Almost every cat owner who has used a traditional cat flap has a story about intruders coming into their house through the cat flap. While some stories are amusing, others can be quite serious.
For example, a rogue cat once entered into a homeowner’s property through a conventional cat flap, and it attacked the occupant’s cat and sprayed all over their home. What’s more, sometimes foxes enter homes through cat flaps, steal food, and harm the occupant’s pets.
Cat owners know how hard it can be to keep intruders out of their home while allowing their cats to use the cat flap. Magnetic cat flaps are an option, but they damage the collar of the cat.
This is why many cat owners are now placing the safety of their pets and their homes in the hands of more efficient and reliable microchip cat flaps.
Microchip Cat Flaps
Available from brands like PetSafe, SureFlap and Cat Mate, microchip cat flaps can be programmed to read the microchip of your cat and only open for them. They are a great option for multi-cat households as these cat flaps can be programmed to store the information of several microchips.
Microchip cat flaps can be installed into doors, walls, and windows using tunnel extenders and optional adaptors in the same way as a normal catflap. They are designed to make installation easy and quick for homeowners.
Many microchip cat flaps boast a claw-proof door and draught excluder to keep the weather out of your home. They are generally powered by batteries and have a long life span (mostly over 12 months if a few cats use it). Some microchip cat flaps have an indicator light that will flash when the battery is running low to alert you.
How Does a Microchip Cat Flap Work?
Microchip cat flaps automatically open for your cat. They work by sensing the unique identifying microchip of your cat. A cat without the right microchip won’t be able to open the cat flap.
This prevents other cats and animals from entering the house through the same flap and reduces the risk of intrusion through the entrance on the door, while allowing your cat to come and go out of the house as they please.
You can get your cat micro-chipped at any vet’s office. Your veterinarian will install a microchip with a specific code in the space between the shoulder blades of your cat, where they won’t be able to scratch it or lick it.
How to Program a Microchip Cat Flap?
The microchip codes can be as long as 15 digits, but don’t worry, as you won’t have to type them into your cat flap.
Microchip cat flaps generally have two settings. The first one is called a “learning” mode. This allows the cat flap to recognise the microchip of the cat and store it in memory for future use.
The other mode is called the primary setting. On the primary setting, the cat flap will allow your cat to come and go, but won’t accept new information from microchips into its system.
The door of a microchip cat flap stays locked under normal conditions and will only open when the cat flap detects a microchip that is stored in its database.
All you have to do is set your cat flap up and put it in learn or program mode and entice your cat to put their head inside the flap. You can use a treat for this purpose.
Once your cat puts their head inside the flap, the microchip cat flap will recognise their microchip and store the code in the system. Once programmed, your cat will be able to use the cat flap to come and go as they please.
Microchip Cat Flap Features
Most microchip cat flaps feature a 4-way lock system. This allows you to lock the cat flap in four different ways:
- Allow entry but no exit
- Allow exit but no entry
- Allow both entry and exit
- Completely locked
These settings come in handy at different circumstances and give you complete control over your cat’s roaming. For instance, you can set the microchip cat flap on completely locked mode so that your cats don’t leave the house.
Selective Entry and Exit
The selective entry feature means that only pets registered with the microchip cat flap can enter or leave the house through the flap.
On the other hand, the selective exit feature allows you to program the microchip cat flap to only allow certain cats to leave the house while keeping others inside.
This feature comes in handy when you have multiple cats, and you are supposed to take one of them to the vet’s office. You can keep that cat inside while allowing all others to come and go as they please.
Multiple Pets can be Programmed
Most microchip cat flaps can be set up to recognise at least 25 cats. Some models can be programmed to recognise up to 40 cats.
Some microchip cat flaps feature timer control. This means that the cat flap can be set up to work at certain times. This feature comes in handy when you want to prevent your cats from going outside at certain times, like at night or early in the morning.
Most microchip cat flaps require 4 AA batteries to run. These batteries last for up to 12 months if only a few cats use the cat flap. If 20 to 30 cats are using the microchip cat flap, then the batteries will have to be replaced more frequently.
Most microchip cat flaps come with a battery indicator to alert you when the battery is running low and requires replacement. This way, you can replace the battery before your cat gets locked outside.
What is a Smart Cat Flap?
Smart cat flaps are more advanced than microchip cat flaps. They have several features that aren’t found in any other cat flap.
For example, they can be controlled through a mobile app on your smartphone. Moreover, you can get information about your cat’s roaming on your smartphone that’s connected to the cat flap wirelessly.
Due to these types of additional features, smart cat flaps are more expensive than microchip cat flaps. Two of the most popular smart cat flaps currently available in the market include the SureFlap Connect Microchip Cat Flap and the SureFlap Dual Scan Microchip Cat Flap.
The SureFlap Microchip Connect is a smart cat flap that can be controlled through a mobile app, allowing you to unlock and lock it remotely, set curfew times and keep an eye on your cats, which can be added to the app via a microchip.
The major difference between the Cat Flap Connect and the SureFlap’s basic microchip model is that the former is connected. In simple words, the app allows you to track the habits of your cat and set times for when the flap locks and unlocks.
Microchip Cat Flap vs. Conventional Cat Flap
Conventional cat flaps come in a variety of sizes and can be used for large cats and small dogs. They are operated by the flap being pushed open by a cat as it passes through.
Some conventional cat flaps can be locked and offer a four-way manual locking mechanism – entry out only, entry in only, closed both ways and open both ways. They don’t require any power and are cheaper than microchip cat flaps, magnetic cat flaps, and electronic cat flaps.
These analog cat flaps don’t allow selective access, which means that wild animals and stray cats can use the cat flap to invade your house and harm your cats.
Microchip Cat Flap vs. Electronic Cat Flap
Microchip cat flaps sense a microchip implanted under the skin of your cat. The microchip lasts indefinitely since it doesn’t require a battery to operate.
There are different types of microchips. Some microchip cat flaps work with 15-digit code microchips while others may work with 10-digit and/or 9-digit code microchips. Certain microchip cat flaps work with multiple kinds of microchips.
Electronic cat flaps sense a collar key to unlock the flap. Different kinds of collar keys can be used for triggering electronic cat flaps including infrared, RFID chips, and high pitched sound.
Microchip Cat Flap vs. Magnetic Cat Flap
Magnetic cat flaps are similar to traditional cat flaps, except the flap doors need a magnet to open. Your cat needs to wear a collar around its neck with a magnet to unlock the cat flap.
They are generally more expensive than normal cat flaps, and the collar can prove to be uncomfortable for your cat. If your cat tries and succeeds in removing the collar, they won’t be able to use the cat flap to come and go out of the home as they please.
Cats can even get their collars caught while they are just roaming around. This is why magnetic cat flaps aren’t the ideal option, and homeowners would be better off with a microchip cat flap or an electronic cat flap.
Why You Should Buy a Microchip Cat Flap
Conventional cat flaps were once a popular option among homeowners. But there was a problem with these flaps – they gave access to other wild animals and stray cats which created problems for pet owners.
Lockable cat flaps were introduced to overcome this problem. Although they were a great improvement, homeowners had to manually lock and unlock them, which caused a lot of inconveniences.
Next came magnetic cat flaps that worked with a magnetic key fitted to the collar of a cat. This magnet triggered the flap to open for the cat. Magnetic cat flaps had some major problems – collars used to get trapped and would fall off, locking the cats outside the house.
In short, all models that came before the microchip cat flaps were unreliable.
Microchip cat flaps are the best option right now for cat owners who want to give their cats the freedom to come and go as they please.
Microchip cat flaps from trusted brands like Pet Mate, PetSafe, and SureFlap, are reliable and last for a long time.
Although they are more expensive than other cat flaps, the extra features – like vet mode, timer control, selective entry and exit, 4-way locking system, and low battery indicator – justify the price. The most obvious benefit of using a microchip cat flap is that they don’t allow any stray cats or wild animals to pass through. Only the pets that have been programmed with the cat flap – using the microchip – can go through the cat flap.
We have shared everything you need to know about a microchip cat flap. Microchip cat flaps are a great option for cat owners who want to give freedom to their cats to come and go out of the house as they please while preventing intruders from entering their premises.
Additional features like timer control and selective entry and exit options make microchip cat flaps a convenient option for many cat owners.
They allow them to control how their cats roam about. Smart cat flaps are an advanced version of microchip cat flaps, and they are even more expensive. The fancy features available in smart cat flaps are generally not required by all cat owners. This is why microchip cat flaps are the perfect option for anyone looking for a reliable and reasonably priced cat flap for their feline friend.