Our 6-month-old kitten has figured out how to reliably open kitchen cabinets at floor-level, by standing on his hind legs and grabbing the knob.

What are some good ways to make it harder for him to get these doors open wide enough for him to walk in and sit in our cake pans, play with our onions, etc.?

I haven't looked into the options for child-proofing much yet, but I am under the impression that many options are a pain to install. I'm particularly looking for:

  1. Something that works (of course)
  2. Preferably not a huge pain to install
  3. Minimal risk of damaging the cabinets during installation
  4. If possible, minimal (adult) human annoyance when opening the cabinets.

While writing this post, I watched our kitten figure out how to open a cabinet with a kitchen chair blocking it, by prying repeatedly until the chair gets bumped far enough away to open the door a few inches. Then he sat on the chair, opened the cabinet above it, and pulled out a box of envelopes.

  • 1
    Getting the cat some toys might help. If you keep the cat entertained, it may be less likely to play with things you don't want it too. Also cats like enclosed (safe) places to sleep, so investing in a "cat tree" or other enclosed hiding place might help as well.
    – Tester101
    Feb 10, 2011 at 17:03
  • 4
    That is one awesome cat. Just sayin. Teach him some tricks!
    – morganpdx
    Feb 10, 2011 at 19:14
  • My cat does the same thing! I made it to this page because I was looking for an answer myself. I'm going to install the hooks asap because it gets me very angry everytime I see it!
    – user3596
    Aug 16, 2011 at 20:05

6 Answers 6


There are inexpensive child safety latches that can be placed out of sight in the interior of your cabinet. They are also easy to install and only leave a few small screw holes when removed. Some may use adhesive instead of screws, but they might be less dependable.

Such a latch consists of a bendable plastic rod with a blunt hook on one side, and is situated on the inside of the drawer or cabinet. The hook catches on part of the drawer or door and prevents opening unless the rod is bent downward simultaneously to disengage the hook.

These latches successfully prevent cats as well as children from opening cabinets more than one or two inches.


For pictures and advice: Picture / Video / Pictures of installation

Some alternatives are discussed here.


There are several different types.

There are magnetic knobs that require you to place a magnet over the catch before it's released. You leave the existing knobs on the doors which could give you hours of fun as you watch visitors pull at them and wonder why they can't open the door.

There are physical catches you can get that require you to reach into the partially opened door - see Graham Sunderland's answer.

  • ah, we had these magnetic latches for a cat, exactly -- but they don't require replacing the knobs, they just require you to hold a magnet over the additional release while opening. So -- to be clear, no knob replacement. Feb 10, 2011 at 22:50
  • @Jeff - I wasn't sure from the images on the site - thanks for the clarification.
    – ChrisF
    Feb 10, 2011 at 22:53

A simple, no-modification approach that may work for you is to put rubber bands on pairs of knobs, thereby holding two doors closed. You may need strong rubber bands, or several of them.

  • The most recent child-proofing I saw did the same thing with zip-ties. Just cut and replace ties when you need into cupboards. Simple, cheap, and strong.
    – Scivitri
    Feb 10, 2011 at 19:57
  • 2
    @Scivitri: I'd rather not pay a 5 cent toll each time I open my cupboards. Unless you don't open your cabinets that much, that could add up to $20-30/month. True, it would be stronger than rubber bands, but you'd also have to keep a pair of scissors handy.
    – Doresoom
    Feb 10, 2011 at 21:29
  • After submitting this question, I actually did something like that with stretch cords to the cupboards he was getting into despite having a chair in the way. Sadly, not all the cupboards he's been opening have neighboring knobs in the right places for this.
    – Ed Brannin
    Feb 12, 2011 at 14:49

It sounds like your cabinet doors are free-swinging and just rest against the cabinet without any type of initial resistance. If you just need some resistance to make it a little harder to open, I would check out cabinet latches, specifically look at the magnetic catch and roller catch options. Those options would be inside the cabinet and don't introduce any significant annoyance when opened by human adults.

FYI - I wasn't aware of the correct terms initially and found those examples while looking at a cabinet hardware site. I have no association to the sites in the links I posted. I'm sure there are plenty of other sites that offer the same thing.


This may not be the answer you're looking for, but I think it's your best option...

  1. Get video of your cat doing things like opening cabinets and pulling out envelopes.
  2. Put the video on YouTube.
  3. Watch as the view count hits 10,000,000.
  4. ???
  5. Profit!
  • I will tell you #4 if you pay me enough.
    – Jay Bazuzi
    Feb 12, 2011 at 3:41
  • Well Maru has a book and 2 DVDs out, by now.
    – Lev Bishop
    Feb 13, 2011 at 5:06

Velcro! No weird or awkward latches or tricks to open it but difficult or impossible for kitties and children to open. You can use super glue to attach it and you're done. The longer the piece of Velcro is the harder it is to open. I suggest 2 inches of Velcro to both corners of the cabinet.

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