Magnetic & Electronic Cat Doors
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In addition to the issues you’d think about in purchasing a manual cat flap, the magnetic and electronic versions offer a few additional things to think about.
First comes power. As it happens, the collar keys in this section are all passive—they don’t require battery power. So that’s one thing you needn’t worry about. However, a number of the electronic cat flaps themselves are battery operated and you’ll want to pay attention so that a dead battery doesn’t lock your cat outside some cold winter night.
On the other hand, the magnetically-operated cat flaps rely on the magnetic strength of the magnet to move a lever inside the cat door thus unlocking it. No power required at all. But these cat doors are a little more sensitive to placement. You want that collar key to come very close to or actually touch the lip of the sensor as the cat is coming in. Typically this means mounting the cat door a little bit higher than you might to ensure that the cat is approaching from slightly below the door rather than from slightly above the door.
Second is the fact that some of these cat flaps control in one direction—that is, you have to be wearing a collar key to come in but you don’t need the collar key to go out. And some control in both directions—you need to be wearing the collar key to use the cat door at all.
Certainly, if you have pets you want to have access to the door and others you don’t, the two way design is best because you just don’t put a collar key on the pets you want kept inside.
We also think the two-way locking version is more resistant to intrusion, particularly from raccoons. You can’t hook a claw on the edge of the door, pull it outward and duck under. Still there are those who say that if the skunks in the house you sure want to make it easy for him to get out.