Since I was a little girl, I have had difficulty training our cat how to open the door, especially when we have to move to a new home. I would feel blameworthy for letting her stay indoors when there was plenty of sunshine and space for her to play outside.
True, I would try and entertain her endlessly with toys. And I’d let her feel the air on her whiskers sometimes when I was free to stand and hold the front door open. She’d stick to my side taking in the sights, sounds, and smells. But she would always bolt for safety as soon as she was startled by something like a motorbike or vacuum noise from the neighbors.
Nevertheless, I felt pity for her and continually felt the obligation to look for ways to proffer her with that exposure to the outside world. I surmised that getting her adapted to the outside world (which literally freaked her out) would make her a more chilled-out cat in the long run. And that it would be a nice to buy a pet door for her to go in and out whenever she felt like.[U4]
Unlike we human beings, our feline fellows do not have an equally sized body or energy to push a door and swing it open. Similarly, they know not how to use your keys to unlock the doo[U5] r.
So, unless you have super smart cats like these Youtube stars, then it is only fair that you install a cat-friendly door. That way she can go in and out whenever she pleases.
If she is the introverted type who may not appreciate whatever the world out there has to offer, it may be challenging to fully train her to use the pet door. In some cases, she may show disinterest, which can be quite frustrating.
However, the most critical virtue here is patience. It took me a couple of months to train my first kitty how to use her door. So, before you even teach her how to use her door, let’s learn how to install it first.
How to install a cat pet door (DIY )
Installing a pet door is not rocket science. It’s a task anyone can perform flawlessly and it shouldn’t take too long. There are many cat doors available on Amazon, Chewy and many other popular sites. Make your decision based on your cat’s behavior, budget, design and the position of the door.
The most significant step is curving or cutting the right size hole in the door. I recommend, taking the measurements twice for accuracy. Cats vary in size depending on the breed. Ensure you pick the proper door size for your pet as they come in multiple sizes.
Use a pencil or chalk to trace the interior edge of the pet door template opening onto the door. You can use either but a pencil is more accurate than chalk, you don’t want to screw up your measurements. If the cat door requires screws to fasten the external hardware firmly to the door, be sure to mark the screw hole placement with a pencil. Then remove the template.[U8]
Create four X marks on the inside corners of the outline. The purpose of these marks is for drilling.
Drill the holes in the middle of the X marks that you have just made at each corner using a half-inch drill bit. Be careful not to allow the hole to extend past the outline.
If your cat door requires screws to fasten the outer hardware to the door, then drill the screw holes you had previously marked. Make sure to use the recommended size by the manufacturer which in most cases is a 3/8-inch bit.
To cut the opening, use a jigsaw. Start from one corner that you feel more comfortable a starting with, inserting the blade into the 1/2 -inch corner hole you drilled. Careful, cut along the pencil mark line and continue around the outline of the cat door.
Install the outer frame with no flap into the opening from the exterior face of the door. The frame should be flush with the interior door surface. If it extends into the interior, use pliers to remove single break off level.
Insert the frame. If it still extends into the interior, repeat removing break off level until the frame is flush with the door.
Now insert the inner frame with the flap into the opening on the interior side of the door. HOLD the door firmly and in place and begin inserting the screws. Make sure to tighten the screws until snug. Just don’t overtighten. Important: add caulk (a sealant) to the inside of the outer frame to avoid air leaks.
Training your feline friend how to use the new cat door[U9]
Teaching your cat to use her door may appear daunting especially if it is a new cat. However, the weight of the challenge depends on various elements such as whether the cat is an indoor enthusiast or an outdoor fanatic. Here are the most sure-fire ways of getting your cat to use her door in no time
Get another cat to use the door
Naturally, some cats take longer than others to learn a trick, which is very reasonable. Very young and old cats can also take longer to learn. The only trick here to use is bringing another feline to use the door. Cats are curious and cautious and may need some assurance before doing anything. If there is a neighbor’s cat who knows how to use a cat door, get them for a day or two to help your cat adjust to the use of their new door.
Remove the flap or keep the cat door open for a few days
Another naturally working method is leaving the pet door open. Like I said cats are curious fellows and it won’t take long till they start using the door. If the weather is warm, you can keep the flap up all the time for a week or so. Be sure to pin the flap up securely with enough tape to prevent it from falling down. If your scaredly feline gets hit by the falling flap, good luck getting her anywhere close to that door again.
Give treats every time she uses her door
This tip is for cats who enjoy treats or owners who rely on a gift to get their pets to behave well. I’m quite aware that there are cats that do not fancy treats but see them as just another unplanned meal. So, if your cat is the treat type, go for this method. Every time she uses her door, give her some treat and a pat on the back till she learns the importance of that door. Have some patience, as your cat learns to make use of her new-found freedom.
Best Budget-friendly Cat Flap
If you’re looking for a budget solution then this cat flap from Ideal pet products could be perfect. The locking mechanisms make it the perfect product for your cat. Although basic, this cat door can be used on both exterior and interior doors. It also has a magnetic self-closing flap to keep away crawling and flying unwanted pests out of your home. It is best for cats that are 12 pounds and below.
Best All Round Cat Flap
This cat door from MOOST is a quality solution and will give your kitty a little more room. In fact, it’s suitable for cats and small dogs up to 15 pounds. Pet parents have an easy time installing it and it may be mounted on either interior or exterior doors. And it comes with detailed instructions and all the hardware required for the installation. The high impact plastic frame along with the hard flap all make it easy for pets to go outdoors and go back indoors. It also has a four-way locking mechanism, to keep unwanted visitors from getting in through the small door. It can also be used to keep your cat indoors when you choose.
Best Electromagnetic Cat Flap
Installing a cat pet door can be a risky affair, especially if you haven’t thought about the security of the door. If strays can be a nuisance, getting a magnetic cat door can be an ideal way to keep way strange creatures from creeping inside your home. The electromagnetic cat flap door is simple to use. It requires your cat to wear a small magnet on her collar which acts as an identification tag. The super-sensitive circuit in the cat flap will then allow instant access when exposed to the magnet around the cat’s collar.
Best Cat Flap for a Large Cat
Give your curious cat the freedom to roam your compound by installing Cat mate’s large cat door. The door is ideal for any cat size or even small pups with a shoulder height of 13″ and below. The door can be installed on both exterior and interior door, walls or panels with the simple Do It Yourself instructions. It has a rainproof external frame seal, and a weatherproof seal with magnetic closure to keep pests out of the way.
Best Microchip Cat Flap
If you are a tech whizz, going for a high-tech cat door can be an excellent choice. Although it is considerably more expensive, it may be worth the cost. It ensures safe entry and exit while also keeping pests and elements from getting in your home. But there are cheaper ways of doing this. This door works with a cat’s existing microchip. The chip has a recorded data stored in the locks that allows it to enter every time it is identified. That means that a neighbor’s cat or dog cannot use the entrance at any given time providing maximum security.
I’d love to know your thoughts on whether to keep your cat indoors or let her out. Drop me a comment in the section below. Don’t forget to like or share. Thanks for reading.