How to Keep a Cat Out of a Room (Pet Owner Tips)

Cat owners know that their cat will likely get into every corner of the house at some point, but there are occasions when you don’t want the cat in a particular room.

The room will often be the bedroom, but shutting the door doesn’t help because they cause a ruckus outside!

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So what are pet owners’ tips to keep a cat out of a room without developing unwanted behaviors? Let’s explore the best ideas.

How to Keep a Cat Out of a Room Without Causing Stress

One of the most significant issues with keeping a cat out of a room is that you can inadvertently cause stress, leading to other problems.

So there’s a balancing act involved with keeping them out of a room. This doesn’t mean it can’t be done; you need a good idea of how to best approach it for your pet.

Tabby cat standing on the back of a chair trying to open a closed door

Punishing your cat for entering the room isn’t a good idea because they could come to distrust you.

And this negative reinforcement can lead to other problems, such as litter box avoidance, urine spraying, or other unpleasant behaviors that cats can develop when they are scared or stressed.

The key is to teach your cat that they are not allowed in the room or that something you use means they are not permitted in the room.

The good news is that there are many ways to show your cat that the room is off-limits. You need to spend a little time with some positive reinforcement to get them to understand what you want from them.

Can You Close the Door?

The simplest way to stop a cat from entering a room is the shut the door. This might be your home’s standard wooden door, or it might be adding something like a screen door if there’s no door already in place.

This approach can work well if you have a new cat or have moved to a new home. The idea is to try to stop the cat from entering the room at any point so they never come to think of it as their territory.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t always work. The cat may still try to get into the room, and you might find that the side of the door or the door frame becomes a scratching post as the cat tries to get into the room and investigate.

Another issue is that the cat may spend a reasonable period of time outside the door, meowing loudly to get into the room. If this is a living room, you can turn up the TV or play loud music for a short time to ignore them.

A silver tabby scratching the bottom of a wooden door to get into a room

But if this is a bedroom at night, this isn’t the best way to create a cat-free zone. Plus, constantly meowing at the door can cause stress.

Four Ways to Stop Cats Entering a Room

There are many ways you can stop a cat from entering a room, but here are four pet owners most recommend to get their furry friend to comply with their wishes.

Electronic Cat Repellents

This might sound a little unpleasant, but this is a safe and humane way to prevent them from entering a room.

Add a small device in front of your door, and the motion sensor is triggered when the cat approaches. A burst of air is released in the cat’s direction, making them stop.

It doesn’t hurt them, but just like a big gust of wind when they walk outside, the puff of air will prevent them from going into the room.

Spray-on Repellents

Spray-on repellents are used on the house, not the cat. The idea is to use a spray bottle to mark around the room’s doorway, and the sprays use scents that cats don’t like.

The cat will approach the room, and the smell will almost be like a physical barrier they don’t want to breach. It does need to be reapplied regularly, and check the label of any product for the best way to use it.

Citrus Peel

Citrus peel works similarly to a spray-on repellent, and cats are famous for their dislike of strong citrus smells.

Cat sniffing a bowl of lemons on a table

You can use fruit peels in front of the door but be aware of the oils from the fruit. The biggest problem with this method is you need to eat a lot of citrus fruit to keep a constant fresh supply of peel!

But if you have a lot of citrus fans in the house, this might be a great idea.

Electronic Mats

Electronic mats are placed in the room doorway if you want to avoid the cat entering.

The cat will step on the mat and feel a strange sensation that will cause them to back up. Used regularly, this can prevent them from attempting to enter the room even if the mat isn’t in place.

You can use different levels of static pulse and various size mats depending on the doorway you want to cover.

Other Ways to Keep a Cat Out That May Work

Other ideas on how to keep a cat out of the room may work, depending on your feline friend. Others are often mentioned, but pet owners don’t seem to see the best results with them.

  • Use a baby gate or pet gate – these can be a great way to stop a dog from entering a room but don’t work as well with a cat unless the cat is elderly and can’t jump. Otherwise, they tend to jump straight over them!
  • Aluminum foil relies on the idea that cats don’t like the noise and unpleasant textures of the may, but this doesn’t work too well. Yes, the foil creates loud noises, but after the initial surprise, some cat owners found the cats used it as new cat toys and played with it.
  • Place cat toys outside – another idea is to add favorite items outside the room and grab the cat’s attention. You could even use something like a cat tree. But most people will say this either doesn’t work or only holds their attention briefly. It can work as part of a positive reinforcement to help them avoid the room, but it isn’t as effective.
  • Spray bottles – using a spray bottle to deter a cat from anything can work but comes with the risk that the cat associates the spray bottle with the family member using it rather than the action they should stop. This can lead to the cat avoiding the person. However, it is one of the humane ways to prevent them from doing something, as cats generally don’t like to get wet.

Tips on Training Your Cat

One of the most effective ways to get the cat not to enter a room is to train them not to, but this can take some time and patience. Here are some tips on how to best achieve this:

  1. Be patient – this will take some time, and you need to reduce their stress while they learn not to enter the room. Don’t throw things at or shout at them if they enter the room.
  2. Use just one repellent system – pick one of the methods and stick to it for a while. Use an old cell phone or grab a wireless webcam to monitor how the cat behaves to see if the system works. Don’t swap to different methods, as this will confuse the cat.
  3. Distract them if you are nearby – if you see them trying to enter the room and ignoring the repellent, try distracting them with a treat or a toy rather than shouting at them.
  4. Reward good behavior – give them treats or pet them when they don’t enter the room.
  5. Make other rooms more appealing – you don’t need to give the rest of the house to the cat, but you can make sure there are good things in other rooms that are more attractive to them and ensures those rooms are more appealing.
  6. Make sure your cat is occupied – bored cats, especially indoor cats, will go looking for something new, so it is important to have play time and other measures to keep them occupied and engaged when they are awake and playful.

Final Thoughts on How to Keep Your Cat Out of a Room

Having a space in your home that isn’t part of your cat’s life can be challenging, but preventing cat access can be done without causing stress or behavioral problems.

Look at the different systems and see which best works for your pet’s personality; then, you can create a spot the cat doesn’t visit when needed.

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