How to Install a Cat Flap in a Wooden Door DIY?

If you have a feline companion that likes to take afternoon strolls in the garden, you know the feeling of betrayal that accompanies opening the door only to see the furball walking back to the sofa for a nap. “Annoying” is a soft word to describe the situation.

Before you question your pet choice for the thousandth time, at Best Pets we have a proposition that might just end your suffering: Why not just install a cat flip on your door?

Why is it Important to have a Cat Flap?

First of all, cats are indeed amazing creatures but they get easily bored. If you don’t provide the animal with new and fun toys such as cat trees, or can’t find time to play with it, Mr Mittens will get lazy, fat and depressed.

Cats are curious predators that love to explore open spaces and to wiggle their butts, while on the hunt for rogue leaves. If you suppress the feline’s inborn instincts, it will develop an aggressive behavior towards you and you’ll have to somehow stop it scratch and bite. To avoid that, your best option is to install a cat flap. This way you ensure your pet acquires a sense of freedom and you protect the doors from scratch marks.

What Types of Cat Flaps are there?

Classic Flaps

Basically, this is a two-way pet door that you can find at most pet stores at a fairly cheap price. However, there is a chance that your cat’s not going to be the only one using it. If you don’t have a problem with your neighbor’s pets strolling in and out of your house, the classic cat flap is all you need.

Lockable flaps

This model has an additional “lock” option. It has two modes – An in-only or out-only. Let’s say your cat came back from its daily sunbathing routine and you don’t want it to leave the house anymore. Just click the in-only mode and you won’t have to worry for your pet getting out again. Lockable cat flaps are also a good way to prevent other unwanted animals from visiting your home.

Infrared flaps

Now we are talking. An infrared cat flap is a fancy device that will unlock itself for your cat only. It comes with a certain key you can attach on your cat’s collar that signals the door when the animal is in front of it. This model can keep other unknown animals out of your house.

Magnetic flaps

Magnetic cat flaps work in a similar way as the Infrared ones. The only difference (and downside) is that if your neighbors use the same pet doorway system, their cats will be able to come freely in and out of your property.

Microchip flaps

The Rolls-Royce of cat flaps. This is how they work: the flap opens only after it scans a microchip placed on the cat’s collar or inserted under its skin by a vet. Some models can memorize up to 30 pet identities. The downside is that microchip cat flaps are a bit on the expensive side.

How to Fit a Cat Flap on a Wooden Door?

Once you’ve decided to put an end to your cat’s misery that will most certainly affect your emotions and well being, then equip it with its own personal door, you can buy one from the local pet store or order it online. To make sure we’re on the right path, we asked for some expert advice. Here what tips the professional’s cat flap fitters from Fantastic Handyman (UK) told us about the correct way to install yours:

  1. Take the exact measures. You need to make sure that your cat can go through the door without any troubles (consider if it is still growing). Place the cat flap at about 10-15 centimeters from the floor. This is the average belly height of a cat. Add two marks for the height with the use of a pencil at the middle of the door.
  2. Place the paper template that comes with the cat flap, so you know where you need to make holes. Make a hole in the four corners of the template. These punctures serve as guidelines for the flap.
  3. Use a jigsaw to cut from one drill hole to the other. At this point, you’ll be left with a squire.
  4. Remove the cut wood and smooth it out with sandpaper to get rid of any chips.
  5. Follow the four marks you made earlier to make the screw holes. Place the front of the cat flap a bit narrower than the screws and insert it into the drill. Make a hole in each pencil dot that reaches the other side of the door.
  6. Put the cat flap together. Hold the front part in position and adjust the four screws into their holes. Then place the back of the cat flap on the other side of the door and over the protruding screws. Secure the screws with nuts. That’s it, you’re done!

How to Train your Cat to Use the Cat Flap?

First of all, you need to be patient with your cat. It will take a bit of get-to-know time before the furball understands that the flap is not some cat-devouring monster. If it gets used to it, sooner or later, it will come back for water.

  • Let your pet sniff around the new device and don’t try to forcefully make it pass through.
  • The animal will get stressed out and will never learn how to use the cat flap.
  • Instead, keep the flap open and urge your pet to pass it with a treat or by the help of a toy.  
  • Next, try the same technique but with the flap shut. Bear in mind that the whole learning process will be a lot harder if the cat has never seen the outdoors.
  • A good Idea is to open the door and show the cat where the flap actually leads to.
  • You can even pick your pet and take it out on a quick walk so it can get accustomed to the environment.

When your feline friend gets used to its own private door, it will happily take advantage of it every day. And don’t be surprised if it decides to invite a friend for a playdate.