Keeping Out Raccoons
One question our customer service gets all the time is if other animals will use your pet's door to come into your home. And the answer is YES! Any manual pet door with a flap just needs a good push to open up, so if your pet can do it, chances are another animal can too, especially if you live in a rural area. This is where microchip cat doors and dog doors come in! With dog doors that keep other animals out, companies typically talk about keeping out stray cats, not wild animals. In addition to feral cats, small rodents, insects, snakes, skunks, possums, and most other critters must be kept out as well! The second and hardest question is how to have a raccoon-proof outdoor cat and dog door installation. To keep out the clever neighborhood raccoons, who can usually figure out how to use their claws to pull the flap out towards them and enter your home in search of human or pet food, you need a special kind of electronic pet door. Many electronic cat doors and microchip cat flaps allow raccoons in by only controlling who enters the home, and not who exits (meaning the flap can always open towards the outside).
A raccoon proof cat door or dog door must control access in both directions (or have special programming), preventing the raccoon from tricking the pet door into thinking someone is exiting your home. Here's our list:
- High Tech Power Pet Door
- Cat Mate Elite Series
- PetSafe Smart Door Large and Small
- SureFlap Microchip Pet Door (has a special Raccoon Mode that must be programmed)
- SureFlap Dual Scan Cat Flap
For patio panel pet doors we'd recommend the Power Pet Automatic Patio Doors or the SureFlap ThermoPanel 2E. These automatic panels will lock and keep any critters or strays away from your sliding glass door.
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 heavy duty locking mechanism that engages specifically to keep raccoons out! Raccoon Mode, or Custom mode 5, is a one of a kind feature. 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!
- If you have a cat door, install the door a few feet from the ground. The cat can jump up to a platform before entering, while raccoons cannot jump like cats this could deter them from breaking in.
- For dog doors with flexible flaps, determine whether your pet door can take on additional magnets. If so, this would make it harder to open.
- 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.
Looking for a raccoon proof door?
To guarantee raccoon prevention, you will need an electronic pet door that requires collar tags or a microchip.
- Program your pet's’ microchip or collar key to the pet door (this will prevent unwanted animals from entering)
- Check out Cat Mate Elite 305 or SureFlap Pet Doors which are manufactured with raccoon prevention modes
- Again, to prevent raccoons from even attempting to enter through the pet door, determine whether you can install it higher from the ground (see if your pet will be okay)
As you can see, a lot of these successes/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.