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I live in an apartment with a garden shared by 2 houses, there's usually 2 or 3 cats spending their days here while my neighbors are at work.

Recently a cat was in the entrance (a common entrance, with a direct access on the garden) and asked for petting every time I came back to work.

Yesterday night (at 10 PM) I came home and he was there, I petted him a bit then went to my apartment but he followed me all the way and tried to enter in my apartment. I didn't let him in but he meowed behind the door for 5 minutes, and started again 1 hour later.

How should I make him understand he can't come in my apartment ?

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If you don't want to have a petulant cat screaming in your entrance at night, it is absolutely vital that you ignore him.

This cat wants something (entering your apartment) and is now trying different things to reach his goal. Yesterday, meowing at your door didn't yield the desired result. If you open the door, even only to reprimand him, he'll learn that meowing brings him one step closer to his goal. He might be even more persistent in the future.

If you don't open the door, he'll learn that meowing doesn't bring him any closer to his goal and stop after a few days. So the best reaction is no reaction. Don't open the door, don't speak to him through the door, don't do anything you don't want to do in the future in reaction to his meowing.

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If it annoys too much not to do anything, there is a series of steps to discipline a cat.

  • Blow air to his face.
  • Spray water to his face.
  • Hit on the ground with a stick/club, like a meter or two from the animal.
  • Start a vacuum cleaner near him.
  • Chase him with a vacuum cleaner in your hand.

I would start with the second one and keep doing it for a week. Then, if he is persistent, you can gradually increase your threat level.

If he still persists, even after being chased by a vacuum cleaner, there is a chance he has a problem. There are easier ways for a housecat to find food, it is certainly never worth being chased by a vacuum cleaner. In this case, talk to your neighbour about it.

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