If your cat lives both indoors and outdoors, getting up to let them in and out every time might be pretty time consuming. Plus, what do you do if you’re not at home and your cat wants to go out? By installing a cat door into your home you’re giving your cat the freedom to come and go as they like and they are able to be outside, exploring and playing as cat’s should without being dictated by your actions — and you’re not being dictated by theirs! These cat doors are very easy to install and can work whether you live in a temporary property or a permanent one. There are also many different types of cat doors available designed for many different types of cats!
But how do you know which cat door is for you? Where should you install it? How should you install it? How big should it be? Luckily, in this buying guide below we have answered all the questions you many have about cat doors and even given you a list of our top picks, so you can choose the best one for your feline friend!
Types Of Cat Doors
There are lots of different types of cat doors that can attach to different places around your home. The one you choose will depend on your cat’s needs and the easiest and most convenient place for it to be installed in your home.
Installing your cat door on a door in your home is one of the most common places to put a cat door. This can be great because a front door usually leads directly into a front yard or a back door leads directly into a back yard, so your cat has immediate access. The main thing to consider here is your door’s thickness and you will need to check the cat door properly to ensure the measurements align correctly.
Installing a cat door to a wall for wall entry is pretty similar to installing it through a door. The only difference is that a cat door installed through a wall will be a lot longer, because of the greater distance between the interior wall and the exterior wall.
There are also cat doors that can be installed through a window. These can be a lot trickier than installing a cat door through a door or a wall, and they usually come in a sliding style or sash-style. In more recent years they have been made of aluminium and tempered glass.
If you have a sliding door in your home you might choose to install the cat door onto this. This is similar to the window sliding style. They are quite easy to install and you can normally use the same track that your existing sliding door sits on.
Electronic doors normally have a sensor that detects when your cat is near the door and opens only for them. Your cat will wear a collar that has a transmitter inside, or it can be linked to your kitty’s microchip, and the electronic door opens when it receives a signal that the transmitter is nearby. Once your cat has gone through the door and has moved away from it, the electronic door will shut again and lock. These doors can be especially great if you are worried about your neighbor’s cats getting into your house or other wildlife animals — they won’t be able to do so if they don’t have the transmitter on them. These doors are also easy to install.
Things To Look For In Cat Doors
There are a few things to look for in a cat door before buying to ensure you are getting the right door for both your cat and your house.
First and foremost, the size of the cat door is very important. If the door is too small, your cat won’t be able to fit through it and won’t use it. If it is too big, then it is taking up unnecessary space on your door, wall or window. Therefore, you’ll need to measure your cat and add an inch to each measurement to make sure the door is the correct size. First measure the width of your cat, and then measure their chest or torso height from their shoulder all the way down to the lowest level of their chest or tummy, whichever is lower.
Shape and Color
Cat’s have quite wide bodies so you will want to purchase a cat door that is more square-shaped, rather than a tall design. You should also buy a door with almost transparent flaps because cats like to see where they are going and you run the risk of your cat never using the door if they can’t see through it. Color-wise, you want something that’ll blend in with the surface that you attach the door to, so it doesn’t ruin the decor of your house too much.
The type of security you get on your cat door depends on the area you live in. If you live in a quiet area with very few other animals or signs of large wildlife, you may not need any security on your door. This will mean that your cat can come and go as they please and you won’t need to worry about a collar or locking mechanism. However, if your neighbors have cats or you are worried about other wildlife getting into your home, you may want to install a door that has a locking system. We mentioned above that this can be an electronic door that works with a transmitter in your dog’s collar.
There are two types of locking systems — a 2-way lock and a 4-way lock. A 2-way locking cat door works by unlocking and letting your cat pass through, then locking again to ensure nothing else can get in or out. A 4-way lock also allows an in-only access or an out-only access, determined by signals it picks up form your cat’s collar. With many advanced designs today you can adjust these locking mechanisms to suit you and your cat’s needs.
You don’t want to buy a cat door that is very complicated to install or takes a long time. Also, if you live in a rented property or a temporary property, you might have to take the cat door out again when you leave. Therefore, you should look for one that is easy to install or one that is only temporary if needs be.
You want the at door to be durable. If your cat is passing through it multiple times a day and it isn’t made well, it is going to break in no time. Unfortunately, there is no way to know how well a cat door is made or how durable it is going to be. You should always read the reviews of the cat door you buy to double check that it is going to be durable.
How To Install A Cat Door
Installing a cat door should be pretty easy. The manufacturers will include instructions on how to install your cat door, too. Firstly, the cat door should come with a cutting template for your door or wall. Use this to outline the pet door onto your door or wall. Then, you should cut the hole using the correct tool based on the material of your door or wall. If you are cutting into your door, it is best to take the door off it’s hinges so you can get to it more easily.
Of course, there is no way to do this if you are installing it into your wall, so you will need to cut directly into the wall using the template. You may need to add a tunnel between the walls depending on the thickness between your interior and exterior walls.
If you’re ready to find the perfect cat door for your kitty, take a look at the cat doors we recommend below on Amazon.
The Best Cat Doors Reviewed
This Freedom Aluminum Patio Panel Sliding Glass by PetSafe is designed to fit a sliding glass door in your house. Perfect for a patio door, this cat door is easy to install without cutting into walls or doors, making it perfect for apartments because the door is detachable so you can easily move it with you. Wind and weather resistant, the glass is tempered and shatter resistant and the extra heavy duty aluminum frame means that it is very durable. Because the tinted, flexible flap of this door has a magnetic closure, it is more energy efficient and help keeps the heat in or out, while still being easy enough for your cat or dog to push open with their nose.
The door unit easily fits into your sliding door track and adjusts to your door’s individual height between 75 7/8 inches to 80 11/16 inches to fit your door frame for quick and easy installation. You can buy this door in two different heights with two different flap sizes based on your cat’s size, as well as three different colors.
This PetSafe Interior and Exterior cat door uses RFID to read your cat’s microchip, allowing your cat access without letting in stray animals. It learns up to 40 identities, meaning you can have multiple cats using the door, and there programmable collar keys are sold separately for cats without microchips. The door flap opening is 5 9/10 inches by 5 1/5 inches and is designed for cats up to 17 lbs. It is very easy to install and works on a number of surfaces including wood, PVC and uPVC, metal, glass, brick and wall.
This cat door is weatherproof and also very energy efficient, with two magnetic locking points that help to increase insulation and help keep cold drafts out of your house. There are four different locking options on this cat door so you can customize it to your cat’s needs — locked, unlocked, enter-only and exit-only. It requires 4 AA non-rechargeable alkaline batteries and has a battery life of 12 months depending on the use, although there is a low battery indicator feature to remind you when to change the batteries.
Although this cat door from The Kitty Pass is not designed to be used as an exit and entrance to and from your house for your cat, it is perfect for allowing your cat through closed doors inside your house. If for some reason you need to keep certain doors in your house closed but still want to allow your cat access to these rooms, you can install this cat door within the doors to give them a safe and easy way to get around. The size of the hole is 7 1/2 inches wide and 6 1/2 inches in height and can be used by all cats up to 20 lbs, ensuring they won’t get their tail caught or snagged.
This cat door easily fits all standard interior doors with sizes of 1 1/4 inches to 1 3/4 inches thick. Because it comes with a template to use, it is very easy to install and should take you less than 25 minutes. The cat door comes finished with no eyesores such as screws or logos. It comes in a white color which can easily be painted to match the decor of your home.
This cat door from PAWSM is also designed for indoor use around your home. If you have doors in your house that you need to keep closed to keep pets and children out of but still want your cat to pass through, then the PAWSM cat door gives your kitty an easy way to get around. A unique feature of this door is that it comes with a grooming brush, grooming and scratching your cat every time they pass through it. Not only is this great for cats who love to be pet or scratched, but it is also great for removing any excess hair so it is not spread around your house by collecting the lose cat hair.
The brushes on the door can be easily cleaned and reinserted, or can be taken out all together if you decide you don’t want to use them. This cat door is easy to install and comes with a cut out template to use. It doesn’t require any screws or nails to fix to the door, making it cleaner and easier to use, and less of an eyesore. The size of the hole is 6 inches high by 7 inches wide and it fits both hollow and solid doors greater than 1.25” thick.
Another cat door designed to be used inside your home rather than as an exterior cat door, this CATHOLE cat door is perfect for separating your cat’s litter box from the rest of your living space. You can place their litter box in another room and instead of you having to get up and open the door for your kitty every time they want to use it, they have a way to get through themselves. Even better, just like the PAWSM cat door above, this door comes with removable brushes that groom your cat as they pass through.
This helps to keep your house clean and tidy as they remove any excess fur every time your cat uses the door. Because they are removable you can also take them out and use the door without them too. The installation of this door is very quick and easy and should take less that 30 minutes. This door is designed to be used by cats up to 20 lbs and measures 8.5 inches by 8.5 inches. It comes in a wood color, which you can easily paint to match your existing door.
This pet door from Ideal Pet Products is made to be installed in a window in your home. Built with a high quality white finish aluminum construction, it fits easily and installs quickly into most aluminum sash window styles, giving your cat the access they need to get in and out. The locking flap is rigid and made of unbreakable clear Lexan, allowing your cat to see through the flap and where they are going. It is also non-toxic for added safety and is very durable, meaning it will last you a long time.
This cat door is recommended for cat’s between 2 and 25 lbs, and comes in a 7.5 inch by 10.5 inch flap size. It is also available in a range of other sizes, based on your cat’s needs or your other pet’s needs, making it perfect for a multi-pet household too.
The Carlson Home Design Extra Tall Walk Thru Pet Gate is the perfect add-on to your home if you have small children or animals who you don’t want to go into certain rooms or up or down the stairs, but still want to allow your cat access. Much like a baby gate, this gate can fit hallway, doorway, open spaces and bottom of stairs and has a space measuring 10 inches by 7 inches to let your kitty through. The gate itself stands 37 inches tall for added security and expands to fit between openings and walls between 29 inches and 42 inches wide.
This gate is very easy to set up with no tools required and has an easy close handle feature with a one-touch release safety lock. It also folds flat for storage when you don’t need to use it. This cat door is also fashioned with high-end finishing and New Zealand pine, and is made with a sturdy metal frame.
This PetSafe Plastic Pet Door is great for both cats and dogs and comes in four different sizes —small for pets up to 15 lbs, medium for pets up to 40 lbs, large for pets up to 100 lbs and extra large for pets up to 220 lbs. This cat door is designed to be installed on thin exterior or interior doors 1/16 inches thick, to thicker doors up to 2 inches thick. It is easy to install and comes with a cutting template. The soft flap is flexible for your pet’s comfort and ease of use and you can customize the color of the cat door by painting the frame to match your door color and décor.
If at any point you don’t want your cat to use the door, it comes with a snap-on closing panel that closes off the entrance and exit so your pet cannot pass through. This is especially great if you need to keep your cat in at night or at other times of the day. A replacement flap can also be bought if the current flap gets dirty after use.
Another PetSafe Interior and Exterior cat door, this door comes with 4 locking options — locked, unlocked, enter-only and exit-only — so you can customize it to your cat’s needs. There are also dual, knob-style locks on either side of the flap that can be used when you need to close the door completely and ensure your cat does not get through. The flap opening is 7 1/8 inches by 7 1/4 inches and is designed for cats up to 25 pounds.
The high-impact, white plastic frame with a transparent, hard flap is designed for your cat’s preference and makes it easy to use, ensuring your cat can see through it and see where they are going, playing to their natural hunting instincts. It is also very durable and will last a long time. This door fits interior or exterior doors that are 3/16 inches to 2 inches thick and a wall tunnel extension is sold separately. It comes with a cutting template for easy installation too.
This SureFlap cat door uses RFID to read your cat’s implanted ID microchip, allowing your pet access to the house without letting in stray animals. If your cat does not have a microchip, programmable collar tags are sold separately. With simple one button programming, this sensor learns up to 32 identities and allows you to set the time that the door locks and unlocks to ensure only your cat is allowed in and out of the house and no intruders or other animals can get through.
This cat door comes with the SureFlap Hub, which, combined with the Sure Petcare app, enables you to keep updated on your cats’ comings and goings, to see what they really are up to when you’re away from home! This way, you can learn more about their behaviors. The flap opening on this kitty door is opening is 5 5/8″ by 4 3/4″ and can be installed in doors, windows or walls. Batteries are required and it uses 4 AA non-rechargeable alkaline batteries, with a flashing red light that indicates when the batteries are low.
The LYNX cat door is unique in the fact that it comes in a cylindrical design, instead of being square. It can be used within the home or as an interior and exterior entrance and exit. The maximum opening size of the flap is 5.9 inches by 7.5 inches, meaning it fits kitties up to 12 lbs. It can easily be installed in 30 minutes using the manual and cutting template and is designed to fit through 1 inch to 2 inch hollow-core and solid doors. Made with highly durable materials, the LYNX cat door is unbreakable and scratch resistant and the built-in screws keep the door in place.
The flap is also translucent so your cat can see where they are going. Even better, this cat door comes with a four way locking system, locked, unlocked, enter-only and exit-only, so you can be sure you have control of where your cat is at all times. It comes in both a white and a black color.
The Cat Mate cat flap is another cat door that uses your cat’s microchip to operate, ensuring that only your cat is allowed access to your house and all starts and other wildlife are kept out. This cat door is very easy to program microchips to and will register up to 30 cats at once — perfect if you have a full house! This door is great for most cats and has a flap opening of 145mm by 150mm. The outer seal is weatherproof to ensure the cat flap door is durable and will survive all conditions and the flap itself is not only see-through so your kitty can see where they are going but it also has a dust-proof seal so your feline friend is not bringing dirt into the house.
There is a magnetic closure on the flap to ensure it does not swing open when the wind is blowing, but it is still easy for your cat to push through. This cat door has a four way locking system, with the choice to have the door set to locked, unlocked, enter-only or exit-only. It requires 4 AA batteries to operate which give approximately 12 months operation before needing to be changed. This cat door also comes in either a white or a brown color.
This PERFECT PET cat door has an innovative double vinyl flap design that creates an energy efficient three inch air pocket for maximum insulation, ensuring that no cold or hot air blows through the flap as your cat tries to pass. Also made from energy efficient structural foam molded plastic, this door comes in four different sizes, perfect if you have a multi-pet household and need a flap large enough for a dog and a cat.
The thickness of this door is adjustable from ¾ inch to 1 ¾ inches to fit your existing door and there is an optional wall kit which is sold separately if you need to attach this door to a wall. This door is white and will fit with most door decors and the flaps are soft for your pet to push through.
Another cat door perfect to fit in a sliding door or large sliding windows, this door from Patio Pacific Inc. fits snugly into horizontal sliding windows between 34 inches and 37 inches or 46 inches and 49 inches high and at least 1 inch thick. A tool-free installation, this door comes with a spring-loaded design that installs quickly and easily in minutes. The design of the door is durable and it is made of a sturdy aluminum frame that withstands weather corrosion. The lighter, vinyl flap measures 5 ⅛ inches by 8 ¼ inches.
It is flexible and easy for small dogs and cats of all sizes to push through, perfect if you have more than one pet at home. The pane is made from tempered glass and and measures 3/16 inches. Even better, it also comes with a press-fit locking cover to restrict access to the cat door when needed.
This Endura Flap pet door is great for those who want to be energy efficient. With two flaps, this door aims to keep out the winter cold or the summer heat by placing more than one barrier between the outside and in. This pet door is perfect for multi-pet households and is great for those who have cats and dogs who need to come and go. Powered by magnets, this door is fitted with a three-sided adjustable power magnets designed to stay shut in high winds and guaranteed up to 50mph, and comes with a clip-lock keeps this cat flap securely shut when not in use or when you’re away.
Even better, because these magnets are adjustable, you can change their strength based on your cat’s needs and their ability to push the door open. With a sturdy aluminum tunnel that is 8 inches thick, this door is very durable and made to last. The flap size comes in four different sizes based on your cat’s and other pet’s height and weight, and it is also available in three different colors.
Another door perfect if you have a multi-pet household, this Power Pet electronic cat door is motor driven and activated by a tiny ultrasonic collar your cat will wear. Instead of your pet pushing this door open with their nose, there is a mechanism in this door that powers the panel upwards as your pet approaches and the sensor is activated. Because this door moves up and down and does not swing outwards, this cat door allows for a tighter seal against the wood, making it not only more durable but also tougher against intruders.
The air-tight seal means this door is completely weather proof as well and, due to the quick sensor, you are unlikely to get any stray animals in your house. The four way access control lets you choose from in only, out only, full access or closed and locked and dual range controls let you set independent inside and outside activation distances. The door measures 8 1/4 inches by 10 inches for cat and dogs up to 30 lbs. It can be installed in a door or through a wall.
Best Cat Door FAQ’s
Should I let my cat outside?
This is completely up to you. Cat’s have learnt to adapt to live indoors and can stay indoors and play for many hours at a time unbothered. One of the reasons you may want to let your cat outside is to let them explore their natural instincts, such as running and jumping, climbing trees and scratching. Being outside helps to satisfy their natural hunting senses too, which may in turn make them happier animals.
However, there are also many reasons pet owners don’t want to let their cat’s outside. This can be down to other animals that are outside which may result in your cat getting hurt. Being outside they are also more prone to picking up diseases or fleas or ticks. They could also end up getting lost. Therefore, it is completely up to you as to what is going to be best for both you and your cat.
What is the difference between a dog door and a cat door?
There are not too many differences between a dog door and a cat door. They both allow animals in and out of the house and both attach to either the wall, door or window. They also come with the same locking mechanisms that can be triggered by your pet’s collar or microchip.
One of the main differences between a cat and a dog door is the size of the door. Cat’s have a wider body in relationship to their height, meaning that cat doors are generally more square than dog doors. Dog doors are normally thinner but taller, because dogs are taller than they are wider. Another difference is that cat doors are often transparent because of a cat’s natural predatory nature. Cats like to be able to see where they are going whereas this is not such an issue for dogs. Cats also don’t like their backs being touched, so cat flaps will generally be softer than the flaps on dog doors.
How big does a cat door need to be?
As we mentioned above, this depends solely on the size of your cat. While cat doors are normally square shaped, you need to measure your cat to double check you are getting the right size. If the cat door is too small your cat may still be able to fit through it (we all know cat’s can get through tiny spaces!) but they may not want to, so they might end up not using it at all. Therefore, you should definitely measure your cat to be sure.
How do I measure my cat?
We touched on this earlier. When measuring a cat, you should measure the width of your cat first. Then you can measure their chest or torso height from their shoulder all the way down to the lowest level of their chest or tummy, whichever is lower. You should add an inch to both of these measurements to be sure you are getting the right size of cat door.
How do I get my cat to use their cat door?
When you first install your cat door, your cat might be quite reluctant to use it at first. This can be frustrating especially as you’ve spent money on it and you’ve gone to the trouble of installing it. Firstly, remember to be patient with your cat as they get used to using it. Getting angry at them is not going to help, and never push or drag them through the door. You can help train them to understand how the door works by using treats, leaving treats either side of the door that they must pass through the door to get. Gradually, they will catch on to how the door works.
How does a cat door prevent other animals from coming into my home?
If you buy a regular cat door, preventing other animals from entering your home can be difficult. If your cat has access and can get through the door, other animals can too, whether it be your neighbor’s kitty or wild animals.
This is where an electronic door can be very useful. As we said above, electronic doors work by detecting a signal from a transmitter either in your cat’s collar or in their microchip. When your cat goes near the door, the door will unlock and allow them to pass through and will then lock again once they move away from the door. You can also purchase cat doors that have special mechanisms and locking systems so you can ensure your cat only goes one way, especially if you need them to stay outside for a while or if you need them inside.
Many of these cat doors allow you to customize the locking system to your needs. This way, no other animal except your cat is going to be allowed access to your home.
If you want to give your cat freedom of coming and going in your house but don’t want to have to be there every time to let them in and out, a cat door is for you. Available in different styles that can be placed on your door, window or wall, with many featuring locking systems that ensures only your cat has access, you can live peacefully knowing your cat can go out and explore but can get back into the house without an issue. Always remember to measure your cat properly before buying a cat door and follow the instructions carefully when installing it.