Cat doors can be a great way to let your cat experience the outdoors, get fresh air, have play time, and exercise, while allowing them to come in and out as they please and stay protected from the elements. There are a lot of different cat doors for pet owners to choose from, and it’s important to know what you are looking for in a cat door so you can research and make a decision that will work best for you and your feline friend.
When you first get your cat door installed, training your kitty to use it can initially be a challenge. They’ll see it there, but probably will be confused as to what to use it for. Just as with training them to, say, use their litter box for the first time, you’ll notice that your cat will want to ease into it.
What is the Best Cat Door?
Training Your Kitty to Use the Cat Door
If your cat is curious, he may walk over to the door several times, tap the flap with his paw, and simply watch it swing before actually going through it. At first, the moving flap may be making him nervous and hesitant to use his new cat door. So, consider leaving the flap off of the door for a couple of days after you first put it in. Without that obstacle in the way, chances are your kitty will leap through it, and begin to feel a lot more comfortable going in and out. Cats enjoy their freedom, and having a door just for them to enter and leave as they please will make them very happy on a daily basis.
After about 48 to 72 hours, replace the flap, and see how your cat reacts. If they go through it like they are supposed to, then give them a reward. Learning to use a cat door is a big accomplishment, and your kitty needs to realize that they are doing something good. So, if they have a favorite treat, give it to them. Or, if they enjoy playing a certain game, spending that time with them after they successfully use their cat door will reinforce the learned behavior.
It’s important that you choose the best door in your home that’s the most fitting and convenient for your new cat door, because once its cut, it will be there for good. For example, if you want your cat to, say, use a litter box in the basement, you’d install the door where there will be easy access. But remember, your cat will be hopping through it freely after a while, so it’s not recommended that you install it into a house door that has steps directly behind it like some basement doors do. Sure, the old saying is that cats always land on their feet, but if you have owned yours long enough you know that this isn’t always the case. A set of stairs directly behind the door could possibly injure them badly.
That being said, you also don’t want to get a door that is too small. Doing so could very well result in your kitty hitting its head on the top part, or bruising its legs. A general rule to follow would be to get a cat door that is a couple of inches bigger than your cat. For example, if yours has wide shoulders, and they are the widest part on the cat’s body, you should base the size of the cat door opening on the shoulders, and buy one two or three inches wider.
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How To Install Your New Cat Door
When you get your kitty’s new door home and open it up, you’ll notice that there is a template for you to use. This will be what you trace around with a pencil onto the door, and you should be sure that you are putting it in the exact spot you want it because, again, after cutting the hole there is no going back! It is recommended that you trace around the template at least three inches from the bottom of the door that you are about to cut into.
After tracing, you then need to mark the places where the screws are going in with the pencil, that’s if your cat door requires screws. Most times on cat doors screws are used to hold the outer part of the door together. After removing the template, you now will need to mark an X where you will be drilling. In the four corners of the square you just traced, use the pencil to put a small X in each one.
The best tool to use for drilling is a drill bit of about 3/8 for the screws. But, this is not always the case, and sometimes a different size is recommended, depending on the manufacturer and brand of cat door you chose. The small X’s you marked in the four corners will normally best be drilled with a 1/2 inch drill bit, but, again, it’s depends on the exact door you purchased. The size of the tools you will need can vary, especially on the newest model doors. So, be sure and read the instructions well before beginning to install it.
Now comes the fun part…It’s time to cut the door! Most cat owners find that using a jigsaw works best. This is because of the size of the blade as well as the fact that jigsaws normally cut straight and will allow you to precisely stay on the line you marked with the pencil. Pick one of the half inch holes you drilled, stick the jigsaw into it, and begin to slowly and carefully cut the door. You want to take your time when cutting the cat door, otherwise it could end up looking kind of sloppy at completion, and the interior frame may not fit properly.
Next, you will be placing the frame in the hole, and if it’s cut correctly it’ll be flush with your house doors inner surface. Then, you can begin to enter the screws in the appropriate spots. No need to tighten them too much, just a snug fit is fine. Afterwards, go around the outdoor frame with caulk to prevent air from leaking through.
Your kitty or kitties will love the newfound freedom that a cat door gives them. Now, all you need to do is choose the one that is best for your cat. Here are some of the most loved ones on the market.
5 Best Cat Doors
Quick Look : Best Cat Doors in 2019
PetSafe Extreme Weather Pet Door Check Price
If you need a cat door that blocks the weather and gives your cat easy access indoors and out, this PetSafe Extreme Weather Pet Door may be just what you are looking for.
One of the biggest problems cat owners have with the cat doors is the weather getting inside the house. You want your cat to have freedom to go inside and outside as he pleases, but at the same time you don’t want to have to mop up a wet floor if it starts raining outside. This PetSafe Extreme has three flaps, so that when it’s cold outside you can keep the heat in, and vice versa. The flaps are thick, but not so heavy that your cat won’t be able to get in and out easily.
Snap On Panel
Of course, there will be those times when you want your cat to stay in the house. This is where the snap on panel comes in handy. It comes included with this nice cat door, and if you wanted to you could buy another panel to go on the other side. That one you would have to buy, this cat door only comes with one.
- The frame is paintable plastic
- Easy to install
- You have to buy the snap on panel for the other side separately
Cat Mate Electromagnetic Cat Flap Check Price
For a cat door that will run quietly and open only for your pet and no other animals, the Cat Mate Electromagnetic Cat Flap is a great choice.
Keep Stray Pets Out
There is a reoccurring problem with some cat doors…animals other than yours getting in the house! If your cat walks around the neighborhood, there’s a chance that other animals may follow him back. Also, if you live in a country area, you don’t want pests like raccoons or squirrels invading your home. With this model, your cat wears a magnet that will only let him in. The door will electromagnetically recognize when it’s your cat, and open on its own.
Ideal for All Doors
With some cat doors, owners will have a problem because the doors are too thick or thin. This Cat Mate model is adjustable for many door types and is self-aligning up to 2.375 inches. It’s also operates very quietly and it is suitable for walls. And, it’s wide dimensions make it suitable for cats of all shapes and sizes.
- Keeps stay animals out
- Operates automatically and quietly
- Only comes in one size
High Tech Products PX-1 Power Pet Fully Automatic Pet Door Check Price
If the flap cat doors are something your pet had a problem using, this High Tech Products PX-1 Power Pet Fully Automatic Pet Door may be just what you need.
Good for Hesitant Cats
You want your cat to have the freedom to go in and out at will, and yes, they do too. But, with the average cat door, there is a flap that your kitty has to use his head to push through. Some cats take a long time after the door is installed to get used to this, especially if the cat door has multiple flaps to keep the weather out. With this model, all you need to do is put the High Tech Pet Microsonic Collar (which is included) on your cat, and the door will open for him when he approaches.
Sturdy Secure Design
When thinking of getting a cat door, owners also consider other things that could happen by having that opening. For example, if they live in an area where there is a good bit of rain on a regular basis, they wonder how well it will keep the wet weather out. This one is wind and weather proof, airtight, bulletproof, and intruders can forget about trying to kick it out with its very sturdy frame.
- Opens automatically, only for your cat
- Has custom settings for more of your control
- Kind of expensive, but worth it
Sure Flap Microchip Cat Door Check Price
If you have more than one cat that will be using it to go in and out, then this Sure Flap Microchip Cat Door would fit your needs wonderfully.
Whether your cat has a collar tag or microchip, you can easily program it into this cat door with the push of a button. There is also a setting that will not allow your cat to exit the house at night while you are asleep. This Sure Flap model is also good for those of you who have multiple cats at home. You can program over 30 of them into it, and the door will remember to let them all in, but keep other animals out.
Can Be Installed in Multiple Places
Just because it’s called a cat door doesn’t mean that is the only place pet owners consider putting it! For example, you may have a cat that, before purchasing the door, was used to going outside through a certain window in your home. So, why would you want to install your new cat door into a door? It would likely be hard to get your kitty to use it, especially if he’s been going in and out of that window for some time. That’s why the manufacturers designed this cat door for walls and windows as well.
- Good for multiple cats
- Four-way lock system
- In some cases, owners find that the door responds better to collars than microchips if the chip is placed too far back on the cat’s body, so you may need to purchase a collar
The Kitty Pass Interior Cat Door Check Price
Want your friends to smile and say “Aaaww!” when they see your kitty go to the litter box? Try this super cute Kitty Pass Interior Cat Door.
Adorable Cat Door
This extra-large cat door is one of the cutest ever. Cat owners not only fall in love with the rounded low cut style, but also the design. After it’s installed correctly, the front of the cat door looks like a cat head and cat ears. And, the back of the door resembles a cat’s tail, as if he’s walking out. It’s so adorable.
Great for Litter Box Areas
This cat pass door is wonderful for areas where you want to block off the kitty litter box. Although it does not have a flap, if the room behind the door is only for cat food and kitty litter, the opening is small enough for your cat to get in and your dog to stay out. You definitely notice of a greatly reduced smell of kitty litter being that the door is now closed and only that small opening for the cat remains.
- One of the cutest interior cat doors
- Allows you to keep kitty litter smells in the room with a closed door
- Some owners want a cat door with a flap