Do you have to open your door or window every time your cat needs to leave the house or get inside? This can be pretty annoying, especially if your cat loves the outdoors.
Not only that, but your feline friend would be stuck inside the house when you aren’t home. The cat flap could be the perfect solution to all your problems.
In this article I have answered some common questions about cat flaps to ensure that you understand the additional considerations, such as safety and training, and get the right one for your feline friend.
Do I Need a Cat Flap?
Many pet owners have this question in their mind and they can’t decide if they really need a cat flap or can do without one. Below we have listed the advantages and disadvantages of cat flaps to help determine whether you need it or not.
Your Cat Can Easily Come and Go as It Pleases
When you have a cat flap installed at your home, your cat can come and go as they please. While you can just let your cat out through a low window or a doorway, doing so is risky; your cat may end up locked outside or trapped inside when you aren’t around. Thus, cat flaps are a good option if you can’t monitor your cat entering and leaving your home.
You Can Control When the Cat Flap Is Used by Your Cat
If you don’t want your cat to go out during certain times of the day – like night, you can just lock the flap so that your cat doesn’t wander off. Many cat flaps available in the market feature this option, allowing you to control when your cat will be allowed to go outside.
More advanced cat flaps even have the option to pre-program when the flap will unlock. This helps you set a routine for your cat. Most cats can get stressed by a change in their routine. If you control the flap yourself, your feline friend will feel less stressed since it’ll be following a routine created by you.
Your Cat Is Free to Go Outside to Do Its Business
If you have a cat flap installed at your back door, your cat will be able to go outside whenever it pleases. This will encourage it to use outdoor little area frequently and save you from the hassle of cleaning your cat’s little box routinely.
You Can Control Who Comes Through the Cat Flap
Older electronic cat flaps offer your cat a degree of exclusivity of entry. They come with a collar or tag that has magnetic keys on it and these keys unlock the flap. However, for these cat flaps to work well, it is imperative that your cat doesn’t lose its collar and that there isn’t any cat in the neighbourhood with the same magnetic keys for their flaps that would unlock your cat flap too.
The more modern, exclusive-entry cat flaps work by reading the microchip under the skin on the back of the cat’s neck. These microchips are now a legal requirement in the UK for identification purposes. The flap opens up quickly when the cat is identified and closes as soon as your cat passes through. This feature helps your cat to easily get in and prevents any other feline from entering your home. You can see our choice for the best microchip catflaps here >>
Disadvantages of Cat Flaps
So, cat flaps are a good thing, but what are the disadvantages? Is there anything you need to do beyond installing it?
You Must Train Your Cat to Use the Cat Flap
One downside to installing a cat flap is that you must train your cat to use it. Initially, your cat might be reluctant to use the cat flap; pushing it through might even frighten your cat. One way you can train your cat to use the flap is by placing treats on the other side of it. This will encourage your cat to use the flap to obtain the treats.
If your cat likes playing with objects on a string, you could throw one to them through the flap and then pull it back using the string. This can encourage it to come through the flap. You can find out more on training your cat to use a catflap here >>
When you are training your cat to use the flap, make sure that the flap stays up so that it doesn’t hit your cat. Keep the flat open using sellotape in the beginning so that your cat can get used to it. As your cat gets a little used to the flap, you should start training it to use the flap in its normal position. Your cat should be able to push the flap open by itself. Be patient when you are training your cat to use the flap because it takes some time for a cat to get used to the flap.
No matter how much time your cat is taking in getting used to the flap, don’t push it through the flap; this could easily injure the cat your feline friend and make it scared of coming in and out of the flap. This would ruin the hard work you’ve put in up until that point and then your cat might never be able to learn to use the flap.
A Cat Might Bring in Dead or Alive Animals Inside Your Home
Another disadvantage of installing a flap for your cat is that your pet may bring in dead or alive animals through the flap. This might not be a major problem for you if your cat only does this once or twice. However, it will become a huge concern if your cat makes a routine of bringing in animals with it through the flap.
Your Cat Can Go Out at Night
Installing a cat flap can be risky, as your cat could easily go outside through it at night if you forget to lock it. It’s extremely dangerous for a cat to roam outdoors at night as there’s a greater chance of it getting injured. Therefore, you will have to be very careful and attentive about the cat flap. You must keep it locked when you don’t want your cat to go outside – like during the night or before the visit to a vet.
Are Pet Doors Safe?
Pet doors and cat flaps are safe for dogs and cats and injuries to pets from these devices are rare. What about the safety of your home? Some people hang their keys up close to the door. When you have a pet door or cat flap, you shouldn’t do this as there have been reports of burglars using bent wires or bamboo canes to hook keys off a hook and pull them through the pet door. Then they easily unlock the door and get inside to steal. If you keep your keys well away from the door, thieves would never be able to reach them and your belongings would be safe.
Even if you keep your keys away from the door, we would suggest that you get one of the catflaps that will lock both ways to prevent anyone hooking behind it and pulling the door open. Our current top pick is the Sureflap Dualscan as it has this feature and is immensely tough.
And don’t think that a burglar can just smash their way through them as the latest generation of these catflaps are incredibly strong!
What Is a 2-Way Locking Cat Flap?
A 2-way locking cat flap allows you to control your feline friend’s access with a lock that only offers two options – locked and open.
What Is a 4-Way Locking Cat Flap?
Most of the advanced cat flap features a 4-way locking system. A 4-way locking cat flap can be locked in four different ways. These include:
- Allow entry but no exit
- Allow exit but no entry
- Allow both entry and exit
- Completely locked
These settings come in handy in different circumstances and give you complete control over your cat’s roaming. For instance, you can set the cat flap on completely locked mode so that your cats don’t leave the house.
Now that you know the answers to some common questions about cat flaps, do you think they are a good option for you? If yes, get a high-quality cat flap and enjoy more control over your feline friends.
- 1 Do I Need a Cat Flap?
- 2 Disadvantages of Cat Flaps
- 3 Are Pet Doors Safe?
- 4 What Is a 2-Way Locking Cat Flap?
- 5 What Is a 4-Way Locking Cat Flap?
- 6 Final Thoughts