View Full Version : Cat Door? Good or Bad idea

Aug. 5, 2011, 05:24 PM
I live in the country on a farm surrounded by woods. My cats come and go with my husband and I as the gate keepers. They love to go out in the middle of the night and we have been concerned about putting in a kitty door for fear of having a racoon or some other creature curled up on the couch in the morning. Would love to not wake up to my cat screaming to go out. Thoughts? Experiences? Thanks.

Aug. 5, 2011, 05:27 PM
I have a large size doggie door and have never had anything come in on it on but the dogs brings in live frogs and turtles but dead bunnies, birds and even a opossum.

Aug. 5, 2011, 05:28 PM
Depends on whether you like having kitty bring in live rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, birds and snakes, then dropping them and chasing them around the house till they kill them. Or leaving them for you to find half-mangled.

This is why all my cats are housecats only. They have screened porch and a tiny area of the yard with catproof fencing and no birds and birdtraps, uh bird feeders.

Aug. 5, 2011, 05:34 PM
You can now purchase cat doors which can be keyed to your cat's microchip (assuming your cat has a microchip.)

Aug. 5, 2011, 05:40 PM
My mom has her BEST FRIEND kitty from a giveaway here on COTH! :) Never thought my mom would be so wrapped around a little paw. It seems if weather is good, she's always putting Geisha out in her 'kitty condo' (as mom calls it) for an hour or so, when its not hot, etc, etc...and we are entertaining the idea of a kitty door, but ONLY onto the screened porch. That way, indoor kitty is safe...but can come and go to her 'outdoor safe area' without my sweet mom always running back and forth. :)

Aug. 5, 2011, 05:42 PM
Love my cat door!
I have 2 cats and they are NEVER on the same schedule. After years of playing Cat Doorman they can now come and go as they please.

Yes, they do bring the occassional "present" into the mudroom - the flying squirrel almost scared me to death. I screamed into the phone when I saw it and my friend asked if she should bring her gun! lol

Aug. 5, 2011, 06:04 PM
We have had dog doors for a good 35+ years and the cats have also used them.

Best is a dog door to a screened in porch or sun room, a kind of airlock and a dog door from it to a well fenced yard.

That solves many problems, as does keeping doors closed at night, of course.

All our animals love to come and go.

We had one very adventurous cat bring the occasional present, thankfully beheaded first, but just rarely.

My border collie used to run outside when a bird hit the window and bring me the bird.
I had to catch it before it got it's bearings again and flew all around the room.:p
Then we went out to wake it up good again and let it fly off, hopefully wiser now.

Aug. 5, 2011, 06:25 PM
I put a cat door on my tack room door for my barn kitties.........didn't take long before the racoons and possums figured out the door to :cry: I have heard a couple times from other people that they have had racoons come in through the door.

Aug. 5, 2011, 06:29 PM
I put a cat door on my tack room door for my barn kitties.........didn't take long before the racoons and possums figured out the door to :cry: I have heard a couple times from other people that they have had racoons come in through the door.

Coons will not only come thru a dog door, but if you don't have one, will make a hole on the wall or roof to come in.:eek:
Coons need to be discouraged promptly if you see signs of them around.

That is why I say get an airlock porch/sunroom and a well fenced yard if you have dog doors.:yes:

Aug. 5, 2011, 06:43 PM
We've had a cat door for years -once a 'coon came in but we had a huge problem with them all over the property at that time. And then fixed it.

Yeah, sometimes the cats bring in a 'treat' for you but mostly it means they come and go as they please without needing you.

You can get the micro-chip kind, or the one we like can be set to "in/out", "in only" or "out only".

We set it to "in only" in the evening so they can't be out at night - coyotes around here will get them.

But they will still prefer, and request, access via the people door. I mean, we are talking about cats here.

Aug. 5, 2011, 06:51 PM
The idea of cats going out at night, especially in the country, gives me the shivers. I would not like them to bring in snakes, rabbits, mice, or whatever, but neither would I like having a coyote or other animal taking them home--as supper!

I sympathize with kitties loving to go out at night. But I keep mine in.

Go Fish
Aug. 5, 2011, 07:02 PM
Can't you just put a litter box somewhere in the house that they can use for nighttime potty issues? Then, perhaps, they wouldn't be getting you up at night to go outside.

If you live in the country, I would highly discourage you from a dog or kitty door. If you have racoons, they will sit and watch your pets go in and out and will figure out how to use the door in no time. Trust me...you don't want to come down the stairs one morning and find a racoon eating out of your garbage can.

Aug. 5, 2011, 07:27 PM
We had to trap a couple of racoons that were comming in a friends cat door. We also told them to pull up food at night. We have a cat door into the tack room and like others there are occassional "gifts" left there for me :eek:

Aug. 5, 2011, 08:54 PM
I have not heard of the Microchip cat doors. I have a electric powered cat door that works with large-ish magnets hung off the cat collars.
They love the door and going out at 2 am and back. Sometimes they just go up to the door, watch it open, sniff the wind but don't go out.
They are older cats and it is reassuring to me that they can run in when they want to escape a dog or heavens forbid the scary scary garbage man.
(p.s. we got the electronic door because Raccoons learned how to use the regular flap door).

Aug. 7, 2011, 05:58 PM
We lived in the middle of Lexington in an older neighborhood with large yards and mature trees, and put in cat doors. One from the house to the garage, and then one from the garage to outside.
The pluses: Our 4 kitties could go in an out to their heart's content. We could also close the one to the outside if we were out of town and put a litter box in the garage. We were no longer awakened 4 times/night by 4 different cats (and yes, we had a litter box in the house, they just wanted outside.).
The minuses ranged from minor (half the other cats in the neighborhood coming in and sleeping in our house, which could have been fixed with the "keyed" cat doors), to more major with our two "supreme hunter" cats who brought in bloody, mortally injured but alive, or dead and partially chewed rabbits, squirrels and birds at all hours of the day and night. And loudly told us about it. Or, coming home from work to two frightened birds flying around inside the house, who "eliminated" their freshly eaten blackberries all over my new custom craperies and white walls. And oh yeah, the raccoon who poked his head through the door into our dining room... and this was all in the city.

We live in the country now, the land of opossum, mink, coyote, fox, raccoon, and stray dogs and cats.. and we did not put in any pet doors. LOL!

Aug. 7, 2011, 06:42 PM
We don't let our kitties out at night because of the coyotes. (not that there aren't more then enough tasty chickens running around out here for them).

We're planning on installing a cat door soon, the way we've always done it is to have the door hang on the inside & have the door larger then the opening. That was we can let them out when it's okay for them to be out, and they can always come in when they want.

Cats are smart, they see those bags packed to go on a weekend trip and they're off to the woods to hide!!

The last place we had was very close to a busy highway so we had an in/out cat door leading into an enclosure. The cat's didn't love it, but they also didn't get squished!

There is the tinniest cat door in our cow door :lol: I guess it was for someone's barn cats. Not too keen on it as I'm sure it WILL let in animals we don't want, but they'd just as soon come in through one of other the holes anyway!

Aug. 7, 2011, 06:51 PM
They will find other reasons to howl at you at 4 am. Lots of them.

Damn cats.


Aug. 7, 2011, 10:29 PM
We loved our doggie/cat door but had other cats and an opossum come in so ended up replacing the entire door. I agree with the posters that say to keep it in a sunroom or utility that can be shut off from the rest of the house at night.

Aug. 8, 2011, 02:24 AM
I have a friend who was awakened one Halloween by odd sounds coming from her dining room. She went to investigate and discovered a raccoon in the middle of her dining table, munching out on the bowl of extra candy. She somehow chased him out. She then locked the dog door then next night, only to be awakened by pounding at her back door. She again went to investigate, only to see Mr/Ms Raccoon, this time with several friends.

Aug. 8, 2011, 07:20 AM
Peggy-I love that story!

Skunks can also come in kitty doors too.

A friend's son used a regular (full size) basement window to put in a kitty door, and it led to the full sized room he had built out of chain link, with a big tree he rescued from the river bank. It worked out great, except he neglected to put in a locking gate, so when the people needed to go out to clean or fix anything they had to crawl in and out of the window. You could do that and put sun screen fabric on top or even do it using a real patio cover.

Aug. 8, 2011, 05:19 PM
Thanks everyone, lots to think about. I really appreciate you sharing your experiences.

Aug. 8, 2011, 05:47 PM
Love my cat door. It is in a basement window that is directly under my front porch. The porch has lattice all around, but there is a small gap for the cat to squeeze through. It is entirely invisible from the outside of the house.

Never had any other critter enter the house from there, although yes, he sometimes brings in victims. OTOH, I never have to worry about getting up in the middle of the night to let him in.

Aug. 10, 2011, 11:06 PM
I would love a cat door but since I've already had raccoons eat a hole through my roof into my attic :eek:, I don't think I'll chance it. Plus, only a few of my cats are indoor/outdoor cats.

Aug. 10, 2011, 11:20 PM
Yes, Have the doggie door going into the patio/pool area but had the house doors open on a wonderful cool night.

Skunk came in one nightand crawled in my son's bed under the covers. It was the next night when my son came home and crawled in too that the action began. :eek:

About 3 in the morning the skunk got hungry and began to move around waking my son up who shot out of bed like a cannon! It first went under the bed and then into the closet only after we disassembled the entire bed into the hallway. Finally we opened a window and tossed it out when it perched on top of the golf clubs.

I later purchased a skunk pelt and laid it on his pillow one evening....MOM...the SKUNK IS BACK!!!!!!HaHaHa...i'm so bad!!!

Have had a possum who grew up coming and going on a regular schedule eating with the cats glaring at him...and raccoons who stomp their feet @ you when you try to chase them away!

My cat dropped a baby bunny on my chest early one morning...After I leaped 20 feet and recovered from my heart attack I scrambled to recover the little guy and toss him back out.

Just saying...be prepared to welcome many of Mother Nature's critters to dinner.