Keeping Out Raccoons
Electronic pet door companies typically talk about keeping out stray cats, not wild animals. We think that small rodents, insects, snakes, skunks, possums and most other critters must be kept out as well. The hardest to keep out is the wily raccoon, since they can usually figure out how to use their claws to pull the flap out towards them and enter your home. Doing this works when the pet door is only controlling who enters the home, and not who exits (meaning the flap can always open towards the outside).
There are some electronic pet doors that really will keep a raccoon out because they control access in both directions, preventing the raccoon from tricking the pet door into thinking someone is exiting your home. Here's the list:
- High Tech Power Pet Door
- Plexidor Electronic Door
- Cat Mate Elite Series
- PetSafe Smart Door Large and Medium
- SureFlap Microchip Pet Door (only controls who enters, but has a special Raccoon Mode to keep them out)
- SureFlap Dual Scan Cat Flap
For sash windows, we'd recommend the raccoon proof SureFlap Thermo Sash 2E. The SureFlap Microchip Pet Door is special in that it does not control who exits your home, but it does have an additional locking mechanism that engages specifically to keep raccoons out! Check it out:
Already have a pet door?
Here are some alternative suggestions that might help keep the raccoons from messing with your pet's door in the first place!
- Install the cat door several feet off the ground. The cat will jump up to a platform before entering, but since raccoons don't jump like cats, this could be an effective deterrent.
- Installing a small radio tuned to a talk show to suggest human presence near the pet door.
- Regularly apply scents like mint or cayenne pepper, which raccoons dislike, around your pet door.
Here is a success story from a customer who wanted to keep unwanted critters out:
We installed a cat door a little more than 2 feet above the ground for our cat to go in/out of the attached garage to the outdoors. We installed another door at ground level for our cat to go in/out of the attached garage to our house.
Required some work and training, but it was well worth it.
- We've had no rodents or small animals come in uninvited.
- Our cat comes and goes as he pleases which means no more waking up in the wee hours to let him out.
- On really cold days, the cat can still enjoy hunting in the garage.
- We've always kept a litter box for him in our laundry room during the winter months when the ground is too frozen for him to dig a hole. And now we keep that litter box in the garage.
Happy Cat, Happy Family!
Some animals are extra determined, as shown in this story:
Found your site while searching for a solution to my raccoon problem. I have had a family of raccoons sharing my yard and surrounding area for the last 7 years. Two years ago, a family of foxes started to move in and around the area as well. There seems to be no discord between the two. This Spring, I began to have problems with the nursing females attempting (and finally succeeding)to get into my home through a pet door.I have removed all access, and they have countered by climbing the vinyl siding walls. The pet door sits above my kitchen counter, well off the ground. I wanted to share with you and your site, that, Coons and cats and foxes are all pretty harmonious here. And Coons are more then capable of jumping like a cat. They were using a rocking chair over 4 feet away! I'm out of ideas for on modifying their behavior.... I am going to try keeping the door shut as much as possible in hopes that they will lose interest over time. It's a sight! If all else fails, I can always move. Just kidding. My next move would be an electronic door....Thanks for the tips:) Holly P.
As you can see, a lot of these success/failures have somewhat been situational and have a lot of factors that play into them. If you already have an existing pet door, we suggest you try one of these fixes, and if raccoons still prove to be a problem, we suggest that you purchase a raccoon proof door!
We'd like to solicit feedback from anyone trying these or other solutions. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.