What makes a cat door different than a dog door? Technically, nothing! But cat doors are usually rigid flaps, and of course are smaller in size than dog doors. Cats can use dog doors, and tiny dogs can use cat doors, it just depends on sizing!
What is a 2-way lock vs a 4-way lock? Cat doors also usually have a 2-way lock or 4-way lock feature instead of a slide in locking cover. A 2-way lock is the normal “locked” or “unlocked” system. The 4-way lock feature adds “in-only” and “out-only” for added convenience depending on your schedule! An example of when to use these types of locks would be if you wanted your cat to come in at night and stay inside until you let them out in the morning. You would switch it to “in-only”, that way once your cat comes inside (perhaps for dinner) they would not be able to turn around and go back outside. This turns it into a one way cat door that you control.
The 4-way locking mechanism can also be incorporated in an electronic pet door. In these cases, the 4-way lock will override the electronics. If the cat door is set to ‘out only’ your cat will not be able to enter. Cat flaps with 4-way locks always have rigid flaps which are necessary for the mechanism to function. In general there are no real 4 way locking dog doors as this is something you only find in cat flaps.
How do you know which size cat door to get for your cat? Well, we recommend that you test it out! The size of one of the Cat Mate Cat Doors is 5 3/4″ w x 6 1/4″ h. If you take a piece of paper or cardboard, you can cut a hole that size and encourage your cat to step through that hole with some food or a toy. We actually have a video that shows how to measure your pets, and at the end you will see three cats testing out a 7″ x 7″ opening. Don’t think your cat will fit through that opening? You might be surprised. Cats are quite talented at getting through tight spaces, and usually seem to enjoy it! You don’t want your cat to have to squeeze, but usually they can comfortably get through much smaller openings that we imagine. Here is a smaller sized cat casually exiting a space that is very small:
You want to make sure that when you install your cat door, you place it low enough to the ground that your cat will be comfortable getting through even when they get older and less agile. You don’t want them to have to jump through!
There is nothing wrong with getting a small size dog door for your cat if you want them to have a bit more room. Something you’ll want to consider when getting larger pet doors for your cat is that the flap might be heavier and therefore more challenging for your cat to push open. Some cats get along just fine with even large dog doors, but others are more timid and will refuse to use them! In some cases, the cat might be able to be trained to use the bigger doggie door, but sometimes it simply will not work out.
Where can you install your cat door? Cat doors can go many places that dog doors cannot! The cat door size tends to be smaller so it can fit better under windows or even through cabintes to hid the litter box. Cats are also much more agile than dogs, so usually all sash (up and down closing) windows are safe bets for cat doors! Usually if you need to add something, it will just be a step on one or both sides and the cat can jump the rest of the way. Though maybe not for the most timid of cats, the Endura Flap in the Thermo Sash 3e is a great option as the Endura Flap is flexible, which can be more favorable for pets, and the entire unit is extremely weather-proof compared to similar products on the market. There is also the option to have the SureFlap Microchip Pet Door in the Thermo Sash, which is perfect for homes where intruder animals are a concern! The SureFlap Microchip Pet Door can use a collar key OR your cat’s already embedded microchip to grant access to only the cats you choose to allow inside. No more neighbor cats or other critters!