Does your cat need to get between rooms or to get outside? More often than not they will scratch at the door or bang their head against it to get you to open it.
Save yourself the trouble. Get a cat flap or a cat door. Some of the best cat doors out there even enable you to limit entry/exit to specific cats in your household! There are even options out there for windows and sliding doors.
Read on and find the easy way to let your cats get between rooms or get in and out of the house!
Table of Contents
The Best Cat Doors
--Top 3 Cat Door Comparison--
--Detailed Cat Door Descriptions--
The SureFlap Microchip Flap
If you're looking for a door that will give you the absolute best security on the market then you'll want to go with a model from SureFlap. SureFlap also makes amazing feeders and other cool products, but their claim to fame is really in that they use your cat's microchip to grant access to their door.
If you don't yet have a microchip in your kitty then no worries, they send you one to attach to your cat's collar! And if your fur ball is going outside I always highly recommend a collar just in case!
Considering a cat tracker of some sort may be worthwhile too if your kitty disappears for long periods. But the key features of this door are:
"Works great for our two indoor/outdoor cats. They can pop out whenever they want it and has so far stopped anything foreign from coming in."
It is very important to note the following before purchasing the SureFlap:
The Kitty Pass Interior Cat Door
Do your cats constantly paw at interior doors because they want into some room where you've closed the door? I know mine certainly do! They do it pretty much every time I close any door in the house.
The Kitty Pass Interior Cat Door is the perfect solution to this problem! Not only is it super easy to install, but it'll grant your cat full access to any room you desire in only a few minutes.
A few other things worth noting about this door:
"We keep the litter box for both of our cats in the closet in the office. Once or twice my wife and I have accidentally fully closed the door which has left our poor kitties scratching at it the door for access. This door solved that problem immediately."
It is worth noting the following before making a purchase:
Ideal Pet Products Basic Cat Flap
If you're in the market for the pure basic locking cat door then Ideal Products has you covered from head to toe, and they have it done at an amazing value. This cat flat doesn't have any microchip driven security features, but it will get all of the basics done.
Ideal Pet Products developed this product for those of us that just want a simple door that will let our cats in and out of the house. You can of course lock the flap down overnight if you want want your cats going anywhere!
A few other key items worth noting on this option:
"These flaps have been a staple of my house for well over 20 years. They are super easy to use and dirt cheap. You simply can't find a better door for the price."
It is worth noting the following before making a purchase:
Perfect Pet Soft Flap Door
The Perfect Pet Soft Flap Cat Door is a traditional cat door that is intended for installation on a door that lets your cat go between the indoors and the outdoors. It'll meet all of the basic requirements of a cat door and then some, but it is not one of the more full future models.
Instead of using microchips or a magnetic locking mechanism it is designed to simply close itself tightly with magnets until your cat pushes on the flap.
A few key items worth calling out on this model are:
"I have a pretty large lady at home at about 15 pounds and it works great for her. She took a week or two of adjust to it with the flap taped open, but after that it was smooth sailing!"
The only thing worth noting on this model is:
Petsafe Aluminum Screen Door Panel
If you've got a sliding screen or glass door and you want to easily enable your cat to get outside without damaging the door then this model from PetSafe is the best choice.
This option basically gets inserted between your door frame and the door itself and creates a new section of the glass door that has an entry/exit flap.
There are tons of different sizes to choose from that will fit any traditional sliding door. Installation is a snap and you'll immediately create a way for your kitty to get in and out. On top of this you get a great seal that will minimize any heating/cooling costs too.
A few additional items worth noting:
"It took my fur ball about a week to get used to using it with help (treats on the outside and inside). After that though she was in and out without even noticing the flap!"
It is worth noting the following before purchasing:
Moost 4 Way Locking Cat Door
Moost has one of the most well respected basic cat doors on the market. You'll notice many similarities to the Ideal Pet Products model as they have a lot of the same features and are even close to the same size.
This door has also been proven to work extremely well on both hollow interior doors as well as solid exterior doors. If you've got your kitty's litter box squirreled away in a closet or something this door will allow for easy access while maintaining scent control.
A few other features worth noting:
"This thing works great for a feral cat we have in the yard. We keep food and water for her in the back room of the house and she figured it out in minutes. She's safe and sound now whenever she needs shelter, but she has her freedom too!"
You'll want to consider the following before you make a purchase:
Cat Mate Electromagnetic Cat Flap
Need a little bit of added security? Cat Mate has been in the market for years and has you covered. This cat door that will ensure your kitty can get in and out with ease!
This door comes with a small tag that your cat attaches to her collar and it serves as a key to open the door. If your kitty isn't used to wearing a collar you could consider attaching it to a harness too.
No longer do you need to worry about animals from outside managing to sneak through the door. Cat Mate has you totally covered! Check out the additional details:
"After a week of effort our kitties figured it out! Now we no longer have other animals like raccoons sneaking into our back room at night to ravage our cat food!"
You'll definitely want to consider the following before making a purchase:
The Cat Mate Extra Large Cat Door
Are your cats bigger than your average feline? If they are and you're still looking to let them get in and out of the house easily then you should take a look at the Cat Mate Extra Large Cat Door.
This model covers all the basic needs of a cat door and it was designed specifically for larger cats. You can also see the little green and red sliding lock mechanisms on it that will ensure you can lock cats in or out whenever you want!
A few key items worth noting about this model:
"I installed this thing in 30 minutes and I'm definitely not Tim the Tool Man Taylor (or Al Borland for that matter). The cats were using it by the end of the day without issue."
You'll want to consider the following if you don't have a cat that learns easily:
The Cathole Interior Grooming Door
If you don't like to brush your cat as consistently as you should and you can't stand vacuuming then you might want to consider the Cathole. This internal cat door was designed specifically to help cats groom themselves as they move between rooms!
It has brushes built right in that will pull away loose hairs as your kitty goes through it. Most cats love the feeling and will walk back and forth through the door just go get some grooming done!
There are some really great features worth calling out on this model:
"I was originally concerned with a hollow interior door because I thought it would end up way too flimsy. I was wrong. This has worked extremely well across 3 different doors in the house!"
It is important to note the following before making a purchase:
The Kitty Pass Wall Passage
Most cat doors that are designed for interior doors are not designed as complete circles or squares, they are instead designed in U shapes to make the installation easier and faster.
But if you've got two rooms you want to connect that don't have a doorway then you actually want a complete circle or square! This ensures that there's no open dry wall or interior wall pieces that might scratch your kitty up.
The Kitty Pass is designed for just this situation! So let's take a look at it in more detail:
"We keep our litter box under the staircase and this made access way easier. We no longer have to keep the door open all the time for either our 9 or 14 pound cat."
It is worth considering the following before you move forward with purchasing this option:
Ideal Pets Cat Door for Windows
If you've got a window you're trying to turn into a cat door then this Ideal Pets option is the perfect fit. It is specifically engineered to fit right into an existing window and provide your kitty an entrance and exit!
The most common use case I've seen for this type of cat door is to give your cats access to a catio or to a segmented off outdoor area just for the cats! But let's look into it in a bit more detail:
"I live in Florida and prefer to keep the litter box outdoors in our cordoned off catio area. The window to the area is raised up so this was the perfect fit and to let them in and out without leaving the window open 24/7."
You'll definitely want to consider the following before making a purchase:
Cat Door Types
Exterior Door Cat doors
This is the model type that most people are familiar with. When you hear cat door or cat flap you immediately think about the old rectangular version installed into the back door of the house that dogs and cats could go ahead and run right through.
The general use of these models hasn't really changed, they are intended to let your cat in and out of the house. But there are tons of new features and functions available that make it easier and safer for your household to install and use one of these exterior doors.
Exterior cat doors are by far the most extensive when it comes to variety available. So in a bit more detail I'll break down the main kinds:
Interior Door Cat Doors
Interior cat doors are quite straight forward. They basically enable your cat to get between rooms in the house without actually opening the door. You can install these on pretty much any standard door and can be used for access to any room you would like in the house.
By far the most common use case I've seen for an interior cat door is to let a cat into a room that has the litter box. My family keeps the litter box in a closet and instead of keeping the door propped open we use an interior cat door.
Not only does it look nice, but it can keep the entrance away from the actual box to help minimize smell too! This is a great option if you're looking for a cat door for an interior garage door too! Let your cats get into the garage with ease.
Another common use case is to keep your cat's food bowls in another room and provide access to it without letting larger animals, like the family Golden Retriever, into the same room.
Interior Wall Passages
You may have seen a few of these floating around as well. If you're looking for a way to let your cat get between rooms or sections of the house that don't have an actual door then you could leverage one of these instead. A great example comes from The Kitty Pass:
They install in mostly the same way as a traditional cat door, but the inside of the kit is designed to be a complete circle instead of a half circle like most cat doors are. This gives you full coverage for all parts of the wall once installed!
Some of these models also provide a "tunnel" that is a couple of inches long because a wall is traditionally much thicker than a door. This means there's a lot more space your cat will need to sneak through.
Cat Door Key Features
Size of Flap
Most cat doors out there come sized for an average cat somewhere in the area of 9-12 pounds. There are of course doors like the Cat Mate Door for Large Cats that are designed specifically to accommodate cats that are quite a bit larger.
But to be sure you're getting a door that your cat can use easily. Some interior doors, like the grooming door, are designed to be a tight squeeze and help pull hair off of your cat. In this case a smaller fit is on purpose. But for most doors you'll basically want to get a few measurements of your cat before purchase:
- Width: Measure your kitty from side to side and add an inch for comfort (half an inch for each side)
- Height: In this case you're not measuring your cat's overall height, you're instead measuring how tall your cat's torso is. Basically you want to measure from the bottom of the chest to the top of the shoulders.
This is basically how thick the overall door and device are. You want to make sure that whatever door or wall you're planning to install your cat door in will be totally covered by it.
Most doors are quite consistent in size so this shouldn't be too big of a concern, but if you're installing your cat door into a wall then you'll definitely want to do some measuring up front!
It is worth noting that there are specific doors designed to handle extra thin applications as well. In the case of a screen door or a garage door for instance you might need one of these special thin doors that don't require a much larger casing.
The cat doors and cat flaps of the past didn't really have any access control features. It was basically open to the world and anything or anyone small enough could slip on into the house.
These days there are several security features available on cat doors. You can get features that are as simply as a manual lock all the way up to microchip based security that will keep some pets inside and some pets outside. There are even features available that will let you only let a pet in if they happen to have snuck out through an open window or door.
Most security features work on the microchips you can get to identify your cat. If you're unfamiliar with microchips you can read more about them here.
But at a high level they are a simple RFID with a unique code that can be scanned at any time. These chips can be linked to the door as a key and the door can lock/unlock based on whether or not your cat is close to it.
Since each cat has a unique chip you can link only the chips you want to the door and restrict access. This will not only keep strange animals out, it can ensure that only the right animals get out the door in the first place.
Note that most doors with microchip security can handle upwards of 30 different microchips. Unless you're running a cat hotel you should be in good shape to cover even multiple cats.
If you're worried about installation complexity then you can always hire a professional, but most of these doors are relatively straight forward to install on your own if you have the right tools.
Read here for more info on installation and to see an example.
There are a couple of different shapes for these doors, but mostly they fall into three categories:
Purchasing a door that will match with your decor in your house may be an important factor for some people. Do note that the bulk of these doors only come in white plastic for the frame.
As for the door itself you'll generally want to choose something that is clear plastic when possible. Most cats can still be trained to use more opaque doors, but they prefer a door they can see through. No surprise, I like to see what is on the other side of the door before I open it as well!
How to Install a Cat Door
Installing a traditional cat door in your interior or exterior door is a pretty straight forward process if you're relatively handy around the house and you have the right tools. Most people will be able to do it even if they aren't terribly handy so long as they have the tools.
The general process usually involves the following steps:
- Remove your door from the doorway (depends on the cat door)
- Attach the included template or the cat door itself to your actual door temporarily
- Trace the outline with a pencil
- Drill holes at each of the major corners
- Cut out the outline
- Insert the door into the cut out space
- Secure the inside to the outside
The primary tools you'll usually need are:
- A pencil or pen
- A jig saw
- A power drill with a traditional bit
- A hole saw bit for the power drill
To get an idea of what you might expect you can also watch this video from Sure Flap on how to install their door. Not every door will be identical, but this will give you a really good idea of what it would be like and what tools you might need:
If you're not handy or you simply don't have the tools necessary then you may want to simply ask an expert from a local business. There are tons of options out there these days, but some of the most common would be: to use Amazon Home Services, Angie's List & Yelp.
Each of these can connect you with licensed contractors or handy men that will get the job done easily.
How Do I Keep Raccoons Out?
If you're looking at exterior cat doors then you'll definitely want to consider how you keep wild animals (and other peoples' pets) out of your house!
The good news as that most of these cat doors are engineered to stop raccoons from prying their way in so long as you actually lock the door. This means you'll need to remember to flip the lock before night time though!
One of the key exceptions to this is the SureFlap Microchip door. It has been identified as a model that raccoons currently have a relatively easy time prying open.
One other thing you'll need to be careful of with any microchip or magnet driven door is the idea of tailgating. Some raccoons have been reported as being smart enough to realize is they are speedy enough they can sneak in behind a cat after their chip unlocks the door.
These are of course rather daring raccoons and not too common, but you'll want to be mindful of it. If you're worried about raccoons you might want to install a security camera for cats to keep an eye on the space!
Are They Weather Sealed?
All of the cat doors designed for exterior doors (or windows) are engineered to maintain proper seals against the weather. This means they won't let rain or snow in and that they will also maintain a proper weather seal for hot and cold air.
You should of course keep in mind that you are basically cutting a large hole in the door. This will cause additional in and out action from your pets and will let some hot and cold air in and out. This may drive up your heating and cooling costs to a limited extent, but the cost should be minimal.
Note that electronically driven cat doors will generally seal much more effectively than traditional cat flaps or models that lock with small magnets. If you're looking to ensure the door stays firmly shut when not in use then you may want to open for an electronic option.
Wrap Up On The Best Cat Doors 2020
If you've got a cat that is both indoor and outdoor, or you're just looking to more easily let your kitty between rooms inside the house, then a cat flap or a cat door is an excellent idea.
They easily enable you to stop thinking about things like 'Did I leave that door open for Fluffy?' or 'Do I need to stay up and ensure that Captain Nemo gets back inside tonight?' Cat doors make this all a no brainer, your cat can come and go as he or she pleases.
If you have any experience with cat doors or would like to share a product that has worked well for you in the past then please leave a comment below. Thanks for reading!
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