What do I need to consider before buying a cat flap?
There are a few things you need to take into consideration before you can go ahead and jump right in, as these will change from home to home.
- Number Of Cats – Security cat flaps, such as those with a microchip, often limit the number of cats they can let come and go. While most are good for up to 50, which is more than enough for normal homes, you don’t want to get caught out with too few
- Timers – Kitty scared of the dark, or maybe you prefer to keep them in when night falls in case of fireworks or other issues? Setting a timer will ensure that once they are in, they can’t go back out again, no matter what their chip says. This could be easier than setting manual locking
- Reliability – Think about the likelihood that your cat will cooperate with the method you choose. If you opt for a magnetic collar, you need to ensure they won’t use the key part of the system from their collar. Cats who often come home without a collar could be better with a chip, and ones which come and go in the early morning and wake you up may be better with a limited option
How do I install a cat flap?
The majority will come with a cut-out guide which will allow you to get the general shape and size of the flap on the door before cutting out. Then, you should use a jigsaw to cut the space. It is usually just a case of then screwing the frame to the door and ensuring there are no gaps around the edges.
Of course, this will either sound daunting to you or a breeze. If the former, always get in a professional as it could be an expensive mistake otherwise. Glass and brick can be more complicated – read below for some guidance.
Where can I put a cat flap?
Most are fitted to doors of varying thicknesses, whether it be a front or back door. This can be wooden, metallic or uPVC, and there are tunnels available if you have a slightly thicker door than usual.
If in a door, it should be placed at the opposite side to the handle, so burglars can’t use it to gain access to your locks. There are also options out there which are suitable for walls and windows, however, but they require a lot more work and you have less choice.
For a window, you will need a special flap which can be installed in glass, which is usually thinner than door flaps. They often have to be fitted at the same time as a new pane of glass is placed into the door or window as it is hard to cut into an existing piece, which could be expensive and limits when you can get one. It is the best idea if your cat currently uses a window for access and you don’t want to confuse them though.
For walls, you will need to buy a cat flap which has a compatible wall liner available or a tunnel. This is basically a thicker, more substantial surrounding for the flap which sits in brick. You’ll have to consult a builder to ensure that the flap is placed somewhere which is suitable, and you’ll have to understand it is quite a big change to make to your home. Most people will fit these in garages, or the brick part of conservatories if at all.
Can cat flaps injure my cat?
It is very unlikely. The actual flap part of the build is very lightweight, so even if they are a bit slow getting through, it won’t damage their back or tail.
There are some soft door options available, which could help acrobatic cats or those who come through the flap at full pelt, but they are often unnecessary. Always make sure your flap is big enough for your cat, as this will cut out the need for them to squeeze through.
Do locking cat flaps always work?
You don’t want Socks to let himself out during certain times of the day, so you lock the cat flap. An hour later, he is staring at you through the kitchen window outside.
Determined cats may find a way to open the door when it is locked. A very hard push or a nifty paw under the flap could do the trick so they aren’t always foolproof, but of course, it depends on your cat’s personality.
If you really are concerned about this, spending that bit more on a really tough, locking door could work. Or, opt for one with physical locking clips or a closing panel. The only issue is that this usually means they can either be opened or closed two ways.
Are there any alternatives to cat flaps?
Not up for making these massive changes to the structure of your home, or maybe you live in rented accommodation? There are a couple of other options out there which could suit but they have their limitations.
A cat enclosure, or catio, could be ideal if you are happy to leave a window open but not let anything other than your cat in.
Purchasing a LockLatch™ could mean you can leave any window or door open slightly, yet locked. They can’t be opened further or closed accidentally.
Of course, both of these mean a very airy room which could be bothersome out of summer.
Other than that, you may have to just let them in and out manually. Buying an outdoor cat house could help here, as it will give them somewhere to shelter from the weather until you get home. You may choose to train them to go in and out at certain times.