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Door Darting Behavior in Cats

door darting behavior in cats

Door darting is a potentially dangerous behavior for a cat. For a kitty who lives indoors exclusively, escaping through the door to the outside can result in instant tragedy. Even for a cat who is allowed access to the outside, being able to just zip out the front door whenever it’s opened can have very bad consequences.

The Allure of Door Darting for Your Cat

From the cat’s point of view, door darting is the one opportunity to escape to where all the excitement is located. When the front door is opened, a whole bunch of enticing scents enter the house. For an indoor/outdoor cat, being able to be in charge of his own in-and-out schedule is very appealing. The door is open and there’s nothing to do indoors so the cat uses that as his chance to head outside for some bird or chipmunk hunting.



Types of Feline Door Darters

Some cats are very obvious and insistent about their plan to bolt out the door. They sit and wait for any opportunity – whether it’s a visitor entering or leaving, the cat parent entering with an armload of groceries or a child heading off to school. The obvious door darter makes his intentions known and although you do everything you can to block his access, he knows there will be one time when you’re not paying attention and he can zip out behind you.

Then there are the covert door darters and they can be the most dangerous because cat parents often don’t realize kitty is even missing. He hides somewhere in the room, ready to slip out without anyone noticing. It isn’t until dinner time that you may become alarmed because kitty isn’t meowing in the kitchen the way he always does when you pop open the cat food can.

Photo: Pexels

Door Darting can be Deadly to Cats

Cats who aren’t used to being outdoors are at serious risk of being hit by cars, attacked by other animals, becoming lost, ingesting poison, among many other dangers. Regardless of whether your cat darts out the door and usually just sits on the front porch or stays in the front yard, he is in danger. Door darting is a behavior that needs to be corrected.

Retraining Your Door Darting Cat

First, stop giving your cat any attention at the door. It’s probably very typical for you to bend down and greet your cat as soon as you open the door. Chances are, kitty is right there waiting for you as soon as he hears your key in the lock. You now have to make the door a place where you completely ignore your cat. All meet-and-greets need to take place away from the entrance.


  1. It’s really a cool and useful piece of information. I’m happy that you simply
    shared this helpful info with us. Please stay us informed like this.

    Thank for sharing.

  2. Thank you! My little darter demon has been driving me CRAZY. Thanks to your advice, he’s on the way to becoming the good little guy I know he wants to be in his tiny kat heart. Thanks again for the advice. It was very worrying, since there are a lot of sickly ferals around here, and over 800 units make for a lot of cars,etc

  3. I have honestly tried all of these suggestions. NOTHING IS WORKING. Not even the spray bottle. He runs through it like a Marine dodging enemy fire. I no longer have the time or energy to deal with him.

  4. Has anybody ever tried fastening some rabbit webbing across the door that will restrain the cat but which their human can step over to get out? Garden stores sell this webbing to keep rabbits out of cucumber beds, for example. Also, paint it with vegetable oil infused with cayenne. Humans are the only mammals that like cayenne. I use this infusion to keep squirrels off my bird feeder pole, otherwise they swarm up it and hang upside down to steal the feed. Even when there are hot peppers in the feed!!!!

  5. My cat spooky wants to go outside but during the night and I don’t know why? I got him a harness so he can go outside when the dogs go outside but he suddenly doesn’t wanna be outside and wants to go back in, and when he bolts out the door he runs towards the backyard, when I try to bring him in he gets really angry and yells at me, it’s dark outside and I don’t want him getting hurt or lost, if there a reason why he gets angry about it? (He finds his way inside I’m just worried about him running off and hurting himself or someone)

  6. What a great idea! I wish I would have read this post just a week earlier! I would have done this! My cat darted out the door, into the worse area ever, and never been seen again. I cry everyday still. Ty for this piece of advice!

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