Are Electronic Cat Doors A Better Way For Your Cat to Have Access To The Outdoors?
Your cat is an indoor/outdoor cat. Kitty is allowed inside the house but has the freedom to venture outside.
However, cats being cats, want out one minute and want in the next minute. Naturally, your job as your cat's servant is to be on hand to open and close the door to suit her whims. Not fun.
A cat door is the answer of course. Your cat can enter and leave the house whenever she wants and you don't need to be around.
Trouble is, when you're not around, every other neighborhood cat can enter you home too. So can strays and an assortment of wild creatures.
These other cats and creatures can bully and distress your cat, eat her food and create havoc inside your home. Not good.
Fitting a catch, or bolt, to the pet door may seem like the simple answer. Other critters will not be able to get in.
Trouble is neither will your
cat until you are around, and likewise your cat will not be able to exit your
home unless you are around.
Your cat has been out and about but now she wants in, maybe to take a well earned cat nap, the electronic door lets her in.
But what happens if a neighborhood Tom cat feels like following her in to your home
too? The door will not let him through, that's too bad for you Tom.
Most electronic cat doors work in conjunction with a special collar and tag that your cat wears.
A signal passes between the collar and the door and the door operates.
Many electronic pet doors can be set to operate a variety of ways. Cat is allowed out, cat is allowed in, cat is allowed in and out.
Some can be programmed to only allow your cat in or out at certain times.
If you have more than one cat then some models allow you to program for each cat individually.
Some cat doors that are described as electronic are really electromagnetic. The collar the cat wears contains a magnet that sets off the doors operation.
Some of these collars are a little bulky, others are more compact.
Electromagnetic cat doors can work very well, like true electronic doors they can be set to allow your cat out only, in only or both in and out.
One small disadvantage is that if another cat wearing a magnetic collar approaches the door, the door will operate. This is not a problem of course, if no other cats in your neighborhood have magnetic collars. Even if they do, they may not want to enter a strange cat flap.
There are certain electronic cat doors that are operated by microchip. This is the same identification microchip that is implanted beneath your cat's skin in case it goes missing.
The pet door is programed to recognize your cat's chip and will only operate when triggered by that chip.
If you have two or more cats the door can be programmed to allow certain cats in, or out, at different times.
If a strange cat happens by that has been microchipped, the door will not recognize the chip and so will not open.
For cats that are not already 'chipped', then the price of getting that done adds to the cost of these type of electronic cat doors, but for cats that go outside microchipping is a good idea anyway.
The big advantage is that your cat does not need to wear a special collar, so no chance of the collar coming off and your cat being trapped outside.
Raccoons are super smart and have long and nimble 'fingers' on their front paws. Not all kinds of electronic cat doors are capable of keeping them out.
If the pet door locks one way only, lets your cat go out freely but only allows your cat back in if wearing the collar, then it will stop other cats and animals from entering.
A strange cat, dog, or most other animals, may push against the door but find that it does not open and leave it alone.
Not so the clever raccoon. Using those dexterous fingers, the creature can lift the door outwards and enter.
Electronic cat flaps that lock both ways, and will only allow your cat in or out if wearing the collar, should also be able to prevent the raccoon from entering because it will not be able to lift up the flap. But then . . . raccoons are very resourceful.
Most electronic cat doors come with instructions on how to train your cat to use it, yes your cat will most likely need training. This is particularly so if she has never used any sort of pet door before.
The instructions may advise you to leave the flap of the door off, or tape it open, for a day or so. Your cat will learn that 'hole' is her special way outside and back in again.
Some cats may need a little encouragement, such as a healthy treat when they successfully make it through the opening. Then you encourage her to come and go with the door attached. And then get her used to the door locking her in and locking her out.
With the electronic cat doors that require the cat to wear a collar, your pet will need to learn to get close enough to the door for it to operate.
All pet doors make a little noise when the flap drops down, electronic doors may make a few additional sounds. If your cat is on the nervous side, it may mean that you will need to spend a little longer with the training.
With patience and encouragement your cat should learn to use her new door without problems.
Let your cat enjoy the outdoors protected by cat fencing.
The protection of a cat fence, means your cat can taste the fresh air, prowl around, get some exercise and enjoy the sunshine out in your backyard in safety.