Which cat doors are best?
Cats are independent animals who enjoy periods of solitude as well as exploration. While many cats are perfectly happy to spend their lives lounging indoors, some prefer a little more adventure in their lives.
If you have a cat who is accustomed to life partially outdoors, consider installing a cat door. A cat door will allow your pet to come and go as it pleases without you having to constantly cater to its whims. The SureFlap DualScan Microchip Cat Door is the best solution for cat owners who want to allow their pets easy access to the outdoors but prevent other animals from getting in, thanks to its advanced scanning and locking features.
What to know before you buy a cat door
Cat door types
There are two types of cat doors. The door that works for you will depend on whether you want your pet to have access to closed rooms in the house or to the outside world. For some cat door models not described in this article, refer to BestReviews cat door buying guide.
- Outdoor cat doors: These doors are installed on a door that leads outside your home. They allow your cat access to your yard and should have tight seals that keep rain and insects out.
- Indoor cat doors: These are great for owners who keep litter boxes out of sight in a garage or basement. They can be installed on a door that you prefer to keep closed but still want your pet to be able to pass through. Indoor cat doors don’t necessarily need to be as weather tight as those that lead outside, and some do not include flaps.
Some cat doors are available in multiple colors to match your style. Moreover, consider the shape of the cat door. Most are based on a standard, rectangular design but others are circular or even amusingly shaped like the outline of a cat’s head. Choose a cat door that will compliment your decor and not be an eyesore.
Consider the location that you intend to install your cat door, keeping in mind the material of the door you intend to use it on and how that may affect your installation process. For cat doors that lead outside, be sure that your cat has a safe, clean and secure place to both enter and exit your house.
Some cat doors have locks that automatically engage when they sense your pet’s microchip or collar. Unfortunately, the clicking and mechanical noises associated with these locks can scare some cats to the point that they refuse to use the door. Be mindful of your cat’s tolerance for unfamiliar items and sounds when considering automatic cat doors.
What to look for in a quality cat door
Exterior cat doors are favored points of entry for everything from neighborhood strays to clever raccoons and squirrels. If your cat door will lead outside, be sure that it at least has the option to be locked manually to keep intruders out.
Select a cat door that your pet will be able to fit through comfortably. While large cats can easily squeeze through very small openings, there is no need to impose unneeded challenges on your pet. Some cat doors come in multiple sizes.
All cat doors will require a certain degree of competence regarding sawing a hole into your existing door and screwing the cat door in place. Cutting and measuring are made much easier when the door is removed from its hinges and laid flat on a table. Be sure to consider the work involved in installing a cat door and enlist help when needed.
How much you can expect to spend on a cat door
Cat doors range from around $15 for cheap interior doors to $170 for models that feature chip scanning, programmable lock settings and timers.
Cat door FAQ
Will my cat be afraid of the cat door?
A. While every cat is different, some are more hesitant than others to push through a cat door’s flap. You can encourage your pet to get used to the door by placing treats on either side as a reward for passing through.
How can I prevent other animals from entering my cat door?
A. Some cat door models feature scanners that will only open when they detect your cat’s microchip or RFID collar. While this feature successfully prevents entry from other cats, raccoons are notorious trespassers and can still force their way in with enough determination. Therefore, a door with a strong manual lock is recommended to prevent all uninvited guests.
Is there a difference between a cat door and a dog door?
A. Yes, there is. Doors made for dogs tend to be taller and thinner, while cat doors are shaped to accommodate a cat’s small, wide body more comfortably. Cat doors also feature transparent flaps, as cats are most comfortable using doors when they can see what is on the other side.
What’s the best cat door to buy?
Top cat door
What you need to know: This cat door scans your individual pet’s microchip or collar to allow it to come and go as it pleases.
What you’ll love: This model’s dual scanning technology allows you to determine which cats are allowed to use the door in either direction. If your cat does not have a microchip, it will also work using the company’s RFID collar tag. Available in two colors.
What you should consider: This model is on the small side and some users have noted that some raccoons can still find their way through the door.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top cat door for the money
What you need to know: This budget-friendly cat door has four locking options to accommodate your security needs.
What you’ll love: Available in two sizes, this cat door includes different length screws for easy mounting. Available in black or white color options.
What you should consider: Users report that this door allows air to blow through and can freeze shut in cold, wet conditions. It may be best suited for indoor use.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This interior cat door’s shape is both functional and a fun conversation piece.
What you’ll love: This cat-shaped door does not include a flap, which some cats prefer. It has a large opening that can accommodate bigger cats easily.
What you should consider: This cat door’s installation requires some tricky cutting, and its design may not appeal to everyone’s sense of style.
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Derek Walborn writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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