What makes a cat door different than a dog door? Technically, nothing! But cat doors are usually rigid flaps, and of course are smaller in size than dog doors. Cats can use dog doors, and tiny dogs can use cat doors, it just depends on sizing!
What is a 2-way lock vs a 4-way lock? Cat doors also usually have a 2-way lock or 4-way lock feature instead of a slide in locking cover. A 2-way lock is the normal “locked” or “unlocked” system. The 4-way lock feature adds “in-only” and “out-only” for added convenience depending on your schedule! An example of when to use these types of locks would be if you wanted your cat to come in at night and stay inside until you let them out in the morning. You would switch it to “in-only”, that way once your cat comes inside (perhaps for dinner) they would not be able to turn around and go back outside.
The 4-way locking mechanism can also be incorporated in an electronic pet door. In these cases, the 4-way lock will override the electronics. If the cat door is set to ‘out only’ your cat will not be able to enter. Cat flaps with 4-way locks always have rigid flaps which are necessary for the mechanism to function.
How do you know which size cat door to get for your cat? Well, we recommend that you test it out! The size of one of the Cat Mate Cat Doors is 5 3/4″ w x 6 1/4″ h. If you take a piece of paper or cardboard, you can cut a hole that size and encourage your cat to step through that hole with some food or a toy. We actually have a video that shows how to measure your pets, and at the end you will see three cats testing out a 7″ x 7″ opening. Don’t think your cat will fit through that opening? You might be surprised. Cats are quite talented at getting through tight spaces, and usually seem to enjoy it! You don’t want your cat to have to squeeze, but usually they can comfortably get through much smaller openings that we imagine. Here is a smaller sized cat casually exiting a space that is very small:
You want to make sure that when you install your cat door, you place it low enough to the ground that your cat will be comfortable getting through even when they get older and less agile. You don’t want them to have to jump through!
There is nothing wrong with getting a small size dog door for your cat if you want them to have a bit more room. Something you’ll want to consider when getting larger pet doors for your cat is that the flap might be heavier and therefore more challenging for your cat to push open. Some cats get along just fine with even large dog doors, but others are more timid and will refuse to use them! In some cases, the cat might be able to be trained to use the bigger doggie door, but sometimes it simply will not work out.
Where can you install your cat door? Cat doors can go many places that dog doors cannot! Cats are much more agile than dogs, so usually all sash (up and down closing) windows are safe bets for cat doors! Usually if you need to add something, it will just be a step on one or both sides and the cat can jump the rest of the way. Though maybe not for the most timid of cats, the Endura Flap in the Thermo Sash 3e is a great option as the Endura Flap is flexible, which can be more favorable for pets, and the entire unit is extremely weather-proof compared to similar products on the market. There is also the option to have the SureFlap Microchip Pet Door in the Thermo Sash, which is perfect for homes where intruder animals are a concern! The SureFlap Microchip Pet Door can use a collar key OR your cat’s already embedded microchip to grant access to only the cats you choose to allow inside. No more neighbor cats or other critters!
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If you’re having trouble with unwanted cats and other small animals entering your home, then a microchip cat flap will keep them out for good. These electronic devices work very much the same way as an ordinary cat flap, but with better functionality and security. Here are our top 5 best microchip cat flaps of 2018.Mobile and tablet users just swipe across...
Top Features | Best Microchip Cat Flaps
- Our Rating – This is based on our own research in product testing and user feedback. Clicking on each product takes you to the product page where you can read customer reviews on the product you’re interested in.
- Best Value / Top Rated – Products that we consider to excel in a certain area such as value for money, reputation or technology have been given one of our aforementioned labels of recognition.
- Suitable Installations – All of the microchip cat flaps in our table can be installed into doors, windows and walls but may require a mounting adapter or extender to do so.
- Lock Type – A 4-way lock can be used to control entry and exit to in/out only, both ways or complete lock.
- Selective Entry – This will only allow registered animals to enter your home.
- Selective Exit – This allows certain pets to be kept indoors while other pets to freely come and go.
- Timer – A timer control allows the flap to be programmed to lock and unlock for specified times of the day.
- Battery Indicator – A blinking light will appear whenever battery is low and needs changing.
- Price – If you want to know the price of any of the models, just click on the Buy Now button or Check Price and you’ll be redirected to the product page. The reason we don’t put prices is because they constantly change and there are so many sellers offering different prices.
Here’s a short video showcasing the SureFlap Microchip Cat Flap.
How to Buy the Best Microchip Cat Flap
An ordinary cat flap serves to allow cats and other small pets to freely exit and enter your home without supervision. Whenever your cat feels the urge to go outside or to go toilet, they can easily do so. However, the problem with that is that it gives access to any unwanted cats and stray animals who may be bullying your pet around the neighbourhood.
To keep these pesky intruders out, many cat flaps now have some sort of locking system on it where you can manually lock it or it will automatically lock upon entry or exit.
One of the best and most secure methods of controlling what small animals can enter your home is by installing a microchip cat flap. This market is dominated by prominent brands such SureFlap and Cat Mate who have a good range on offer (particularly SureFlap).
Though a microchip cat flap is more costly than other types, it’s a lot more advanced and has plenty more benefits including:
- Better Security – If you are planning or already have your cat chipped, then this will be perfect for their security and your peace of mind. The chip scanner on the unit will instantly recognise who belongs in your home and who to keep out. As soon as your pet has entered, the door will immediately close behind them making sure that no other animals sneak their way in.
- Works for Collar Tags – If your cat is not chipped, fear not because certain microchip cat flaps (most notably SureFlap models) will also work with specific collar tags which are sometimes included with the product.
- Suitable for Small Dogs – Not only is it suitable for cats, but entry is also suitable for other small pets such as small dogs.
- Big Memory Storage – It has an integrated memory storage to recognise a large number of pets.
- Energy Efficient – All electronic cat flaps operate on batteries which will usually last up to one year of usage. Certain models will have an indicator light for when the battery is low, so you’ll never forget to change them.
- Great Customer Service – Manufacturers of the best microchip cat flaps know that pets hold a close place to someone’s heart, so you’re not only paying for the product, but you’re also paying for excellent customer service should anything not function the way it should. SureFlap in particular pays close attention to any customer issues and they’re great at resolving problems.
- Longer Warranty Periods – A great quality product breeds confidence and as a result, you’ll get a longer guarantee since manufacturers are confident on their own product. This provides extra peace of mind for their customers.
Some of the things you need to consider when you review and buy a microchip cat flap are:
- Is Your Cat’s Microchip Compatible? – Before making your purchase, the number one thing you should check is whether your cat’s microchip can be read by the units scanner. Fortunately, all common microchips worldwide are compatible but there are certain rare models that cannot be read. SureFlap has said that their units won’t recognise 10 digit microchips with codes beginning in 000, 010, 020.
- Is Your Door Suitable for Installation? – Wooden and glass doors and walls are suitable for installation, but you need to check whether they have the right dimensions and thickness for installation. You may need additional accessories to install such as a tunnel extender for walls or a mounting adapter for certain types of doors.
- Selective Entry and Exit – Most models will only have a selective entry function meaning that it will only serve to keep unwanted animals outside. If you need to keep your pets inside the house, then you need a model that also has selective exit.
- Does It Have a Timer Function? – This allows you to set the cat flap to lock and unlock during certain times of the day, giving you more control over your pets.
- Can it Be Controlled Via an App? – Higher end models such as the SureFlap Microchip Pet Door Connect, give you the ability to remotely control the timer function via an phone and tablet app.
As you can see, there’s a lot of benefits that come with buying a microchip cat flap and it’s up to your whether they’re really priorities for you. It may be worth the investment if there are lots of stray cats and animals around your area that are up to no good. If they’re causing you nuisance, then naturally you’d want to keep them out.
How an Electronic Microchip Cat Flap Works
Having a microchip cat flap installed is like giving your cat their very own key to the house, and one they can never lose. But how does an electronic microchip cat flap work? It’s actually quite simple and can be explained in just a few steps.
- Insert the batteries, which for most devices should last over a year. There are no cables required.
- You must then programme your cat’s microchip to work with the cat flap. Just push the button on top of the device (prompting it to flash red), then you must get your cat to walk as close to the device as possible (using a treat or positioning the device over your cat).
- Install the cat flap within a door, glass or wall. This will be the longest part but just follow the video instructions below and it shouldn’t be too difficult. There are additional accessories (sold separately) for glass and wall installations.
- Everytime your cat approaches the microchip cat flap, it will read your pet’s unique microchip or collar tag, prompting the door to unlock (in the case of SureFlap’s models, they will work with all existing identification microchips). It will open only for your cat while preventing intruders from coming in. You can manually control when your cats can come and go via the 4-way manual lock.
That’s typically how the most basic electronic microchip cat flap operates. There will be certain models that scans animals on exit too, giving you control on which pets can exit the home. The ability to set times of when the cat flap locks and unlocks is a feature found in the best devices.
How to Install SureFlap Microchip Cat Flaps
The above video demonstrates how to install SureFlap’s microchip cat flap products. The instructions can also be applied to for most other models.
Other Types of Cat Flaps
- Basic Cat Flap – This is the cheapest and most simple type of cat flap. Certain models are great quality but none offer the same type of security that lockable types do.
- Manual Lock Cat Flap – Offering slightly more security than a basic model would, a manual locking unit would usually consist of a 4-way lock mechanism which gives you the options of In or Out only and Opening and Locked. Though they’re generally very easy to operate, all security measures are depends on you.
- Magnetic Cat Flap – This has the same concept has a microchip cat flap, but the entry/exit opening is activated via a magnetic key (which is sometimes included with the product) that’s attaches to your cat’s collar. The downside of this is that the key or/and collar can get lost or stolen, and magnetic readers are not as reliable as microchips.
Here’s Why You Need a Microchip Cat Flap
This video shows how a determined racoon, who are very clever animals, tried to get into a microchip cat flap made by SureFlap. Their ‘Pet Door’ model offers even more security with latches on the inside and outside.
While you may think you’re not at risk of any uninvited animals climbing through your existing cat flap, it’s usually just a matter of time before one does. And if they come once, they’ll come again. The best microchip cat flips will ensure that this will never happen and your home will not be on the hitlist for wild animals.