Contents of Article
- Types of Cat Doors
- Qualities of the Best Cat Doors: What to Look For
- Best Cat Door: Our Top 5 Recommendations
- Overall Best Cat Door: Cat Mate 4-Way Self Lining Door
- Best Electronic Cat Door: SureFlap DualScan Microchip Cat Door
- Best Cat Door for Rental Homes: PetSafe Freedom Aluminum Patio Panel Sliding Glass Dog and Cat Door
- Best Indoor Cat Door: Purrfect Portal Original Interior Cat Door
- Best Cat Door for Windows: OWNPETS Pet Screen Door
- The best cat door combines excellent quality with features that work for your unique feline and home.
The best cat door has security features, durability, and a design that lets your cat go in and out without inviting critters who don’t belong.
Types of Cat Doors
Basic Cat Flaps
The classic cat door has a rigid or flexible flap that flips up at the push of your cat’s head whether he’s headed inside or going out.
The flap is weighted or held in place with a magnet, but these doors are far from secure. They may allow raccoons, feral cats, and other animals to enter your home. And because they’re always open with the boop of a nose, these doors are incapable of keeping your cat inside. This might be okay for barn cats or free roamers, but if you want to keep your cat in the house during a trip or need to capture him for a vet visit, this type of door may give your cat more freedom than you want.
Because they leave your cat and home vulnerable to the outdoors, traditional flaps are best used as a portal to an attached garage or room in the home.
Locking Cat Doors
Most cat doors feature locks that allow you to control the flow of traffic into and out of the home.
The best locking doors have four-way control. This allows you to prevent your cat from leaving the house but allow him to come inside, leave but not go back in, let him do either, or prohibit passage from either direction.
There’s great variety among doors of this type, so study each model closely to understand its limitations.
Open (Interior) Cat Doors
Typically used indoors, these doors have no hinges or flaps. Instead, they’re essentially a way for you to create a safe, attractive cat-sized hole in your home.
These doors are ideal when you want to create a safe space for your cat within the home.
If you want to let your cat enter your bedroom but want to keep your dog out, for example, a small cat door will let the cat in while keeping the dog out—no opening and closing the door necessary. These doors are also a great touch to homemade litter box enclosures.
These doors pair with either a microchip or a paired RFID collar. If your cat gets rowdy outside and loses his RFID collar, he could be locked out of the house. Look for electronic cat doors that detect your cat’s microchip, which he can’t lose.
These doors are a good choice for multiple cat homes. You can program the door to recognize as many or as few cats as you want, so if one cat has to stay inside for safety or health reasons, you can keep her in while letting her brother go out to play. Additionally, the microchip detection feature adds another level of protection against intruders. While some animals can outwit a locked cat door, very few can hack into a house protected by a microchip detector.
But these doors’ technology is as fallible as it is exciting. Electronic cat doors may break down when their batteries run out or for no apparent reason. If this happens when you’re not home, your cat could be locked out for hours or days without food, clean water, or adequate shelter.
Qualities of the Best Cat Doors: What to Look For
Look for cat doors you can trust.
Your cat door should last for years and never lock your cat out unless you want it to.
It’s difficult to evaluate a door’s structural integrity and longevity just by looking at it. Scour customer reviews before you make a decision. In addition to the quality of the door itself, don’t underestimate the value of strong customer service. This is another factor that only customer reviews will tell you about.
Choose a cat door that provides maximum flexibility and security.
If your cat’s door lacks the necessary security features, you could find raccoons, skunks, and unfamiliar felines noshing on your cat’s food in the kitchen.
To ensure that the door lets your cat in and keeps other critters out, look for a door with strong, smart security features. Including a lock isn’t enough on its own—the lock needs to be designed for optimal security and cleverly-designed to outwit a crafty raccoon or cat.
In general, microchip-reading doors offer the best security, but you can get great security out of other types of security mechanisms.
The best cat doors are compatible with your door or window.
Before you choose a cat door, decide where you’ll put it. Measure the area and make sure that the door will fit in the designated area.
Most cat doors can be installed almost anywhere, including glass and metal. You just need to know how to install it or know someone who does. Consult the individual product recommendations to ensure that the cat door you’ve chosen is, indeed, compatible with the door or window in which you’d like to install it.
Choose a door that serves your purposes.
We’ve talked about some universal requirements that apply to every cat door, but ultimately, your needs are unique and the best cat door for you is the one that suits those unique needs. Before you choose your cat door, consider the following:
- Where do I want to use this door? The answer to this question will determine the level of security you need and, to a certain extent, how durable the cat door has to be. Those looking for interior doors may not need locking mechanisms. Those living in an area with cat-sized wildlife will likely want advanced security to keep unwanted animals out.
- Is it important to me that I can monitor my cat’s activity? If so, you might want to try a smart cat door, which connects to your mobile device and sends you notifications when your cat comes and goes.
- Do I want to make sure my cat only goes out at certain times? Again, you may want an advanced door with “curfew” settings that lock your cat inside at night or another part of the day.
Best Cat Door: Our Top 5 Recommendations
The following cat doors are top-rated products with reputations for high quality, durability, and long-lasting performance.
Overall Best Cat Door: Cat Mate 4-Way Self Lining Door
This basic locking cat door is a mid-range unit appropriate for someone who wants a few security features and durable design but isn’t ready to spend the big bucks on a swanky, teched-up cat door.
The door has a four-way locking mechanism that allows you to control travel from every direction—you can lock the door, unlock it, stop incoming traffic, or only let it open outwards. To operate the locking mechanism, you’ll slide the plastic locks from side to side.
The flap itself is made from transparent polymer. It’s lined by a weatherproof brush strip that helps to keep your heating and cooling bills steady. The door is sealed by a magnetic closure that keeps it closed when not in use.
Customer reviews confirm that this is a cat door you can trust. On Chewy, it has primarily positive reviews with 98% of customers saying they’d recommend it. Reviewers praise its functionality and durability. One said that they had an older unit for 19 years and it outlasted the door it was installed in.
- Four-way locking mechanism for security and control
- Sturdy, long-lasting construction
- Doesn’t come with a cutting template for installation
Best Electronic Cat Door: SureFlap DualScan Microchip Cat Door
This electronic cat door has a dual antenna that reads your cats’ microchip when he enters and exits the home. If your cats aren’t microchipped, the door works with an optional SureFlap RFID CollarTag. Regardless of if it’s paired with an RFID tag or microchip, the door can recognize up to 32 pets.
The door operates with four AA batteries, which last for up to a year under what the company calls “normal” use. So that the door won’t unexpectedly die on you, the indicator light starts flashing when the batteries are nearing the end of their lives.
The door is outfitted with a 4-way manual lock, allowing you to toggle between any combination of locked and unlocked. You can let your cat get in but not leave, let your cat leave but not come back inside, lock the door, or leave it completely unlocked. The flap is equipped with a central magnet that holds it in place when not in use.
The door can keep unwanted visitors out and, if you want to keep certain cats confined to the house, can also keep them in as long as you don’t program their microchips. The system isn’t impervious, however—Amazon user MountainMan says that a raccoon once entered his house when his cat was peeking out to investigate the would-be intruder and made the door open with their microchip. Because only the cat could open the door, the raccoon was trapped inside the house. Yikes!
MountainMan’s experience was far from typical. Most users say the DualScan holds fast against raccoons and other invaders. Those worried that the DualScan feature may undermine the security of their cat door might consider the basic SureFlap door, which has a single outdoor scanner and a Raccoon Mode that locks the door when it detects an unidentified animal.
No matter which model you choose, being a SureFlap customer means receiving excellent customer service. Whether happy or unhappy with their purchase, customers agree that the company is attentive, helpful, and dedicated to making things right.
- Dual microchip detection is ideal for multiple cat homes
- Compatible with both microchips and RFID collars
- Four-way locking mechanism for control and security
- Excellent customer service
- Limited battery life means your cat may be locked out unexpectedly
- Batteries are not included
Best Cat Door for Rental Homes: PetSafe Freedom Aluminum Patio Panel Sliding Glass Dog and Cat Door
Installing a cat door is, fundamentally, cutting a hole in your house. Whether you’re a homeowner or a renter, that’s a risky decision. If you’re a renter, it’s virtually out of the question. This door is a saw-free alternative to traditional cat doors and allows you to give your cat free outdoor access without cutting a hole in your door.
This door slides into the frame of your sliding patio door for a removable, easy-to-install alternative to traditional doors.
It’s essentially a long aluminum panel that mimics the look of your doorframe with a basic flexible cat flap at the bottom. The cat flap doesn’t lock, but you can slide down a solid closing panel when you want to keep your cat in—or out.
The flap has a magnetic closure and is lined with a weatherstrip to keep the heat and cold out. This door is available in two sizes and is adjustable to fit the height of your doorframe.
- Easy, no-damage installation
- Comes in white, bronze, and satin to coordinate with your home
- Has a slide-in panel for security
- Lacks dynamic security features
Best Indoor Cat Door: Purrfect Portal Original Interior Cat Door
The other doors on this list are intended for indoor-outdoor cats. This one isn’t. It doesn’t have locks, microchip scanners, or even a flap. It’s a little cat-sized tunnel that gives your cat door-free access to parts of the home that might otherwise require the help of a human doorman.
The Purrfect Portal is popular among people who want to make designated dog-free zones for their cat or who are building a litter box enclosure and want a small, discreet door for their cat.
For around $25, the Purrfect Portal gives you a way to give your cat exclusive access to specific areas of the home with the template, installation instructions, and hardware you need to put the portal in your door, cabinet, or other surface.
Because the Portal only attaches to the bottom of the door, it’s low to the ground and most cats will have to crawl through it, so it’s not comfortable for all cats, especially larger ones.
- Easy to install
- Ideal for indoor use
- The door’s cat head design adds a little charm to the home
- Low to the ground—may be uncomfortable for some cats
Best Cat Door for Windows: OWNPETS Pet Screen Door
This is a simple door for screened windows and doors.
The door has a basic slide lock for when you want to prevent your cat from leaving or coming back inside and a magnetic closure to make sure that it stays closed after your cat walks through.
To attach the door to your screen, you’ll first attach the frame to your screen, then use a knife to remove a piece of screen from within the frame.
The door doesn’t have any advanced locking or security features, so it’s not a good choice for those who are worried about unwanted cats or other intruders using the door.
That said, it’s a standout option as far as screen door cat flaps are concerned. Many other doors rip and fall apart after use, but this one is long-lasting, strong, and functional.
- Perfect for windows and screen doors
- Easy installation
- Sturdy, long-lasting construction
- Lacks advanced security features
The best cat door combines excellent quality with features that work for your unique feline and home.
There’s a world of cat doors out there for every cat and home. You can find doors that, like magic, identify your cat and open only for him, removable doors for rentals, screen doors for windows, and doors made just for interior use. Before you choose a cat door, be sure to seriously consider your priorities to ensure that you make the right choice.