The Best Cat-Proof Dog Doors
If you have dogs who use a pet door with an indoor-only cat, you’re likely familiar with the dilemma of keeping your cat inside while the dogs come and go. Cats are crafty when it comes to finding a way outside, and it’s no easy task keeping them in while they watch Fido enjoy his newfound freedom.
The best option in this scenario is an electronic, cat-proof doggie door. Electronic pet doors are perfect for keeping cats, other pets, or even small children inside while allowing the dog to come and go. In this article, we’ll go over our favorite cat-proof dog doors for various installation locations.
Best Cat Proof Dog Doors
The best way to keep cats from using dog doors is with electronic pet doors. The basic functionality of an electronic pet door is that it scans for an RFID key, magnetic key, or your pet’s vet-implanted microchip to unlock.
However, not all electronic pet doors are effective for keeping cats inside. Since they are generally intended to keep strays and wildlife out, many electronic doors scan from the outside only—meaning your cat can still exit through the door. The electronic door must scan for a microchip or collar key from both directions in order to keep the cat inside.
For Doors: PetSafe Electronic Smart Door
The PetSafe Electronic Smart Door is a simple, effective solution for controlling which pets have access to the door. When your dog wears the provided RFID collar key, the door scans for the key to unlock so the cat can’t get out on their own. If you have more than one dog, additional collar keys can be purchased. The PetSafe Smart Door is available in a small. 5-½” x 7-⅞”, and Large, 11” x 16”, flap size. It’s great for letting small to medium-sized dogs come and go while keeping the cat indoors.
If you need to stop your cat from using the dog door, the High Tech Automatic Pet Door for Walls is a great option. The automatic flap unlocks when it senses the ultrasonic collar key your dog wears, raising automatically to let them in or out. When the dog is not by the door, it will remain locked. The Large 12-¼” x 16” flap is the largest electronic pet door available, making it a great choice for those with bigger dogs.
It’s important to note, however, that although the cat cannot unlock the door on their own, they may try to slip out behind the dog since the automatic flap raises more slowly than one your dog has to push through. Check out the High Tech Automatic Smartphone-Controlled Pet Door for Walls for the same great door but with app control that allows you to set custom timers that help you further control the door’s functionality.
For Sliding Glass Doors: High Tech Power Pet Automatic Patio Pet Door
For sliding glass doors, we recommend the High Tech Power Pet Automatic Patio Pet Door. The pet door itself functions the same way as the High Tech Power Pet Wall Mount, but it’s mounted in a dual-pane glass panel that installs directly into your sliding door track. The ultrasonic collar key can be programmed from a distance of 1 to10 feet from the door. For households with cats, it’s best to program the sensor range as close as possible. That way, your dog has to get right next to the door to activate the lock, minimizing the chance of the cat slipping out before or after them.
For Windows: Thermo Sash 2e with DualScan Cat Flap
For window installations, the Thermo Sash 2e with Dualscan Flap is a good option. However, the flap is 5-¾” x 4-¾”, meaning it will only work with very tiny dogs such as chihuahuas or other miniature breeds. Always make sure to measure your pet to check that the flap size will work. Since electronic pet doors for windows are geared more towards cats, we recommend one of the other installation options above for larger dogs.
Ways to Keep Cat from Using the Dog Door
If an electronic pet door doesn’t work for your home, there are other ways to stop the cat from using the dog door. Here are a few ways to discourage your cat from using the dog door:
Increase Pet Door Magnet Strength: If you have a manual dog door, increasing the magnet strength of the flap is a good way to keep the cat out, since they likely won’t be strong enough to push through. Endura Flap Pet Doors are excellent for this purpose. The flap itself is built for harsh weather and is extremely heavy-duty. An average-size cat likely won’t be able to push through an extra-large Endura Flap door. You can also add magnets to the flap to increase the difficulty for your cat while allowing your dog to come and go.
Surround the Door with Deterrents: Safely making the dog door as unpleasant as possible for the cat could help keep them inside. Cats dislike the texture and sound of aluminum foil, so you can try placing some in front of the pet door flap. Spritzing a pet-friendly citrus spray around the door a few times a day may also deter your cat from making their great escape.
Use Positive Reinforcement: Using positive reinforcement to keep your cat inside is a good way to discourage them from using the dog door. Try a few training sessions where you give them their favorite treat when your dog leaves through the pet door. This teaches your cat that being inside is more fun than heading out the pet door behind the dog. Check out how to prevent indoor cats from escaping for more tips.
Ultimately, an electronic pet door is the best way to prevent your cat from using the dog door. You can try coupling an electronic dog door with the training tips above for the ultimate cat-proof dog door. If your cat is still craving some fresh air, try training them to walk on a leash or building a catio. These are both great alternatives that allow your cat to safely enjoy the outdoors without the risks of unsupervised access through the dog door.