Shut the Door on Strays: Modern Cat Flaps

You want to cut down on the hassle of letting pets in or out thanks to a pet door or flap, but what can you do to keep the rest of your animal neighbors out?



(image: Solipsist)

There are few more jarring morning experiences than rolling out of bed to spot a raccoon in the kitchen. They might look adorable in photos, but they’re famously vicious. Just this week, a 75-year-old “nature lover” made headlines when she strangled a rabid raccoon with her bare hands!

It was stories like that which flooded my mind one morning years ago when I stumbled onto a raccoon in my friend’s kitchen. Bleary-eyed at 6 am and hungover, that coulda gone a whole lot worse, let me tell you.

But this has been a regular experience for some of my Facebook friends, thanks to the seemingly-helpful cat door.

Why have a cat door?

If you have an indoor/outdoor cat that likes to explore the yard, but no cat door, you know the grief of a whiny, scratchy cat that doesn’t want to stay put. Life’s demanding enough without a bossy feline, right?

A cat door allows access for the cat to get in and out without having to tax your patience. The problem is, if it’s an uncontrolled door, what’s keeping squirrels, rats, raccoons, and other critters from discovering that portal to this delightfully different world that exists in your home?

Modern solutions

Thankfully, technology is on the case, and what once was a fixed-size door that was easily opened by your kitty, as well as any other critter in the ‘hood, is now available with state-of-the-art options that’ll keep happy wanderers where they belong: Somewhere else!

You’re so magnetic, Kitty!

As one of the most affordable options, some magnetic cat doors out there can help you control who’s coming and going for just $50 or so and some hard work. It works via a magnet your cat wears around their collar, and once they approach, the magnet trips the door’s lock and then the cat can enter.

Microchip flaps

Relatively new to the market, the Sure Flap gets rave reviews on every site I’ve seen it listed on. It’s the first door that is electronically controlled without requiring your cat to have a gadget on their collar. From the reviews I’ve seen, this has cat-owners giddy.

Instead, it works off the microchip you can have installed by a vet. Savvy pet owners today are implanting chips in their pets in case they ever go missing. It’s this chip which Safe Flap can be programmed to recognize — meaning it’s an absolutely unique code just your kitty can trip.

If you think, oh, but I’ve got four cats, so I’m out, think again — the Sure Flap claims you can program up to 32 cats into one door.

With all the positive reviews I’ve seen, this seems like a fantastic option if you’ve got the cash and you’ve had problems with strays and other wanderers.

Infrared cat flaps

This is another collar-reliant system and I’m including it because it’s a “modern solution,” but the variants I’ve looked at online have all had detractors. Cats are unruly, we know this, and the infrared collars can be quite expensive from the reviews I’ve seen, but they fall prey to kitties running in the rain, getting wet, and being rough. If you’re considering an infrared cat flap, be sure to do your research to see what previous purchasers have said, and what the spare collars might cost if things go awry.

Size counts

Make sure you’ve considered the size of your cat before you’re committing to these systems. No matter what your choice for a cat door is, you’ll want it large enough for your cat to comfortably fit through, or your money might be wasted. Most list weight classes suited for the door, so that’s what to look for.

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With a little help from technology, some elbow grease, and some kitty training, there’s no reason you can’t have a simpler pet-owning life with a state-of-the-art door helping to keep territorial strays out of your home, along with raccoons and other potential invaders.

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