How Do I Stop My Cat From Scratching the Door at Night?

How do I stop my cat from scratching the door at night?

Cats scratch doors as a way of getting the attention of their owners. I have lived with cats for long and have tried many techniques to control bad habits in cats. In this guide, I will outline some of the methods I have used to get cats to quit scratching doors.

How I Stop My Pets from Scratching Doors – Here are some effective methods I have used to get cats to stop scratching doors:

• Make the entrance less appealing
• Feed the cat heavily before bedtime
• Play with the cat for some minutes before their final meal of the day
• Never reward your cat after they scratch your door

Cats are great pets, but they can be stubborn at times. There is only one way to build proper habits in a cat: reinforcement. Whether positive or negative, reinforcement has helped me effectively teach my cats what I like and what I dislike. If the scratching habit is out of control, do I choose to create my cats? The short answer is: No. The long answer is described below. Scratching the door is not the only problem I have had to deal with. My cats could get very noisy at night. Fortunately, I have managed to control them over time. Solutions to these problems will be explored in this guide.

How To Train My Cat?

If your cat scratches your bedroom door at night, they simply need to be trained. I always tell pet owners to avoid rewarding cats with attention when they scratch doors as that will encourage them to keep scratching doors. Unlike humans, cats do not have a sense of right or wrong. The only way they can learn not to irritate people with constant scratching is by eliminating their source of pleasure whenever they engage in the habit. Their biggest source of happiness is attention from me as their owner, so I always withdraw my attention when they scratch the door.

Inflicting pain to cats is part of animal abuse and will definitely lead to a poor relationship with the pet. Negative reinforcement should only involve the withdrawal of pleasure.

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Like other wild cats, pets are naturally programmed to hunt for their meals. Their bodies are supposed to feel tired right before they eat, and this will prompt them to go to sleep in order to naturally regain the energy spent hunting. Since domestic cats live indoors, they do not have to go through this struggle. This is why I always simulate a similar experience to prompt my cat to follow its instinct. Maintaining the routine gets my cats to go to sleep every night with me, and this means they will not keep scratching doors.

I have always created this experience by playing with my cats for several minutes just before their final meal. It is essential for the cats to be actively engaged in the activity so that they get exhausted. I then offer the cats food. They eat right before I go to bed, and they finish their final meal when I am already asleep. Their bodies will naturally respond by relaxing after the meal, and eventually, the pets will fall asleep. This leads to a peaceful night that is free of door scratches.

I have also found motion-activated pet deterrents effective in preventing cats from scratching doors. These are devices which spray the air around your door whenever a cat tries to approach the entrance. I always keep the door closed so that the cat knows not to try to approach the entrance. Over time, the cats learn to associate the door with a bad experience and will learn to avoid it. If you don’t like the idea of spraying your cat, you can instead go for ultrasound cat repellants. These simply emit an irritating noise when the cat approaches the door. This sound is not audible to human beings, but it is quite irritating to cats.

Spray-on repellents are used by many cat owners to get pets away from certain doors. I discourage the use of these repellants since they don’t usually offer the best results. This is mainly because the cat will learn to ignore the smell over time. Also, the repellant will have to be applied frequently, and that can be a lot of work. Another inadvisable method that is widely used by pet owners is punishing the cat by squirting water on him when he scratches the door. The problem with this technique is that it requires a human presence. That would be a big bother for me and many other pet owners. Even worse, the cat is highly likely to connect the water bottle to me as its owner, and that will worsen our relationship.

Should I Crate My Cat at Night?

The solutions described above will not work very fast. This can make you want to crate your cat at night. Crating a cat is acceptable only in special circumstances. If I think my cats might injure themselves at night, I will definitely confine them in a crate. If the cat is very young or very old, the crate will make him feel safe and secure. Otherwise, he is likely to be very uncomfortable in a crate and may end up making some weird noises at night.

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Whenever I crate my cats, I make sure the cages are large and comfortable for the pets. Inexperienced cat owners can easily put their pets in carriers and subject the cats to unnecessary torture throughout the night. These cages are specifically designed for the transport of cats and dogs, and they should never be used to house cats. They are usually dark and stuffy, and no cat will forgive you for leaving them in such conditions every night.

When shopping for a cat crate, you should always go for the larger sizes. The cat needs some room for the litter box, food, bed, and even toys. A small space will make them uncomfortable and could easily double up as torture. I also like to give my cats enough room to walk around. Making the crate comfortable will make the cat automatically fall in love with the new home. This way, they will not have to be lured into the cage every night.

How I Get My Cats to Stop Meowing?

Keeping my cat away from your door will usually solve one problem, but it can lead to another: excessive meowing. Cats can cry like babies all night. This can be irritating, and my instinct is always to check on them. However, I successfully resist the temptation to attend to them since I understand that they are only seeking attention. This is the one reason why I consistently avoid making any positive or negative responses to my cats’ noises. It can be painful to ignore a meowing cat for a long time, but it is important to stay strong in order to train the pet properly. Immediately the cat stops making noise, I will open my door and maybe even play with them. To them, that will register as a reward for staying silent.

Sometimes, I am unable to stand the constant meowing, and that is when I go for drastic measures. These measures involve the use of a dryer or vacuum cleaner to startle the cats whenever they start meowing. The trick is to use a remote-controlled appliance and always position it right outside your room. This is where many cats like to sit as they make noise at night. As soon as they start meowing and crying, I will switch on the dryer or vacuum cleaner and suddenly make the most irritating noise ever. The cats will retreat to their sleeping places. Repeating this procedure a few times is sure to teach the cats not to cry at night.

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It is worth noting that some cats meow because they need help. If your cat might be in pain or distress, you should attend to them immediately.

How I Get My Cat to Cuddle with Me at Night?

Every pet owner likes to stay close to their cat. The best way to show love to cats is through touch. Cuddling with my cats at night is a very rewarding experience, but what if he insists on sleeping in a separate spot? I usually deal with this problem by leaving my scent on the cat’s favourite sleeping spot. My go-to method is putting my shirts on the cat’s sleeping spot. This helps them adjust quickly to sleeping on my bed since they associate the smell with comfort and safety. Also, if the cat has an object they like to sleep on, I will move it to my bed. Typically, the cats will respond positively to perches. They like sitting on high grounds as they observe the entire room.

If necessary, I will lure the cat to my bed using treats. The number of treats should match the amount of time the cat spends on the bed as that will encourage him to stay for extended periods. I have noticed that leaving the cat to explore the bed on its own will usually garner a positive response. They need to feel comfortable in the space. If he chooses to leave, don’t hold him back or fuss about the frustrating experience. Doing this can make the cat associate the bed with unpleasant events, and that will make it harder for him to cuddle with you at night.

Living with cats has made me realise that cats are quite different. Some will enjoy sleeping in a bed that has your scent, no matter how appalling, and others are clean freaks. The latter will not go anywhere near unwashed sheets. If a cat is unable to fall asleep in my bed, I usually try to clean the sheets and try again.

When the cat meows at door at night, you might also look for some products to reduce the anxiety:

  • cat scratcher for door frame
  • cat scratching door frame
  • door frame scratching post
  • cat deterrent for doors

Article by Barbara Read
Barbara read
Barbara Read is the heart and soul behind From her early love for cats to her current trio of feline companions, Barbara's experiences shape her site's tales and tips. While not a vet, her work with shelters offers a unique perspective on cat care and adoption.