Are you looking to give more freedom to your feline friend? Are you secretly hoping to make your life easier by installing a cat door into your home? Cat doors are undoubtedly a useful addition to any cat-friendly house as they allow your pet to come and go as it pleases. They can give your cat the independence it needs to explore the great outdoors and express its feline behavior.
Your cat might be adapted to living indoors but it still needs to get out in the open and scratch a tree, play with an insect, dig a hole in the ground. Luckily for you, with the most appropriate cat door, you won’t even have to get out of bed to let your friend roam freely.
In your quest for the best cat flap, it’s essential to determine what’s best for your home, your budget, and your specific cat breed. We’ve gathered a few tips to help you successfully find the right cat door and say goodbye to all the midnight meowing and early-morning scratching.
Look for the most suitable type of cat flap
There are several types of cat flaps on the market. The most common include:
Traditional cat flap.
This is a simple, two-way cat door that allows your friend to move freely from the comfy indoors to the stimulating outdoors. They are highly convenient and undeniably practical cat flaps that come at an affordable price. However, the only downside is that you might have a problem with the neighborhood cats coming into your home.
Lockable cat flap.
You have two types of lockable flaps to choose from, a 2-way or a 4-way one. The 2-way cat flap is a regular door that has the normal “locked/unlocked” feature. The 4-way cat flap includes an “in-only/out-only” feature as well. Meaning, if your cat is playing outdoors, you can set the door to in-only mode so that once your cat comes inside, it can’t go back. And the other way around, if you set the mode to out-only, your cat won’t be able to come inside.
Infrared cat flap.
These cat flaps come with a special infrared transmitter that your pet wears around the collar. This infrared collar signals the cat door to open for your cat and for your cat only. With this cat flap, you won’t have to worry about stray cats and dogs coming uninvited into your home. Most of the infrared flaps feature a 4-way locking system. Moreover, additional collar keys are available if you own more than one pet. You don’t even have to worry about cat door installation as these flaps have a universal fitting for walls, windows, and doors.
Magnetic cat flap.
The magnetic flap comes with a special collar or a magnetic tag that gives access to your cat. The magnet unlocks the cat door so that your pet can come through. These flaps also feature a four-way locking system to allow you flexibility with your pet’s movements.
Microchip cat flap.
The microchip cat door allows cats who wear sensor tags to enter or exit through the door. Some doors can be programmed to let the cat out at certain times of the day and block their exit at other times. You can also program these flaps to work with other pets in your home. However, all these added features make the microchip cat doors more expensive than the other cat flaps.
Additional reading: A Complete Guide for Cat Care
Decide on the most fitting cat door location
Before deciding on a cat flap, it’s crucial to carefully think about where’s going to go. This can be difficult as you can often be limited by your house’s construction and layout. Thankfully, cat doors can be installed practically anywhere in the home. There’s a wide range of cat doors to choose from, including cat flaps for:
- glass doors;
- sliding glass doors;
- timber doors;
Choosing the right location for your cat flap is key to cat door installation costs as well as your friend’s comfort. Consider installing more than one cat flap so that your cat can move through its territory freely.
Take your cat’s size into consideration
Properly measuring your cat is the surest way to find the door that perfectly fits. You don’t want to buy a cat door that is too small for your feline friend, neither do you want to get one that is ridiculously large. To assess your cat’s width, use a simple measuring tape and measure the widest part of your cat, the chest or hips. Add one to two inches. To assess your cat’s height, measure your cat from the top of the shoulders to the bottom of the chest or belly, whichever is the tallest part. Add one to two inches again. Use the measurements to select which cat flap size best fits your cat’s comfort and ease of use. It’s also important to remember to allow for your cat’s future growth if it’s still a kitten.
Decide on the material of the cat flap
There’s a wide selection of frames to choose from. Most cat doors feature plastic or metal frames, the former being cheaper and the later more expensive but stronger. If your door is subject to a direct sun or heavy rain, you should opt for a metal frame to make your door more durable. More high-quality materials ensure safety, durability and excellent performance. Also, you might want to look for a scratch-resistant flap so your cat can’t damage it with its scratching.
Ease of cat door installation
The ease of cat door installation varies, depending on the door type and the material of the area you want to insert the door into. For example, installing a traditional flap door into wood is easier than installing a cat door into a wall. Not all of us are handy, and for that reason, you can hire a professional to install the cat door for you.
Now that you’ve found the perfect cat flap for your home, it’s time relax and let the door do what it was made to do. Make your life simpler, more convenient and enjoyable. And for your feline friend, it means unrestricted movement in and out of the home, a chance to freely display its natural behavior, and an increased mental stimulation to keep it occupied and busy.
Additional reading: The Ultimate Guide to Dog Doors Types in Australia for 2018