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Why Does My Cat Sit by the Door? 10 Typical Reasons

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By Nicole Cosgrove

cat near closed door

Cats are known for their curious and independent nature. Each cat has their own set of unique and unusual behaviors, but one behavior that many cat owners notice is their tendency to sit in front of doors. As pet owners, we may wonder if this behavior is normal, or if it is something to be wary about. Why do cats sit by their doors?

There are a few different reasons why cats might do this. Sometimes, the answer isn’t as complicated as you think! In this article, we explore 10 possible reasons for this adorable behavior.

The 10 Reasons Why Your Cat Sits by the Door

1. They Want to Go Out

Plain and simple, the main reason why your cat is sitting by the door is they probably want to go out. As all cats are different, the reason they want to go out may vary—from going to the bathroom, to simply wanting to explore. Your cat may prefer going potty outside, or they may enjoy outdoor activities like playing, hunting, or simply being outside.

If you find yourself continuously having to open the door for your cat to go out, you may want to install a cat-door so that your feline friend can enter and exit as they please, while saving you the trouble of opening the door for your cat every single time. But if you’re not confident with your cat roaming outdoors, whether for safety issues or risk of them running away, it would be best to keep them indoors.

ginger Exotic shorthair cat sleeping near a door
Image Credit: Wutlufaipy, Shutterstock

2. They Are Curious About the Other Side

Cats are curious creatures that like knowing what goes on around them. Closed doors create mystery for cats, as they don’t know what’s on the other side. Cats can become especially curious if they see their humans coming in and out of that mystery door.

To feed your cat’s curiosity and allow them to explore as they please, you may want to keep your doors in the house open. Installing cat doors around the house can also be an option, if you’d rather keep certain doors closed. If there are certain rooms in the house that you deem as “no cat zones”, then you might want to consider showing them what’s behind the door once in a while just to feed their curiosity.

3. They Hear Something

Cats have more heightened senses than us humans, including hearing. In everyday life, chances are your cat hears things that you don’t. A reason why your cat is sitting by the door may be because they can hear something on the other side!

Again, cats are curious creatures that dislike mystery. Hearing something they’re unfamiliar with can pique their curiosity, and in some cases, can even leave them feeling anxious. To address this, you may want to leave the curtains open, just so they have a view of the outside.

cat near door at home
Image Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock

4. They See Something

Just like their hearing, cats also have an excellent sense of sight. Your cat may enjoy sitting by the door simply because something on the door has caught their eye. They may be a following a bug, a fleck of dust, or even a reflection of light that has found itself on the surface of the door.

5. They Are in Heat

Another reason why your cat is sitting by the door may be because they are in heat. This is a completely normal behavior among female cats when they are fertile and ready to mate. When in heat, they have a natural urge to go outside and find a mate. Males may also sit by the door, not because they are in heat, but because they smell a female nearby who is. To prevent this behavior, as well as any unwanted pregnancies, it is recommended to get your female cats spayed and male cats neutered.

Cat in Heat. Three-colored Tabby Cat On Call Sitting on The Windowsill
Image Credit: Faroe, Shutterstock

6. They Know You’re Coming or Going

Cats also have their own way of showing affection for their owners. They can understand your routine and the times you usually leave the house or come home—which is why you can find them sitting by the door when you’re getting ready to leave, or when you get home from being out and about.

This behavior isn’t a cause for alarm, and can even be considered thoughtful of your cats. But if you find them meowing uncontrollably, your cat may be suffering from separation anxiety, making it difficult for them to cope when away from you. You can consult with a veterinarian for recommendations on how to soothe their separation anxiety.

7. They Are Bored

Cats come from a family of predators. They naturally need a lot of stimulation and movement. With that said, cats can also become bored easily if not given proper stimulation. You may notice them becoming restless, pawing and scratching at the door to entertain themselves.

Cats get a lot of stimulation outdoors, where they are exposed to a variety of scents, temperature, light exposure, and new areas to explore. Cats that are occasionally exposed to the outdoors may be trying to seek that level of stimulation that they can’t get indoors. Letting your cat outside once in a while can help them get the stimulation they need.

Abyssinian Blue Cat sitting on the arm of a sofa
Image Credit: Foonia, Shutterstock

8. They Are Stressed

While cats appear to have everything figured out, they can have negative responses when overwhelmed with things they don’t understand. Sitting by the door and wanting to go outside can serve as their coping mechanism for various possible stressors.

Things like changes in routine, a new pet in the house, and separation from their owners  can cause cats stress and anxiety. Cats do not like mystery and not knowing what’s next, which can often be too much for your furry friend. Spending quality time with your cat and participating in pleasurable bonding activities can help soothe their anxiety.

9. They are Confused

Cats also have a unique way of thinking. Sometimes, a combination of unfamiliar things, such as the strange sounds and the shadows outside the door, along with the mystery of not knowing what’s on the other side can cause confusion for your cat. A cat waiting at the door may be their unique way of trying to figure out what they don’t understand.

Cat inside house looking out the window
Image Credit: rebecaml, Pixabay

10. They Spaced Out

As humans, we occasionally find ourselves spacing out and staring into the distance without consciously knowing what we we’re doing. Being lost in thought can also occur in cats, which can simply be another reason why your cat is sitting by the door! If you catch your feline spacing out, you may want to provide stimulation by showing them affection.


There are many reasons why your cat is sitting by the door. It is important to understand your cat’s behavior and routines to help you determine what they’re trying to communicate to you. All cats are different, and have varying ways of feeding their curiosity, as well as coping with boredom, lack of stimulation, and separation. Whatever the reason, cats sitting in front of doors is a normal behavior common in many households with feline companions.

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Featured Image Credit: JMoreira93, Shutterstock

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