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Installing A Cat Flap

Cat flap article and installation guide diy fitting instructions

Installing a cat flap in your home

Q.I have recently ‘inherited’ a cat and would like to install a cat flap for it in our wooden front door. Can you tell me how to go about it and point out any general considerations before I start?

 Fitting a cat flap may seem like a daunting task to most of us but it can be quite simple if you follow some basic instructions. However, before we get to the DIY bit, there are a couple of things to take into account.

  • Do you have an alarm fitted? If so you may well need to consider adjust the sensors at the front door to allow for this new traffic – cats and alarms can often be at odds with each others.
  • Are you prepared to welcome strange cats into your home? For many the thought of coming home to meet not just your own cat but some uninvited feline guests can be a nightmare scenario. If you install a cat flap then there is nothing to say that other cats won’t use it. For this reason you might want to consider a ‘magnetic’ cat flap that only allows access to your cat which is fitted with a unique collar tag that is required for the cat flap to open.
  • Where is the best place to fit the cat flap? Consider environmental and access factors to ensure that it works well for both the cat and its owners!
    For fitting the cat flap you will need the a cat flap kit (complete with fixings and a template), a drill with flat wood drill bits, a jig saw, pencil, spirit level, masking tape, tape measure and safety goggles. Your cat flap kit will come with fitting instructions that can guide you through the process. Always make sure that the cat flap can accommodate the thickness of your door – wooden, uPVC or otherwise.

    To get started you will need to take some basic measurements. First off hold your cat (presuming it is fully grown) up to the door and measure the distance from the floor to the underside of its belly – normally around 6 to 6 inches. This will be the height at which you install the base of the cat flap. Mark this height in 2 places on the door from its base. If you want the cat flap installed in the middle of the door use your tape measure to find the center of the door between the previous marks, mark it with an ‘X’ and draw a line between all 3 points. A word to the wise here however – if you have a panelled door then you are best off installing the flap in the middle of a bottom panel.

    Now use the paper template sheet that came with the cat flap kit to show you where to drill. You will use the center ‘X’ as a marker for positioning the template in accordance with its instructions and stick it to the door with masking tape – making sure that your measurements are correct. Now, using an appropriate sized drill bit, drill holes in the door in accordance with your template. Using a pencil and spirit level join up these holes to give you the outline of the cat flap in the door. Use this outline to saw out the hole for the cat flap – wearing your safety goggles and following safety rules at all times. You will then need to sand down the cut opening to ensure a smooth finish. You are no ready to test the cat flap – place it against the hole, making sure that there is a tight fit and that the flap moves in and out with ease. Complete the fit out in accordance with its fitting instructions.

    Finally you will just need to ensure that your cats get familiar with the flap and use it accordingly – that bit I can’t help you with!

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