how to keep cat from opening latchless door durin ghte day
May 25, 2010 9:11 AM   Subscribe

Please help me figure out how to keep the cat from opening the latch-less bedroom door during the day when we are gone and/or not paying attention.

My girlfriend and I just adopted a new very large lynx point Siamese mix a few days ago (we named him Olympuss!). Due to my allergies we made the sad decision to keep him out of the bedroom so I have an allergy free haven to sleep in. Our bedroom door doesn’t latch, which is a big problem because our bed is his favorite place to spend the day (and the night, but earplugs block the boohooing and those cat-nail caps block the carpet damage from trying to dig his way in, last night was the first night and I feel so bad for him! What a pitiful life if you cant sleep on your moms pillow curled around her head!) … The not latching is okay during the night when we are sleeping, because we can easily block the door from inside the room. What doesn’t work is during the day, because since we are not in the room, there is no easy way that I can think of to keep the door shut as it pushes in. Right now I have a triple layer of yarn tied around the inside handle, up and over the top of the door then tied to a hanger that is tightly hung up in our hall closet. I have this all up in the air as far as I can, and he doesn’t seem to be able to reach it or able to push the door with his head with enough force to get the door open enough to squeeze through. The yarn/hanger/knot contraption is obviously is not a long term solution. I would like to find a clip or something to do this for us, however…we are not allowed to install anything involving nails or screws in the door or the door frame. I really don’t want to have to put him in the spare bathroom all day after he figures out the yarn setup and I am at a loss as to what to create or buy that would work!

Thank you!
posted by Jenny is Crafty to Home & Garden (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Well, the best answer is to simply install a proper latch and door knob set from Lowes or Home Depot, even if temporarily. If that is impossible, then you might attach a length of twine to a sturdy bag containing some sand or kitty litter. When you leave the room, lay the twine out through the door threshold and close the door over it. Then use the twine to pull the bag up against the door. Obviously the bag needs to be light enough for you to push the door open despite its presence, but heavy enough to deter the cat.
posted by rocketpup at 9:25 AM on May 25, 2010

Maybe something like this? (Can't tell from the pic, but I think it uses suction cups not nails or screws.)
posted by JoanArkham at 9:26 AM on May 25, 2010

Is this a regular bedroom door that just doesn't latch? I had the same problem with my cat, and I solved the problem by sort of wrapping a washcloth around the edge of the door, and then closing it. That gave it enough friction that the cat couldn't push it open.
posted by xsquared-1 at 9:28 AM on May 25, 2010

I have had some success wedging a piece of fabric between the door and the frame, so that I could just barely shut the door. It took me throwing my body weight against the door to open it again. Of course, the dog foiled it by throwing himself against the door, but he weighed 100 lbs, so probably the cats would just bounce off.
posted by crankylex at 9:31 AM on May 25, 2010

Take a rubber door stopper ramp jam attach it to a thin stiff piece of wood (eg paint striring strip) with a screw or epoxy. Place the door stopper inside the room by the door jam with the stick going through the doorway. Close the door and pull the rubber stopper into place with the stick. Now when the cat pushes on the door it hits the rubber stopper. To release push the stick in with your foot. The cat will not likely be able to push the stick. Viola!
posted by ChrisHartley at 9:33 AM on May 25, 2010 [2 favorites]

What about some very strong but slim stick-on magnets? You could put a couple on the side of the door and match them up to a couple on the side of your door frame if there's any space at all. They're also sold in strips - nice and flat. You'll be able to push open the door, Olympuss will not. Love the cat pics!
posted by iconomy at 9:33 AM on May 25, 2010

scat mat in front of the door...

(yes, I've posted this three days ago, no, I don't own the company, they just work great!)
posted by HuronBob at 9:35 AM on May 25, 2010

Beautiful photos.

It might help (your apparent guilt, anyway) if you get him an awesome pet bed. While he can probably fit into a small space, I've found that cats love huge cushy dog beds.

We also can't get our two foster cats *into* the bedroom since they love sleeping on this cat tower (the "Kitty Crow's Nest") so much. We have it in front of a window, and it's nearly irresistible to them when the window is open.

You could also try spending time with your kitty on the sofa next to you (maybe on a cushy folded comforter), while you work or whatever, so that he's getting cuddle time.

My only simple/cheap idea is putting something tall and unclimbable in front of the door when you leave.

Also, if you have to leave him alone a lot during the day, he might really do well with a friend. I know this would be difficult with your allergies, but I figured I'd throw it out there. Some cats like to cuddle when they sleep :)

You're probably already trying to tire him out with lots of play. That can help.

Oh -- one more idea: For some reason, every cat we've had through here loves to knead and cuddle with the very squishy "föm pillow" we got from Brookstone years ago. I don't think the pillow is easy to come by anymore, but maybe a buckwheat-hull or other sack-of-loose-stuff pillow would be fun and comforting for him. Good luck.
posted by amtho at 9:44 AM on May 25, 2010

This may not be what you're looking for, but...

Are you mainly worried about allergens on the bedspread? You could cover the bed with a large blanket for the cat to sleep on during the day, and then remove it at night, so you are not breathing in cat dander as you sleep.

No, no, my cats aren't spoiled in any way. I don't know why you'd think that.
posted by Tooty McTootsalot at 9:56 AM on May 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

A rubber door stopper wedge should work from the outside. Put it in place and pull the door onto it. What's with a door that doesn't latch? I gather you're renting, get the damn landlord to do something about it.
posted by hungrysquirrels at 10:15 AM on May 25, 2010

Great ideas! I am going to print this out and take it to Home Depot tonight! And then perhaps to the craft store to make him a more cushy bed.

Olympuss is alone about 5 hours a day, so not to bad... and when we did get him they said to a one-cat only home as he doesn't get along with other cats (as well as their pet bird that he ate which is the reason he was at the shelter). But that he was good with dogs and with kids.

He gets lots and lots of play time and cuddle time, and loves to knead his cat bed, me, the floor, the couch, my girlfriend and the roll of toilet paper that he attempts to get to while visiting us in the loo. He also drools, which I had not truly comprehended till last night, I had heard...but had never experienced. We leave the windows about an inch wide open and have wide sills that he can lounge on as well as a big post with a captains perch on the top. We have a nest of baby birds outside in a tree that he gets direct view of and quite enjoys!

I think about his only complaint in his cushy life now is not being able to sleep in our bed during the day or with us at night. My only complaint is not being able to breathe, but I am off to the doctor today so I hope that the issues get better with time as we adjust to each other.

Thanks everyone!
posted by Jenny is Crafty at 10:22 AM on May 25, 2010

I thought he looked like he had a bird inside him. There's that little gleam of happiness.

I keep my cat out with a version of ChrisHartley's wedge-on-a-stick, which works very well.
posted by Sallyfur at 11:19 AM on May 25, 2010

Sorry to tell you this, but your first mistake was letting him sleep in the bed even once. Now it's not a matter of wanting his own cushy bed, but wanting YOUR cushy bed. I doubt the most luxurious cat bed will provide any deterrent. You must NEVER EVER let him in the bedroom again. I speak from experience, I forever regret getting a cat while I was in a studio apartment, because he is still obnoxious about wanting to sleep with me, 8 years later.

In addition to the mechanical fixes, I would try to deter him while you are inside the bedroom. I find that canned air works really well; it must sound like a cat hiss to them. I hear that shaking a can of coins or running a vacuum cleaner is also unpleasant. The idea is for him to have a negative association with the bedroom, whether you're there or not.

Also be aware that my 20 lb cat had no problem pushing a door with a 20 lb dumbbell behind it.
posted by desjardins at 1:01 PM on May 25, 2010

Siamese cats are masters at getting doors open. Our part siamese managed to figure out how to work the door handle plus how to poke a paw underneath and pull a door towards her when it didn't open after pushing, so she couldn't easily be shut out of anywhere (and she was tiny). Anything based on friction or weight will probably be worked out too as you say he's big, he'll just throw himself against it until he works out the exact angle that makes the door open then shove a paw in the gap and work it from there.

The rubber stopper idea put forward by ChrisHartley strikes me as the one most likely to succeed, a properly placed door wedge can really keep a door shut (and is how we kept our cat in place). Otherwise a bookshelf or similar you side across in front of the door may end up being the only option depending on how much of the siamese smarts Olympuss has ended up with.
posted by shelleycat at 1:39 PM on May 25, 2010

As well as a big cushy bed, I'd also recommend that your gorgeous cat also has an igloo bed so he can choose somewhere different to sleep that's not your bed. My cats alternate between wanting to sleep on their bean bag where they can stretch out to curling in their igloo which seems more like a little den.
posted by essexjan at 5:11 PM on May 25, 2010

Well, after a night of experimenting with a rubber doorstop on a stick, a can of air and a smart cat... we ended up tying rope around the Harry Potter Boxed Set, which was the heaviest thing that we had that I could think of that would work. So far so good. Thank you!
posted by Jenny is Crafty at 10:51 AM on May 26, 2010

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