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17. CATFLAPS

 

The benefits & drawbacks of providing catflaps...

 

Cat flaps come in a variety of formats. Holes can be cut in doors, walls, and glass panes to provide our feline friends with their very own front doors.

There are simple plastic flaps which can be locked, left unlocked, locked so a cat can come in but not go out again & vice versa.

You can buy magnetic cat-flaps which require a magnet for a cat to gain entry to their home. This of course means that your cat must wear a collar fitted with a magnet, & provided that there are no other cats around with a magnetic collar, they will have exclusive access to their home.

There are infra red catflaps, designed for high density cat populated areas. Each collar will have an individual key code, so your house really is a members only club.

You can even choose a high tech cat flap which can be unlocked by your cats unique microchip number (a reflective collar is still highly recommended, but your cat will not be shut out if their collar & key comes off).

The benefits of a catflap...

• Your feline friend may come & go as they please without your assistance, providing you allow them to via the locking options.

• They are more likely to use an outdoor litter area more regularly (although a clean indoor alternative must always be provided for them, especially so in poor weather conditions).

• Boredom & potential frustration based problems can be avoided, as they will be able to find their own stimulation outdoors.

• Catflaps are designed to break open if a cat should panic & bolt into it, so as not to cause them harm.

 

The drawbacks of catflaps...

• A cat-flap (in a cats mind) can be a wide open hole in their castle defences, & can cause insecurity & problem behaviour.

• Your cat repeatedly coming in & out will leave a strong scent on their doorway, this can invite nosy neighbourhood cats to post feline announcements on or around it.

• If their keepers are not vigilant, cats can be out & about at night when they have a higher risk of coming to harm.

• If you have a catflap which relies on a collar key, your cat is always at risk of losing their key & being shut out of their own home.

• Catflaps are designed to break open if a cat should panic & bolt into it, so as not to cause them harm. This also means that a determined cat - particularly an aggressive one bent on battle - may break into your house following your pet!

• Catflaps are a drafty hole in our household insulation

 

So what can we do to secure catflaps for our felines & our own peace of mind?

Any undesirable smells can be tackled efectively with an enzyme active cleaner such as Simple Solution

Routinely lock your cats in before dark (perhaps at evening mealtimes), checking their collars & keys are intact (doing this will also ensure that your cat is indoors & you haven't accidentally locked them out). Then place something heavy over the open hole in their castle wall, until after their following mornings meal. This will prevent them leaving or anyone else gaining entry at night & they will know it, providing that it is a heavy, opaque object.

A quick check for anything unwanted, a little gardening or tidying around the outside of a cat flap in the mornings, can reassure you & your friend that all is well. (dusting some of the contents of a vacuum cleaner bag around outside to reinforce home scent, can help if there is a problem)

 

See how to teach a cat to use their catflap

Call your cat from the other side of the catflap, while propping it open

Call your cat from the other side of the catflap, while propping it open

Squeezing themselves through a tight space may take some persuasion

Squeezing themselves through a tight space may take some persuasion

You can tape the catflap open & put food on the other side for them

You can tape the catflap open & put food on the other side for them

Gradually decrease the angle of the taped open door so they have to push it open themselves, a little more each day

Gradually decrease the angle of the taped open door so they have to push it open themselves, a little more each day

Persistence will pay off

Persistence will pay off

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