Early in her life, our cat devised a brilliant method to ask to come in. She plucks the weather stripping at the edge of the door. This sends a surprisingly sonorant POP throughout the house that can be heard on any floor.

She refuses to meow and we tried endlessly to get her to learn one of those cat doorbells at nose height. She will not learn.

We've replaced the weather stripping a couple of times already, and are about to do so again, but are hoping for a long-term solution. Whether the solution allows her to keep popping something that's not weather stripping, or removes the option so she's forced to meow or learn a cat chime, we don't care. We just don't want this to happen again:

weather stripping destroyed by cat

As you can see, she's capable of stretching to 2-3 feet off the ground, and if we only blocked off the bottom foot I'm sure she would stretch every time.

Any ideas?

  • A cat flap isn't an option?
    – Hobbes
    Jan 17, 2021 at 17:58

4 Answers 4


Your pet is doing what works. You do the same thing. We all do.

Many would want to find as simple a solution as you have to help their pet find a workable 'door bell.' Your issue is that you need to find another to replace the one your pet discovered.

My father always gave us 'a choice' of possible solutions to a problem. One was the (undesirable) one we discovered which was usually annoying—and another more favoured one by my father.

The hack is to make your alternative more desirable than your pet's choice. It's called conditioning. It will take time, patience, and love to be effective.

Add the 'bell' and gradually diminish the efficiency of the 'alternative.' When you finally open the door, lightly ring the bell immediately. After several times, react more slowly, then intermittently. Finally, cover the weather stripping with a barrier so that the only alternative is the 'bell.'

Good luck.


The "secure weather stripping" itself is a shopping question, but one hack could be to add another cover strip that the cat cannot tear.

How do you know the cat is "asking to come in" and not just trying to open the door? If the cat had made a connection between making a noise, and you coming to the door, it would probably have learned about the bell or maiowing.

My hack is

  • remove the weather stripping

  • fit a coded cat flap that only your cat can open

  • teach the cat how to use the cat flap

  • never let in the cat if it scratches the door

  • later, fit some new weather stripping

You can get catflaps operated by magnet or by microchip.
If the cat will wear a collar, the 'key' does not need to be implanted.

  • That said, a microchip is a good way to identify the cat not just for a cat flap, but also on case of loss, accident or other bad scenarios - provided the owner bothers to register her.
    – Stephie
    Jan 31, 2021 at 14:52

At this moment, the cat out-smarts you. It is the time for you to take revenge :)

so she's forced to meow or learn a cat chime

That is your solution. Stop reacting in any way when the cat uses the abhorred trigger. Do not even raise your eyes. If your eyes are closed, do not open them. You become deaf to the wrong signals of the cat.

  1. Install alternatives. Whatever you want. Show the cat how the alternatives work.

  2. Stop opening the door when the wrong signal is given. Open the door only when one of the preferred alternatives is used.

Going into the details a little bit.

Show the cat that the alternatives work. If there is a bell, ring the bell and wait for someone to open the door. Alternatively, call someone inside to open the door (call by loud voice, not by phone - the cat will probably never wear or operate a phone), and wait until the door is opened by whoever is inside.

As part of the training, the door should not always be opened at the first "call" (be it voice, bell...). Sometimes, use the alternative signal repeatedly, before someone opens the door. Even mix the signals, to teach the cat that it is OK to try all the allowed alternative methods, in case that one fails.

My personal preference (if I would be in your situation): do not replace anything until the training is at least started. Even when the training is finished, the replacement of whatever is broken might bring back old habits.

Bottom line: patience, and good luck :)


Divide and conquer your issue

I encourage you to replace the weatherstripping where and when it becomes tattered—not the whole length. It doesn't seem to need excessive maintenance for an effective solution. Divide the length of the weather stripping. Replace the bottom when needed. One full length could make three or four replaceable section 'patches.' You only need a couple of extra screw holes near the splice.

I think it will be more effective and less time and trouble to retrain you.

Good luck.

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