If you’re a cat owner, you want your beloved pet to be happy, right? And cats are the happiest when they get to run and climb trees outdoors. They just can’t sit still in one place. Their wild side constantly craves adventure, exercise and playing with chasing after insects and birds. So, if it’s safe for your cat, allowing her to roam outside whenever she wants can be a good idea.
But opening and closing the front door per your cat’s command quickly becomes tiring. If you don’t want to act as your pet’s personal doorman, installing a cat door is a very convenient option. Besides giving your cat greater freedom of movement, a cat door allows you to keep the litter box outside. This way, there won’t be any smells or litter scattered around your house.
What Is a Cat Door?
A cat door is a small opening fitted on a door, window or wall that allows your pet to enter and exit the home on her own. Although it serves the same purpose as any pet door, cat doors have a different design. For one, they have transparent flaps. Since cats like to be able to see what they’re doing, doors with transparent flaps make them feel safer. The flaps are also lighter than those found on dog doors. This makes them easier to push through and they don’t touch the cat’s back as much.
What Kind of Doors for Cats Are Available?
Today, you can find a variety of doors for cats at pet stores selling cat supplies. Some doors are designed to be fitted on the exterior of the house, while others are intended to be installed on a wall or door inside the home. Exterior cat doors feature a weather seal flap that prevents draught so that the energy-efficiency of your home isn’t disrupted. Additionally, some exterior cat doors feature a manual locking system allowing the owner to control when the cat can get out. This makes sure that your pet stays inside at night or when you’re away running errands. Some cat doors feature a four-way locking system that allows you to choose between open, closed, outside access only or inside access only.
On the other hand, interior cat doors allow your cat to move through different parts of the house on its own. This way, you can offer your cat access to your living room or study but keep the door closed to keep in heat or A/C. Additionally, multi-pet households can benefit from these doors as they can allow to separate the different animals. For instance, you can install a small door on a closet and provide an escape solution for your cat while preventing a larger pet from passing through.
How Big Should a Cat Door Be?
A cat’s body is like a liquid. It can squeeze through the smallest of openings. However, before buying a cat door, you still want to make sure you have the right dimensions. After all, some types of cats can be bigger. That being said, try cutting out a cardboard circle with the dimensions of the door you’re considering to buy in order to see whether your cat can fit through it. There’s nothing wrong with purchasing a small dog door for your cat if you think that she needs more room. However, dog doors tend to have heavier flaps which can be more challenging for the cat to push through.
How to Install a Cat Door
When installing a cat door, it’s recommended to place it very low and near the ground. This way, your cat can comfortably get through even when she’s older and less agile or in the chance that she develops certain health issues that affect her mobility. A cat door can be installed anywhere, as long as you pick the appropriate design. There are doors that are specifically designed for windows, sliding doors and glass panels. When choosing such a door, make sure that it’s suitable for the thickness of the glass you plan to install it on. There are also cat doors designed to fit on wood, metal and PVC construction. Similarly, make sure that the door is suitable for the thickness of the material you want to install it on.
How to Train Your Cat to Use a Cat Door
Your cat is one step closer to freedom. Now, she just needs to learn how to use the door. While some cats will begin to use the door straight away, others can be more reluctant. In any case, introduce the new door to your cat by associating it with positive things. Like for instance, you can open up the door and put some treats or cat toys on the other end of the door as a way to encourage the cat to pass through it.
Another great way to make your cat try the door is to situate yourself on the outside and call for her. Do this a few times and then try closing the door. Call for her and see whether she tries to push the door. However, be patient and don’t rush your cat as this can cause her to associate the door with anxiety.