If you are in the market for a dog door or cat flap, read this article first. We have outlined a few things you need to consider before buying and installing one.
In 2014 we got a kitten for our youngest daughter and to start with Cersei, our newest addition, stayed inside while she got used to her new home. But it wasn’t long before it was time for her venture outside – so we started to look at the cat flap options available to us.
So my search for a cat flap gave me some thoughts on issues to take into account when looking for a cat flap or dog door, and they are, in summary:
- Cost and Choice
- Complexity and Damage
Cost and Choice
Most of my research was online and the best site I’ve come across in terms of range of options and price to suit both dogs and cats is Petsystems. Their prices seem to range from about R159.00 to over R2000.00 for the more sophisticated dog doors and cat flaps. That said you still need to install the door, which looking at some of the installation instructions seemed overly complicated and beyond my DIY ability. The biggest problem was the tools I’d need to buy and the accurate hole I would need to cut. So I figured I’d need a handyman to come over at a cost of about R250 to R350 per hour.
Then the last bit of research was the cost of closing the hole if we ever needed to vacate our property. Most dog door or cat flap sellers offer a solution with a “blank” that can be fitted over the hole. The cost of the blank is about R100.00 and I could do this myself. Best case scenario is around R459.00 all in, worst case just under R3000.00 plus the inconvenience of having to set up and attend the pet access installation.
Complexity and Damage
Notwithstanding that a cat flap was beyond my DIY ability, we’d need to teach Cersei to use it. And I wasn’t sure how easy this would be as I’ve had some cat herding experience and have got the scars to prove it!
Then I’d need to choose the right size and I wasn’t sure how big she would grow. Then there was the additional issue of keeping it clean, especially if there were to be some electrical components.
And which door would I fit it to anyway, the glass patio door, the kitchen door (which was also glass), maybe the wooden side door into the garage – but then she’d have to run the gauntlet of the dogs.
Our final thoughts were about security and this had two parts to it.
The first consideration was letting workmen into our home as a study by Professor Zinn amongst incarcerated criminals found that 75% of break ins are based on inside information usually gleaned from domestic employees or workmen. So we weren’t keen on that. See this article about house burglary in South Africa.
The other issue was burglar access to our home through a dog door! Watch these two videos to see how easy it is for someone to gain access:
The alternative to a dog door or cat flap
My relationship with LockLatch started when Katie (our eldest daughter) heard Anthony Bairos talking on the radio about his new invention, LockLatch. Kate suggested we consider LockLatch instead of a cat flap. I checked out the website www.locklatch.co.za and phoned Ant and ordered my latch. When it arrived it took less than 15 minutes to install and Cersei used it straight away.
I installed a LockLatch as it “ticked all the boxes” after some pretty extensive research. So if you’ll excuse my partisan opinion here’s why I think LockLatch is a better alternative to a dog door or cat flap:
- It’s less expensive.
- It’s easy to install and you can do it yourself.
- It has a lifetime guarantee.
- It’s adjustable to fit most pet sizes.
- Fits any door or window whatever it’s made of and whichever way it opens.
- The installation causes little damage.
- It’s a layer of security that also allows you to keep windows and doors open but locked, to let the fresh air in.
- Dogs and cats are used to using an open window or door so little or no training or luck is required.
That said, these are my thoughts and I’d love to hear and share yours so please write to me at [email protected] or phone me on +27 82 447 2809.
About the Author.
Steve Pearce is now the MD of LockLatch Retail SA and LockLatch International.
Fore more on safety and security: