Cat standing outside the Hollow Door with Cat door installed in it

How to Install a Cat Door in a Hollow Core Door?

Do you own a curious cat? Or one that loves the outdoors as much as it loves the plush sofa inside?

You know the kind of active creature that enjoys basking under the sun. In addition to that, they enjoy socializing with the neighborhood cat community.  With pets like these, you feel like a doorman. Don’t you?

And what about the times you aren’t home? Then you can’t figure out if you want to let them in or keep them out.

Many pet owners are caught in the same dilemma. Moreover, the problem persists when the feisty feline, starts bumping and scratching doors in order to be let out.

What is a cat owner to do? Hire a cat sitter?

In this economy! We have got to be joking right?

Well, we are. That is because we have a better solution at our disposal. Instead of operating as a doorman, you have to pick up some tools and be the handyman for the day. This is so that you may install a cat door for everyone’s convenience.

Does that sound like a tough task to pull?  We will show you that with the right tools and proper guidelines can help you accomplish this feat. In fact, you will hardly break a sweat when you fix up a solid cat door for your pet if you follow our lead.

So let’s get started!

The Prep:  What Do You Need Before You Start Installation?

Here are a few pre-installation tips that will make your job easier:

1. The Size

A word to the wise, you should never buy a cat door without measuring your pet. Otherwise, you will wound up with a flap door too small for your animal. And if it is too big then it acts as an open invitation to big stray cats and dogs alike.

So as a precautionary measure, measure your cat. One way to do this is to take measurements from the cat’s feet to its shoulders. Apart from the height, try to gauge other factors like its width, distance between the cat’s under-bellies to the head.

Pro-tip: Keep the opening width two-inches wider than the widest part of your pet. Same goes for the height.  

Our tip comes in handy in two ways. Firstly, your pet won’t get stuck if your measurements were awry. Secondly, a slightly bigger pet door means that you won’t face any problems if your cat gets bigger down the line.

2. The Door

After you have noted the measurements, you should get door shopping. You will be happy to know that there is a vast variety of pet doors out there. Like double-flapped, single-flapped, self-framed and frameless ones and the list goes on.

The trick to choose the best door is keeping in mind:

  • Your pet measurements
  • The thickness of your doors
  • Feasibility
  • Durability

Pro-tip:  Most interior doors have hollow cores. This is why we advise you to purchase a hassle-free self-frame door. Not only will they cut-down the installation process, but they will also prevent your hollow cores from the elements.

Plus, they give your DIY-project a smoother, neater finish!

3. The Location

Done with the shopping? Now, all you have to do is to select where you want to place your cat door. You can have one cat door for the main door of your house. Then if you are feeling generous, you may also install another on the door of the room your cat frequents in. (e.g. the kitchen!)

This allows your precious pet to have easy access inside and outside the house.

3. The Tools

Floor Plan on Table

Here is a list of the tools you will need:

  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Drill
  • Drill bits
  • Earmuffs or earplugs
  • Dust mask
  • Jigsaw
  • Safety glasses
  • Screwdriver
  • Utility knife
  • Workbench (optional)
  • Pet door kit
  • Masking tape

The Guide:  Step-by-Step Guide to Installing Your Cat Door

Step-1: Purr-fect Position

Use a pencil and ruler to properly mark the area where the door has to be installed. Make sure that the marking is leveled. The pet door will be approximately 10-12 inches above the floor.

Many pet door kits include a template that will help you draw the borders.  

Pro tip: Take out your door from the hinges before you start the installation.

Step-2: Drill Away

Next, as a safety measure, you should place a masking tape around the corners of the template you drew.  Then drill four holes in each edge of the drawn pattern these work as the access points for your jigsaw.

Step-3: Start Cutting

Now, comes the tricky part. You will have to insert the jigsaw into one of the drill holes, and then steadily cut according to the template line you had drawn. The template allows you to cut an accurate opening to fix your cat door.

Step-4: Attachment

Did you buy a self-framing door? That’s great!

Because all you have to do is attach the pet door to properly place the pet door into the hole you just cut. Remember to secure both sides of the door with screws.

What If You Bought a Frameless Door?

Oh boy!  Hold right there!

You can’t attach the pet door without making your frame. So what do you do?

Frame It!

Here is what you will have to do:

  • Measure the interior dimensions of the cat door hole you have cut.
  • Then cut 4 pieces of wooden plank according to those calculations.
  • Apply glue to the planks to create a framework.
  • Clamp those planks.
  • Let it dry!
  • Then fix it inside the hollow wooden door. Make sure that your homemade frame aligns perfectly with the hole.

Done? Now, please go to step 4 and attach your pet door.

What’s Next?

Once your cat door has been installed, it is time to train your furry feline. Remember, it might take a few attempts and some time to make it used to the door. But once your cat gets used to its customized door, it will be flapping in and out like a pro!

So are you ready to drop your doorman duty?

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