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Why Has One Of My Cats Forgotten How The Inner Cat Flap Works?

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AndiFlatland | 16:52 Sun 08th Feb 2015 | Pets
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Since 11/09, I've had 2 cats, Sindy and Lucie, who were passed on to me by a friend who was moving, and was unable to take the cats with him. They both settled in very well with the other 2 I had at the time - Missi, who died in 1/10, and Aimée, who disappeared without trace in 6/11 (a nasty cat-hating neighbour is suspected, as she often used to sit on his front windowsill or doorstep, and I saw him shoo her away aggressively many times).
In 9/11, another cat was passed on to me, who I renamed Wendy (she was previously named Fudge - why, I've no idea - she's black-and-white, not brown!) She had been passed around from one owner to another, and never seemed happy - but as soon as she arrived here, she became totally content, and got on well with Sindy and Lucie.
My small flat, which I've rented for 36 years, consists of a main bedsitting room, a kitchen and a bathroom, connected by a short corridor. At the back of the main room, there is a small conservatory, which leads to the back garden. So to allow the cats access to the garden, I have to have 2 cat flaps, one in the inner door, and one in the outer door (in the winter, the inner door has to be closed, to avoid the cold air from the unheated conservatory freezing out the flat).
All my cats have, throughout all my years here, had no problem using the cat flaps. It's something they just seem to 'get' instinctively, without having to be shown how they work. But about 6 months after Wendy arrived, Sindy suddenly seemed to have forgotten how the inner flap works, and ever since then, every time she wants to go out, she sits on the inside of the cat flap, clawing away at it to pull it inwards for anything up to 15 minutes.
Eventually she gets it to pull in, and she squeezes through the gap. But she then has no problem pushing the outer flap outwards, and she pushes back through both flaps with no problem when she comes back in.
I've tried going to the door when she's sitting there trying to pull the flap inwards, and pushing it out myself to show her, or taking her paw and pushing the flap with it, and then pushing her through - but she just doesn't seem to understand.
Anybody got any idea what's going on here? (The other 2 cats have no problem getting through both flaps in both directions - even Lucie, who is about 95% blind, poor little dear).
Sindy and Lucie are both about 14 years old, but show no signs of age slowing them down - indeed, Sindy still hurtles around like an overgrown kitten!

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Hi

I hope that I am right in saying that you have Sindy, Lucie and Wendy. Sindy is the one who is having problems with the cat flap - it is now a long standing problem. Sindy is 14.

My cats are indoor cats so my knowledge of cat flaps is limited. Are the flaps designed for the cats just to push through?

Anyhow if it were me I would be thinking of

At the time that she stopped using it properly was there anything unusual in your home? Nasty workman scared her when she was using the cat flap?

Could she have hurt herself whilst using the flap?

Maybe she thinks that you need more exercise and she just wants to get you to open the door for her.

I have to say that at her age and having refused to use the door properly for a long time my money would be on this situation continuing.

If Sindy had been refusing to go out at all I would suspect that she was frightened of something.

They are terribly frustrating animals. The black blob in my avatar is Princess Merlin. I was adopted by her and her brother when they were 18 months old. Frankie is a nice little cat - Merlin is stupid and vicious and demanding and longhaired and hates being brushed. She can be quite loveable when it suits her.

Good luck

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