or you might want to keep them out of a certain bedroom if one of your family members suffers from allergies.

Key Takeaways

You can try several ways to keep your cat out of a room in your house, even if there is no door in that room.

If you decide you don’t want your cat to have access to a room, be consistent and never let them in that room, and make sure family members do the same.

Reward your cat with treats, petting, or a play session for staying away from the room, and never verbally or physically punish your cat if they do manage to enter the room.

Whatever the reason, if you want to keep your cat out of a room, you need to know how to do so safely and without punishing or scaring your cat. Read on to learn how you can keep your cat out of a room.

1. Keep the Door Shut

This is the most obvious and easiest solution to keep your cat out of a room. Close the door whenever you enter or leave the room, and make sure other family members do the same. Cats are quick so be sure to shut the door swiftly behind you but be careful not to accidentally trap your cat in the door if thye do decide to make a dash for it.

2. Use a Gate or Curtain

If the room you wish to keep your cat out of does not have a door, you could try a specially-designed pet gate or barrier. These are similar to baby gates but are extra tall to prevent your cat from jumping over them. Of course, if your cat is particularly agile even these might not be high enough.

For elderly cats or those that aren’t as mobile, ordinary baby gates can work to prevent them from gaining access. Another option is to try a beaded or plastic curtain. Again, this might deter some cats but for cats that are especially persistent, you might need to try an alternative solution.

3. Provide Alternatives

If your cat is looking for a quiet place to relax, set up a great space in an acceptable room.

If your cat wants to be in a room for a particular reason, keeping them out of that room might be as simple as proving that reason in a different room. Cats are creatures of habit so hopefully, it won’t be long before your cat learns that another spot in a different room is more attractive.

It might be that your cat is seeking something in particular from a certain room. If that is the case, providing an alternative space for your cat might be enough to keep them out of the room in question. If they try to get in the room because it’s peaceful and quiet away from the main hubbub of the household, then make another room quiet and somewhere that they won’t be disturbed.

Perhaps your cat enjoys sleeping on top of a particular wardrobe but that wardrobe is in a bedroom that you don’t want your cat to enter. Consider moving the wardrobe into a different room that is acceptable for your cat or provide a different high-up place for them to sleep in a room that you are happy for your cat to access.

If your cat enjoys a particularly sunny spot in a room that you don’t want them to be in, close the curtains or blinds and ensuring they have another warm, comfortable place to sleep.

4. Reward Desirable Behavior

Cats are intelligent animals and can be trained just like dogs can. Whenever your cat tries to enter the forbidden room, try to distract them. This might involve tempting them away with a toy or some treats. You can then reward this behavior either with petting, treats, or a fun game.

Cats can even be clicker-trained whereby they learn to associate the sound of a clicker with having done something good and receiving a tasty treat. This positive reinforcement can be an effective method to train a cat to stay out of a room.

5. Make the Room Uncomfortable

You could try placing double-sided tape across the floor of the entrance to the prohibited room to act as a deterrent. Most cats will find this texture unpleasant and avoid walking on it and so won’t enter the room. Aluminum foil can be used in the same way as many cats don’t like the feel or sound of it as they walk on it.

If your cat likes to go in the room to sleep on a certain chair, then either move the chair or place things on it so your cat can no longer sleep there. If they like to sleep by a radiator, you could try turning the radiator down or off in that room.

Another way to make the room less desirable to your cat is to use a scent that cats do not like. Examples include vinegar; mint; or citrus juice from oranges, grapefruit, or lemon.

It is best to use natural smells whenever possible, for example mint leaves, vinegar, citrus juice, or citrus zest in a container with holes in it. If you do use artificial scent, make sure they aren’t toxic to cats. Some essential oils can be very dangerous and even life-threatening to cats.

Cats have extremely sensitive hearing and don’t like loud noises, so you could try playing music or turning the TV volume up in the room where you don’t want your cat to be. It doesn’t have to be particularly loud to deter your cat, most cats will choose to be somewhere quiet over somewhere with noise.

6. Ignore Scratching at the Door

Ignore any pawing or scratching at the door, or place something in front of the door to block your cat’s access.

If your cat scratches the door to be let into a room then try and ignore it. If your cat learns that scratching gets them attention, or even better, gives them access to their room of choice, then they will continue to do it and will probably scratch more persistently.

Try and ignore your cat completely as even telling them “no” or picking them up to move them away is still a form of attention and therefore reward in their eyes. If you are worried about your door getting scratched then put something in front of it, or cover it with something that you do not mind getting scratched.

7. Be Consistent

If you decide to keep your cat out of a specific room, then be consistent and never let them in there. Make sure other family members do not let your cat into that room either. Intermittently allowing your cat access to the room, even if it’s just every now and then, is confusing for your cat. They won’t understand why they are sometimes allowed in and sometimes not.

8. Never Use Punishment

However you choose to keep your cat out of a room, never punish your cat for unwanted behaviors, either verbally or physically. Also never use negative reinforcement methods such as spraying water at your cat or shaking a jar of coins. These will only scare your cat and make them frightened of you.

In Summary

Try different methods until you find the ones that work to keep your cat out of certain rooms.

You are now armed with some ideas of how you can try and keep your cat out of a certain room in your house. Whichever method you choose, just remember never to punish your cat either verbally or physically.

You might need to try a few different ideas or a combination of methods until you find out what works for your cat. Remember, all cats are different and they are cunning creatures, but with a little thought and preparation, you can usually outwit them!

Also Read: 5 Ways To Build A Stronger Bond With Your Cat

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you keep a cat out of a room without a door?

If your cat is elderly or less mobile, you could try using a baby gate to keep your cat out of a room. You can also make the room less desirable, for example, by moving your cat’s favorite chair to another room, or closing the curtains to shade a sunny spot that your cat enjoys. If your cat tries to enter the room, you can try and distract them with treats or a fun game.

Can you teach a cat to stay out of a room?

Felines are intelligent animals and they can be trained just like dogs. You can successfully teach your cat to stay out of a room by being consistent and using positive training methods such as giving your cat a treat as a reward for staying out of the room. Never verbally or physically punish your cat for wrong behavior.

What smell will keep a cat out of a room?

Most cats dislike smells such as mint, vinegar, and citrus. Sometimes, by putting one of these scents in a small box with holes in it inside the room, you can discourage your cat from entering the room. If you do use artificial scent, make sure they aren’t toxic to cats. Some essential oils can be very dangerous and even life-threatening to cats.

What smells do cats dislike?

Most cats dislike smells such as mint, vinegar, and citrus. They also usually dislike odors from plants such as lavender or geranium, and herbs such as rosemary and thyme.

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About Dr. Gemma Cliffin BSC BVSC MRCVS

Gemma has worked in a wide variety of roles including first opinion practice, as a night vet, and as a locum vet. She currently works in a small animal hospital in North Yorkshire. She has particular interests in feline medicine, diagnostic imaging, and pain management, as well as a strong understanding of cat behavior and nutrition.