I live with my humans in this great big house. There are so many places to explore—or there should be. The problem is that my humans keep a lot of doors shut, and you know how we cats hate that! What’s really bad is that one moment they’ll have a door—like the door to the bathroom—open, but when they go inside they shut it and won’t open it up until they come out. What are they doing in there anyway that they need to hide from me? Some doors—the ones that have the really cool stuff in them—are shut almost all the time. I just don’t get it. Well, I know that it’s completely impossible to understand humans’ strange habits, so I won’t bother trying. The important thing I need to know is how to get those doors open! Can you help?
Humans are really strange about doors, that is for sure. They seem to like shutting them almost as much as we like opening them. What I’ve never been able to figure out is what good does it do to keep a door shut? Then you can’t see what’s in there. Why even have a room there if you can’t see in? And what’s the deal with them actually going in a room and shutting the door behind them? It makes no sense. You never see a cat shutting a door on another cat. Shutting a door only makes us want to get in there more. But enough of human quirks—you want to get those doors open and I want to help you.
First you should know that there are three types of doors in every house: doors that open up to rooms, doors that open up to the outside, and doors that open up to closets. The absolute best doors are the ones to closets, because that is where humans put all their best stuff, and once you get in, there are usually all sorts of fascinating, secret places to explore and to hide. For some reason humans get really annoyed when we go in the closets, but that shouldn’t stop you from trying. The doors that lead to the outside may seem intriguing, but they are generally the hardest to get open, and the humans usually watch them carefully. They are only good if your humans already let you go outside—then you can always dash in and out the moment they open them. If you are an indoor-only cat and you try this, it only causes trouble—the humans get upset and chase after you, there are cars in the street and dogs wandering around freely. Unless you know the ropes, the outside can be very dangerous. So your best bet is to stick to the closet doors and the doors that lead to more rooms.
There are a number of different doorknob styles. Some are easier for cats to use than others. If you are really lucky, your humans have some doors with long handles—you can just leap up and grab the handle, and your weight will naturally cause the door to become unlatched. Sometimes you will find these on room doors; unfortunately, you don’t often find them on closet doors. Closet doors are more likely to have the traditional, round doorknobs, and those can be kind of tricky. If you are a large cat—lengthwise, that is—you might be able to stand on your hind legs, reach up and fiddle with the knobs. I have heard of some cats using this technique quite successfully. Also, you should test every door in the house by grabbing it by its side or underside and pulling (or leaning up against it and pushing if it opens outwards). Sometimes the door latches don’t fasten properly and you can easily get them open. This happens a lot in older houses. And if it doesn’t work at first, go back and try it again later—sometimes humans don’t shut doors properly and those are great opportunities for you to sneak in.
And what about the times when your human goes in a room and shuts the door? Don’t stand for that bad behavior—immediately try to shove your way in. If the latch is secured, scratch at the door. If there is a space between the floor and the bottom of the door, stick your paw through to show how desperately you need to come in. If your human ignores all this, then howl and throw yourself against the door. That usually gets their attention. If they still won’t let you in, pull out your last—and best—trick: find something fragile in another room and break it. Believe me, when they hear the crash they’ll come running, and it’s almost guaranteed that they’ll leave the door open. Then you can dash in, but you’ll have to hurry to check everything out—when your human comes back to look for you, you’d better be scarce. I suggest hiding under the bed until your human cools off. This can take a few hours, so while you’re there you might as well take a nap.