Why Do Cats Hate To See Closed Doors?

Something had me thinking about Boots, a feline patient I’d treated for many years. Boots came up missing last year, his owners assumed he went off somewhere in the woods to die.

Two things stand out in my memory about Boots. One is that he was a grouch. He was one cantankerous patient and did not appreciate that we did our best to keep him well. When he came for an appointment we made sure we had everything ready in advance because his mood declined with each tick of the second hand. Either you finished with Boots in the first seven minutes, or you were finished until next year.

The other remarkable thing about Boots is that he absolutely hated to have doors closed in his house. Of course, with his bad attitude, it was necessary to close him up in a room to capture him and put him in a carrier for his doctor visit.

I always thought that was an interesting trait, and our Martha does it, too.

Martha, like Boots, thoroughly dislikes closed doors.
Martha, like Boots, thoroughly dislikes closed doors.

Just the other day it finally occurred to me why cats do that: We close doors to contain our cats into a single room for easy capture! Then we put them in carriers or administer medication to them! We know how smart our pets are, it surely doesn’t take them long to pick up on these cues and figure out that a closed door means something is coming that they don’t want to happen.

Some mysteries are solved with simple common sense.

See you tomorrow, Dr. Randolph.

PS: MyPetsDoctor.com readers were surely surprised to receive a headline this week with no text! There was a glitch that we think we have solved, and the above post is the one that should have come out then.


  1. My cat is a year old. Someone left this cat and we adopted each other. She was pregnant when she came lost her litter. Now I had her spayed. She been with me 2 or 3 months. She hates close doors. I close the door because I don’t want her in the bed with me. She insists until I give in. I am trying to break her up by telling her to get in her bed. Surprisingly when I do that she will . I point go go to bed to funny. If that doesn’t work she will go to the door to go outside no matter what time it is. In the morning she will actually fuss because I don’t let her in sooner😊😊

  2. Sorry, doc, you missed the boat on this one. We have 2 cats, a shop cat (lives at our machine shop) and the house cat. Both hate closed doors, neither has ever been locked in a room, for any purpose, and neither cares which side of door they’re on or if they alone. They don’t care who is with them on their side or who is on the other side. They don’t like closed doors, PERIOD!! The home cat will come out of a sound sleep and immediately come down from his cozy, lofty bed if he hears the bathroom door close, and there he will wait for it to open. Once the door opens and the human has evacuated, he has no interest in the empty room. I’ve read many possible explanations but none of them address the entirety of all the manifestations of this behavior, and I’ve yet to figure it out myself. For now, I’ve settled on the conclusion that we may never fully and accurately understand the reason for this odd “cat-thing”, and perhaps that’s okay. Do we really need to analyze to full understanding every single “secret thing” about our pets, would we want everyone to analyze everything about every odd quirk we display? I think not!………..

      • My 14 year old seal point hates closed doors too! In winter, I close just one door in the house because on the other side is a room built of stone which is freezing and I don’t want the very cold air coming into the rest of the house. The cat goes to the closed door over and over again and scratches at it till I give in and open it. When he clears off, I close it again. But he goes and checks again and the whole thing starts over! He just insists till I open that door. Crazy cat!

  3. Does anyone else have this problem? We rescued a cat from a parking lot in 2011 when someone threw some out. They where still nursing age. We have had her for a while. She is the sweetest thing, she wants to be held like a baby, she sticks her arm up and want you to rub the arm till she “falls asleep”. She cries to go to bed. One thing she absolutely does: she hates to have a door shut… any door!! She will either paw till she can get it open, jump and hang on the handle or wiggle herself till the latch comes open, and once the door is open she just walks away with no interest.

    • You just didn’t know how close you were to the answer, did you Mandi? It’s a matter of opinion whether it’s a “problem” or just a quirk. Become a subscriber and you get get interesting posts like this all the time. Best wishes, Dr. Randolph

  4. Well my cat hates to see closed doors in the house and she is just so nosey she will scratch and scratch in till we will just open the door!

  5. That isn’t the only reason cats do that. I never close my cats in rooms to catch them for veterinarian’s appointments. However, my cats will still paw at the bathroom door when it’s closed, or the sunroom door if I accidentally close it.

  6. How well we know about closed doors, especially with Mopsy. She is getting better – I think; but she is so smart and only if I could just hold her for a minute or longer. We’ll continue to love her just the way she is and we keep wishing that one day – she will come and lay on our laps. HA!

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