We have three cats. We started off with two, which is pretty respectable, but then we found another in the cellar of our last house. She was hiding in the darkness behind piles of rubbish left by the previous owners, staring up at us with pale green eyes, a bit like Gollum. She ended up much nicer than Gollum, though, so we kept her.
Anyway, one of the first orders of business when we moved was to get a flap fitted in the back door. After having trouble with the neighbourhood cats sneaking into our last house, eating our cats’ food, and spraying (ugh) on our wall, we decided to go for a microchip-reading cat flap this time. We grabbed the Sureflap Microchip Cat flap (affiliate link) from Amazon which seemed to be the best price and have the best reviews.
Fitting the cat flap
Fitting the cat flap in the door was relatively straightforward. We actually watched the official video which made it all pretty clear.
First you have to trace the flap so you know where to cut. Carl checked the flap for level before tracing. Who wants a wonky cat flap? Most instructions suggest measuring your cat to get the height of the flap right. We just placed it as low as this particular door would allow us, which is probably a bit too high but still works for our cats.
Then you drill holes at each corner and along any curved sections so you can fit your jigsaw blade. I pressed a bit too hard in a couple of places and the UPVC shattered on the opposite side of the door, fortunately all hidden by the flap when fitted. So use a sharp drill bit, high speed and light pressure. Oh, and try to drill straight, especially if it’s a thick door.
Grab your jigsaw and start cutting through the door along the line you traced. I had no idea how this would go but it was surprisingly easy. The blades that came with the Evolution jigsaw are supposed to be ok for wood, metal and plastic so a bit of UPVC wasn’t a problem. Slow speed seemed to be sufficient. Apparently, some doors have a metal plate in the middle for extra security. I have no idea how you would handle that.
It was tricky to cut the bottom line because the lower part of the door prevented me from resting the base of the jigsaw on a flat surface. I ended up screwing a thick piece of wood above the line so that it’s surface lined up with the bottom part of the door and I could rest the jigsaw between them.
After cutting along each edge, the hole for the flap will fall out. Pop the cat flap in place, level it up, and mark where the screws will need to go so you can drill holes.
Screw the cat flap into place and it is ready to program for the cats to use.
The video from Sureflap suggests placing a treat inside the flap for your cat to eat while it is ‘learning’ the chip. We programmed ours before we installed it, so we just picked up each cat in turn and waved the flap towards them. They need to be close but don’t have to be inside it. It was pretty fun and much easier than trying to give them their worm tablets for instance. Almost makes me want another cat.
How we like the cat flap
It’s working really well. It’s always let them in, and we’ve not had any intruders, although a few days ago there was a bit of a stand-off on either side of the cat flap and I saw a paw come inside. The lock was disengaged because one of our cats was sitting just on the inside growling! I do think it took a bit of time for them to get used to the split second it takes for the flap to open, but it seems fine now. I am a bit concerned about the battery running out while we go away for a holiday, but we may choose to replace the batteries directly beforehand, even if they aren’t running low.
The extra-super bonus is that now our children can’t push rocks and twigs into the house through the cat flap (so they use the dryer vent instead)!
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To fit your cat flap in a door you will need:
- A cat flap, like our Sureflap Microchip Reading Cat Flap. While non-microchip cat flaps are less expensive, if there are other cats in your neighbourhood, you might be glad you upgraded.
If you are fitting the flap in a wall or in a window, there are extra accessories you will need to purchase.
The main tool needed is a jigsaw. We picked up our Evolution jigsaw from Screwfix and the blades provided worked fine for this job.
Since we had a jigsaw already, we spent a total of £54.99 on this project for the cat flap.