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Discussion Starter #1
First time posting on here but you all seem like a friendly knowledgeable bunch so thought I'd ask your advice.

We have two cats, Merlyn is a 10 year old girl and Zebedee a 9 yr old boy. We've lived in our house for 7 years now and have always had a 'cat-hole' in the back door, basically a catflap with no door! When it was first installed Merlyn refused to use it, growling and hissing and getting stressed, so we removed the door to make it easier for her.

Over the last few months we've had an increasing number of other cats coming in the house eating our cats food, fighting with them and spraying. Zebedee started jumping at every little noise and Merlyn wasn't happy at all, so we installed a magnetic catflap to keep the intruders out. Zebedee figured out how to use the door and has no problems but Merlyn refuses.

I've tried tempting her out with milk and treats, talking to her, stroking and reassuring her but she just sits there and growls at it. I've resorted to blocking the way back into the kitchen and gently nudging her bum so the only way she can go is out the catflap. Her growls just get louder then she eventually noses her way out, she has no problems coming back in after she's had a wander and play in the garden and done her business and I usually reward her with a treat on her return.

So do you think she's scared or just being stubborn. Am I going about it in the right way or should I be doing something else?

Any advice would be much appreciated!
 

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Which one is the dominant cat? Have you noticed Zebedee rubbing on the cat door on the way in and out? That's the only thing that comes to mind right away: Zeb is the dominant cat, Merlyn smells his marking scent on the door and refuses to use it because it's "his." Or it could be that there's still the scent of strange cats on there and that's why she refuses to use it. Sort of the same problem with a different twist.

And welcome to the forum!! :D
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Coaster, thanks for the reply and the welcome!
Merlyn is the dominant one, she eats first while Zebs sits back and waits even though I put two bowls down! If I give them both treats Zebedee will back down and give way to Merlyn, especially when she starts growling.
There can't be any scent on the catflap of other cats because it's new and none have got in since we installed it.

I have actually made some progress, I don't have to nudge her now, she will go out if I place her in front of it and repeat "go on out Merlyn, go on" in a strict voice and then when she pokes her head out I say "good girl!" praising her so she goes all the way through.

The problem is now persuading her to do it on her own. I've found her mewling in the kitchen a couple of times because she wants to go out but she won't go through the catflap of her own accord unless I place her there.

Any other suggestions?
 

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Some cats take a while to get used to doing new things, and to get used to new things in their territory.
Keep reinforcing with treats that going through the catflap on her own is a good thing, and be patient. :)
Is there a way you can go around to the other side of the catflap and invite Zebedee to go through? Poke your hand through with a treat and let her know she doesn't get it unless she goes through the flap.
:catmilk
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks again for the responses, I have some good news! Two weeks after being very patient, reassuring and feeding her tons of treats, Merlyn finally went through of her own accord! We were in the lounge last night when we heard the catflap go, Zebedee was curled up next to me on the sofa, so we went out to the kitchen and Merlyn was out in the garden! She's come in and out several times since so it looks like she's accepted it now :)
 
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