In those neck-nuzzling moments, your cat’s angelic side reappears. She’s not crashing fragile dishes to the floor, tearing stripes into leather sofas, or abandoning hair on your 100-count bed sheets. Some rooms should be cat-free zones — so how do you keep cats out of a room?
To keep cats out of a room, shut the door behind you, install a 34′ pet gate, or set up motion-detecting deterrents (citrus or air sprays). It also helps make it undesirable, lay a double-sided tape strip on the floor, build a cat-friendly room (with toys and beds) and reinforce good behaviors.
Steering clear of the kitchen or den might drive your kitty haywire. But preventing irreversible damage (and preserving your sanity) makes blockading some rooms worth it. To learn about how to keep cats out of rooms, read on!
Shut the Door (& Install Baby Proof Locks)
If an open floor plan escaped your housing budget, there is one perk: Doors. Keeping a door shut 24/7 can keep your cat from accessing this room altogether. Say Goodbye’ to shattered bowls and toilet bowl drinking sessions.
But as simple as it sounds, don’t expect a once free-roaming cat to respect these new borders willingly. Anxious cats may scratch at the door frame, divert their frustration elsewhere (i.e., Digging the soil from the houseplant), or sneakily dart into the room as you come and go.
It’s also not a fool-proof’ plan, and uttering, Hey, how’d you get in here?’ may not exit your vocabulary just yet. With a little persistence, some committed cats will discover how to open doors — even without thumbs!
Childproof locks installed on all door handles and knobs could be a good investment.
Install a 34″ Pet Gate in the Doorway
A standard 22′ baby gate in the door frame isn’t necessarily terrifying’ to fearless kitties, especially when cats can clear 5′ fences with little trouble. But when the room in question has no door (like a kitchen or a dining room entryway), you might have to DIY a door.
The 34′ pet gate strategy can seem a bit more daunting and completely impassable for senior, obese, or arthritic felines.
To make sure this gate keeps non-agile kitties out:
- Ensure the bars are far enough apart that a slender kitty can’t sneak through (with a slippery texture that cats can’t scale)
- Remove furniture from around the gate that can serve as stepping stones to the gate (like an end table or a low sofa)
- Tighten the tension mounts to keep the gate from tipping over with weight (or even a failed leap into no man’s land)
Most of all, never step over the gate as your intuitive kitty is watching. A towering fortress might seem like a far less risky jump if she sees that over — not just through — is an option.
Set-Up a Motion-Detecting Spray Deterrent (Air & Citrus)
A water bottle spritz, jingling can, or a loud No!’ can trigger a relentless kitty to rethink her entry. But unless you monitor your cat 24/7, the living room will occasionally be unguarded,’ such as when you sleep, leave the house, or even clock out’ of cat duty.
Angling a motion-detecting spray deterrent toward the door will keep an off-limits room fully protected. All it takes is an unexpected puff of compressed air (or even citrus-scented liquid) to spook a cat and overpower its sensitive olfactory receptors.
However, don’t recklessly install the deterrent without expecting a backlash. Many of these motion detectors have a 3′ reach and just 80-100 spritzes apiece, so make sure it won’t set off as your cat struts down the hall innocently. Position it even with the frame and angled slightly toward the door to prevent accidental misfires and missed opportunities.
Make It Undesirable (i.e., Turn On the Radio)
Although cats can make themselves at home anywhere, there are some deal-breakers that’ll make a room far less attractive to our four-legged friends. Without a door to shut:
- Turn on the radio or TV to a slightly above a calming’ level: If this room is your cat’s napping retreat, the lack of silence will be more of a nuisance than anything.
- Block off that hidey-hole your kitty loves: Shove plastic totes under the bed, fill the bookshelves with books, and remove the filled laundry basket.
- Add kitty’s least favorite smells: Create your own cat-proof elixirs by combining water with essential oils like lavender, peppermint, or citrus and spritzing her favorite places.
- Remove all cat stuff: Felines can certainly make a bed or a toy out of anything, but flat-out removing all comfort items can make this room even less enticing.
It’s only feline nature to test boundaries and toe the line regularly. Continue stymieing your cat’s devilish side, and she’ll eventually hear the message loud and clear.
Lie a Double-Sided Tape Strip in the Doorway
Cats boast a laundry list of their most hated things, from water and belly rubs to soiled litter boxes and cedar. Double-sided sticky tape is the bane of a curious kitty’s existence, allowing this craft tool to moonlight as a trusty feline deterrent.
A strip of double-sided tape’s stickiness sends unprepared cats into a tizzy. On top of uncomfortably sticky paws, an unsuspecting cat won’t notice the clear tape.
Feel free to use double-sided tape:
- On the floor in a door frame to keep sneaky cats at bay
- On the kitchen countertops
- On vertical surfaces like sofas or walls that cats can’t help but scratch
Dirt, dust, litter remnants, and dead hairs will make the double-sided tape less effective. Replace less-adhesive strips as needed — likely once every week or two until your cat learns the rules.
Build a Cat Room (Toys, Beds, & Scratch Posts)
Until you make a cat-friendly room with Fluffy in mind, every room — from the bathroom to the attic — is fair game. Converting normally unused space into a kitty oasis can deter a cat from forcing entry or attacking the safeguards.
A cat-friendly room that’s both easy-to-clean and intriguing to cats will have:
- Carpeting patches for relieving the desire to scratch
- Height (cat-safe shelving, cat trees, or even tall bookcases)
- Places to hide under
- Multiple sleeping options (a memory-foam cat bed, a worn T-shirt, or a cardboard box)
- Toys, toys, and more toys
- A sunny window for sunbathing and watching the world — and rodents — go by
- A clean litter box
- Human items (like chairs, sofas, end tables, or even a television)
A dozen mouse toys, fraying scratch posts, and a DIY bed may not feel like the kitty version of the Ritz Carlton. The video below describes how to convert a room into a lovely feline retreat:
Remind Your Kitty of the Rules Regularly
Felines are certainly trainable and understand the house rules. Teaching your cat to stay out of the room doesn’t have to mean erecting a fence or spooking her with compressed air.
A firm no’ paired with a clap, spritz of a spray bottle, authentic-sounding hiss, or shaking a soup can full of coins can deliver that very same message. Consistency is critical, so don’t enforce the rules sometimes and allow complete freedom other times.
Whether it’s the devious behaviors or peak shedding season, torpedoing your cat’s curiosity will save you a headache (and money). And yet, keeping a cat confined to these preferred’ rooms can also keep unrelenting cats away from dangers by:
- Blocking forbidden snacks like grapes, raisins, chocolate, or peace lily leaves
- Avoiding sharp household objects like knives, scissors, or shattered glass
- Shielding them from allergens (i.e., dust mites in a sunroom)
- Limiting interactions between two hostile or territorial felines
Remember that cats are intellectual critters, always looking to press boundaries. It could be months before this new rule becomes routine.
- The Nest: What Time of Year Do Cats Shed?
- Fetch by WebMD: Allergies in Cats: Symptoms and Triggers
- The Spruce: The Open Floor Plan: History, Pros, and Cons
- PetMD: How Long Should You Play With Your Cats Each Day?
Pam is a self-confessed cat lover and has experience of working with cats and owning cats for as long as she can remember. This website is where she gets to share her knowledge and interact with other cat lovers.