There are a number of different electronic pet doors out there that help you control which pet is able to get into a specific area – whether that’s your front door, a particular room, a little area meant for feeding, a basement, or wherever else you think it’d be useful to prevent certain animals, and allow others, through.
There are so many different uses for electronic pet doors in general, and microchip cat flaps and doors in particular. From sectioning off a room for cats only so your felines can use their litter boxes without your dogs getting into the “presents” they leave behind, to preventing break ins through your front or back door by cats in your neighbourhood that just aren’t yours, to giving an often picked on kitty a room of his or her own to escape from the other cats – you can even integrate one of these into a piece of furniture to make sure an overweight cat burglar food thief doesn’t keep munching on the other kitties’ left over grub. So many options, so many problems these things can resolve, it’s pretty awesome.
When it comes to choosing between the different types of electronic pet doors, in my opinion, besides the practical element of whether or not they function properly or malfunction often, there’s a couple things you want to pay close attention to: 1. Whether you’d like it to work with keys or with microchips, and 2. The size of the electronic pet door. Let’s talk about the microchip versus track-able collar talk first, then talk about size.
Personally, having microchipped both my cats, I feel the microchip varieties of electronic doors that selectively allow particular pets through are way more helpful than collar versions. I don’t like making my indoor cats wear collars, and to be frank, even if I had outdoor cats who I did have wear collars, I don’t think I’d prefer the collar tag versions when there are plenty of good microchip identification cat flaps out there. I don’t like the idea that a cat could lose his or her collar – getting a breakaway collar snagged in a bush or having it pulled off in a fight with another animal – and not be able to get into the house as a result. Some pet doors that work with collars also require a battery on the collar, and if that loses its charge – well why go there if you have an alternative, in my mind?
Now let’s discuss size, because that’s obviously a really important factor when it comes to picking the right cat door. Luckily, many of the doors available are available in long, tall sizes for bigger cats, an excellent option if you have a cat who struggles with weight issues, is a large breed or size regardless of weight issues, dislikes squeezing into small spaces, or sometimes yo-yos weight-wise and ends up a little on the chubby side every so often. Definitely make sure to grab the larger sizes if any of these sound like your cat, as it’s a lot less of a hassle to get the right size from the start than to need to replace what you have with a bigger version.
Have a kitten? Expecting to get more cats? I would also advise grabbing a microchip door in one of the bigger sizes, because you just never know. Cats can keep growing up until they’re four years old, and honestly there’s no real way of knowing how large your particular kitten is going to get, so I wouldn’t take the risk grabbing a smaller pet door unless I only adult cats and was not planning on adopting any more. Just my 2c.
When it comes to microchip cat flaps in general, I feel the industry leader at the moment is SureFlap. They have quite a lot of options out there, and most seem to be a lot more highly reviewed than the microchip cat door flaps made by other companies. I don’t think they’re particularly cheap or inexpensive, but I also personally think there isn’t enough of a price difference between the cheaper models and the SureFlap microchip doors to make it worth taking a risk trying a different product. Again, this is just my opinion, and I haven’t had a chance to buy and test out these products yet, so take these thoughts with a grain of salt.
I’ll do my best to summarize the stand-out features that each of the products on this list have, as well as alternative sizes if you’re into that particular product. Types of features of microchip cat doors include things like timer control, connectivity to phone apps that let you know when cats go in and out, the ability to lock and unlock at different times of day, as well as dual scan options, which apparently come in handy for tricky, clever raccoons who seem to Houdini their way into pet parents’ houses with even some top-knotch microchip cat doors.
I’ve tried to cover as many options as I could, but if I forgot to mention any good microchip door flaps, please let me know down below in the comments section! And if you do end up grabbing one of these, or already have one at home, please tell me your thoughts on your microchip flap in the comments – why did you get it, do you like it, all that jazz. Let’s begin!
Picture from post Our New Cat Knew: Stick Around Long Enough, They’ll Let You In
Microchip Cat Flap Doors: Preventing Food Theft & Other Pet Problems
SureFlap probably makes the most popular microchip cat flaps around. It also works with RFID Collar Tags, of which Sureflap also makes (the SureFlap Pack of Two RFID Collar Tags), in case you’d like to try those out instead.
Many pet parents seem to be using them in particular to either keep intruder cats or intruder raccoons outside, or to prevent cats from eating other cats’ food in multi-cat households. Need to get through a wall to do what you need to do? No problem, SureFlap has tunnel extenders for their products so you can easily throw one or (for external walls) two of these on in order to make what you envision happen.
With keeping cats in a multiple cat home away from food that isn’t theirs, it seems a lot of pet parents have been integrating this microchip cat flap into chests or into cheap see-through plastic storage boxes to create little rooms for cats who often get their food stolen. Need help getting your cat to accept eating a meal in one of these excellent DIYs? Check out this step-by-step guide, as it has some excellent advice on training timid kitties to be happy to eat in a SureFlap container room.
The door opening on this particular SureFlap pet door is: 4 3/4 inches high x 5 5/8 inches wide. Need something bigger to ensure a larger cat won’t have difficulty going through? This SureFlap Microchip Cat Flap‘s door opening is 7 inches high x 6 11/16 inches wide.
If you have a feeling the raccoons in your area are pretty darn clever and you’ll need something a lot more difficult for them to slip into, try the DualScan cat door by SureFlap. Why’s it better for keeping out clever raccoons? One pet parent pointed out: “the dual scan works better b/c some raccoons can eventually learn to slip their paw nail under the pet door (the single scan model) and lift the door open. Whereas they cannot do that with this dual scan model.”
There is a case where the DualScan pet door would do more harm than good, however. The same pet parent went on to say in her response to whether this would prevent raccoons from entering, that in particular cases, it did not and actually created a really frightening situation: “I no longer use this dual scan model b/c my cat would hear raccoons trying to get in at night, and get real close to the door to find out what all the noises on the other side were about, and start hissing to protect his territory, and inadvertently, b/c the microchip that releases the door latch is in his neck, the dual scan door would become unlocked which would then allow the raccoon to come inside the house. And here’s the critical piece: The raccoon would then be trapped inside the house, unable to get out b/c the door will only open with the microchip’s presence from my cat. Serious danger here.” This situation certainly doesn’t appear to be common, but be aware it has happened before.
The PetSafe Microchip cat door is another popular microchip cat door, and features energy-efficient weather stripping as well as dual magnetic locking points to helping to insulate the door, keep heat in, and drafts out.
This microchip pet door also comes with a manual four way lock. You can control your cats’ access much more easily with this feature: as you can set the lock to “in or out,” “in only,” “out only, or “fully locked.” Super handy if you need to limit access to your home, or limit access to the outdoors, then want to quickly and easily revert to another access mode at a later point in time.
It seems that while the Cat Mate Putera Accesso Lector Microchip door isn’t ideal for larger cats, it is a reasonably good option that does its job well enough to consider. Some cat owners have reported it working a bit oddly – sometimes unlocking quickly and from a distance, other times not working until a cat has its head right at it, and still taking some time to open up. Apparently it’s also a bit loud as well, which could scare easily spooked kitties a little bit until they get used to the sound not being threatening, but it works for its intended purpose nonetheless.
This SureFlap microchip cat door – the “Connect” version, comes with a hub, which links the cat door to the Sure Petcare phone app. The app lets you know whether your pets are at home or whether they’re currently out, and can help you monitor long-term activity. You can remotely lock or unlock the SureFlap cat door, and DualScan technology is integrated in this cat door, so you can set entry and exit permissions for each cat.
This particular one has a door opening of 5 5/8 inches wide by 4 3/4 inches high, so if you have a larger cat, you may want to opt for this larger version – with a door opening of 6 11/16 inches wide x 7 inches high.
This is literally just a colour variation on the regular SureFlap. In case you have a brown or dark coloured door and would prefer a microchip pet door that is darker in colour to match, I think SureFlap is the only company right now that has darker options. This particular one has a door opening of 5 5/8 inches wide and 4 3/4 inches high. Need a bigger size? Prefer the Hub as well? There’s the SureFlap Microchip Pet Door Connect with Hub Bundle available as well with a door opening of 6 11/16 inches wide and 7 inches high.
Not at all a microchip cat door, but if your intended purpose for the microchip cat door is to prevent food theft amongst sibling kitties, you may want to consider grabbing a microchip pet feeder like the SureFeed instead. Lots of pet parents seem to have massive success with it.
There are times you would be better off opting for the whole food bowl in a plastic container with a microchip cat door routine instead. That’s when you have a food thief that’s persistent, and quite a bit of a clever scoundrel – as some cats have figured out they’re able to steal food from another, while the cat the food is intended for is eating, if the sneak thief cat comes along and eats the food from the back of the feeder. If you doubt your thieving cat is this clever, or you’re happy to place the feeder in a cardboard box, a plastic container, or some other cute lil’ decorative box you have lying around, or even if you’re happy to buy the rear cover for the pet feeder, you’re good to go with this feeder.
Not going to lie, based on the reviews, it seems this is not a good product to use with a microchipped cat. Although it’s advertised as working with RFID implants, apparently pet parents have had issues getting it to actually do what it’s supposed to. Still, it’s an option, and those reviews are old, so maybe the newer models have fixed this problem. Worth a consideration.
Your Thoughts on Microchip Cat Door Flaps?
What do you think of microchip door flaps? Do you like the idea of them over electronic cat doors that open with collar tags?
Do you have a use for them in your home? Multiple uses? Have you ever thought of grabbing one for a particular reason?
Have you ever got one yourself? Did you like it? Did it fix the problem you bought it to solve? Would you recommend the particular microchip cat door you bought?
Let me know your thoughts in the comments down below!