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Pet Door for the Outdoor Cats

July 31st, 2010

I figured it was about time for an update on Miss Mama and Little Softie, as we call the two outdoor cats. They don’t have official names, just these nicknames. Ever since Miss Mama showed up with her little ones so long ago, we started leaving the garage door slightly up so she could come and go as she pleased. We keep some food and water in the garage for her and the kitten and we also feed her on the front porch in the mornings. We’ve been wanting to put a pet door in the garage for the cats, then they can come and go as they please and we don’t have the leave the garage door partially up. We finally got around to checking this project off our list this past week.

We decided to put the pet door under the rain barrels, then it would be protected from the weather. We though that putting it a little higher off the ground might help discourage other unwanted animals from venturing into the garage. At the moment we have 2 bales of peat moss pushed up against it to create a little table for them to use, but when they’re used to it we’ll put a little platform that they can jump up to (like the one inside above). We’re lucky that the outdoor cats are small, so we bought the smallest pet door we can find, that means an adult raccoon or skunk will not be able to get through it.

I wasn’t sure exactly how to train the cats to use it, since they’re outdoor cats. But Miss Mama was lured through with food, and Little Softie discovered by herself. Being a kitten, she thinks it’s great fun to go through it. At the moment we have the door propped open until they get used to using it, then we’ll close the door and they’ll have to learn to push through it.

This looks like it’s going to be a wonderful solution for our garage cats! I always thought pet doors were interesting, but this is the first one we’ve ever had. It’s quite nice knowing the cats will be able come and go through it whenever they want to.

Have you ever had a pet door or wanted one?

24 Comments to “Pet Door for the Outdoor Cats”
  1. Trish on July 31, 2010 at 8:08 am

    My outdoor cat became an indoor/outdoor cat as it learned to use the door we installed for the dogs. He had a friend, a wild tom we nicknamed Toonsis, after the saturday night live driving cat. One night I awoke to see that our cat had brought Toonsis inside. They were standing at the top of the stairs, but quickly exited when I spoke. That was the only time (that I know of) that Toonsis came inside.

    Reply to Trish's comment

  2. Wenchypoo on July 31, 2010 at 8:09 am

    I had one in Texas for my 4 cats…and 1 lost raccoon. This is the downfall of pet doors–assorted hungry critters will follow the cats in looking for food: stray cats, raccoons, possums, you name it. Thank God someone developed the cat door that only opens for YOUR pet via infrared collar tags. The tag triggers the door to open, but the door won’t open if an untagged animal tries to enter.

    You haven’t lived until you’ve had to usher a hissing raccoon out of your kitchen!

    Reply to Wenchypoo's comment

  3. lee on July 31, 2010 at 11:40 am

    Little Softie looks so cute. Looks like she feels right at home. I thought about installing one to my bedroom window but I’m too lazy and clueless about how to do it. Most of my cats are indoor/outdoor cats and they don’t like to stay inside the whole night, so I leave the window open just enough and the cats come and go as they please. Good thing it’s never too cold here, even in winter. One problem with this arrangement is the other animals getting in. It’s never fun to chase the raccoons and opossums out of the house in the middle of the night.

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  4. tj on July 31, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    …Oh that last photo of lil’ Softie looking you is priceless! How cute! :o)

    …Yes, we also have a cat door on our screen porch off the kitchen. We have two cats that are indoor/outdoor cats and when they are outside the cat door gives them a place to come in to get out of the weather or away from dogs and such, and that is where they patiently wait for us to open the door. :o) Altho’ I do have to mention with the cat door being attached right to our home and even up 4 ft. from the ground we still do manage to get the stray cat, possum or raccoon that ends up on our screen porch. We have an old feedbox that sits right below our kitchen window and one night before bedtime I turned on the screen porch light and peeked out the window only to see a raccoon standing on the wooden feedbox peeking right back in at me! lol… It was startling at first and then I laughed because it was just so dadgum cute! :o)

    …Your cats will appreciate that cat door – it’s a nice option to have for pets.

    …Blessings… :o)

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  5. tj on July 31, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    …Oh, and the only reason the possums and raccoons got in was because of a large bush that was near the cat door. We’ve since removed the large bush and planted smaller bushes but even still we once in awhile get a stray cat or two… :o)

    Reply to tj's comment

  6. MAYBELLINE on July 31, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    What great photos.
    I’ve never had a pet door.
    My dogs have been too big (Mastiff and Pyrenees).
    They simply use our doors.

    Reply to MAYBELLINE's comment

    • Susy on July 31, 2010 at 11:02 pm

      That would be a HUGE pet door for dogs that big!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  7. Leesa on July 31, 2010 at 5:34 pm

    I have one in my garage wall also. We used to have one in the door, but bear kept tearing them out and letting their babies come through :) Soo..we built a metal one right into the wall of the garage. Works great :)

    Reply to Leesa's comment

    • Susy on July 31, 2010 at 11:03 pm

      It’s a good thing we don’t have bears here.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  8. pam on July 31, 2010 at 8:41 pm

    Same here. It took weeks to train our cats to use the door, yet possums and neighborhood cats figured it out all by themselves.

    Reply to pam's comment

  9. Joshua on August 1, 2010 at 9:30 am

    The end of our cat door was when Juli started bringing wounded animals in for the new kitten to play with, and then leaving them to crawl behind an appliance to die. The second time we had to clean up a maggotty mouse corpse, we shut the cat door and never looked back. Now we are at her beck and call to open the front door instead.

    Reply to Joshua's comment

    • Susy on August 1, 2010 at 9:49 am

      Oh yes, Miss Mama brings small animals in for Little Softie. I think it’s the way she teachers her to hunt and kill. Most of the time they eat them thought and I’ve only had to clean a few leftover bits and pieces out of the garage (and the garage isn’t attached to the house, which is a huge plus).

      Reply to Susy's comment

      • Joshua on August 1, 2010 at 11:23 am

        I think that was the intent, but it never seemed to actually pan out. Juli is a fearsome hunter, but she doesn’t really seem motivated to actually eat what she catches. Up until we got Basement Cat (the kitten), she would bring in dead things and leave them laying around, which was not a problem every once in a while, but after we got B.C., she started bringing in live things, probably to teach B.C. to hunt. The live things inevitably escaped and a few days later, we would notice “that” smell. You know, the one that means something dead is nearby and has been for long enough to get good and disgusting? Ugh.

        to Joshua's comment

  10. Marty Kilroy on August 1, 2010 at 10:36 am

    When I bought my house, the first thing I did was have a pet door installed in my back door for my lab, Charlie. He was a puppy at the time and it made house training incredibly easy. It has a lock which is triggered by a charm on his collar so nothing else can get through. I don’t know how people with inside pets do without pet doors.

    Reply to Marty Kilroy's comment

  11. Aubrey on August 1, 2010 at 11:35 pm

    we have always had a cat door, but our cats are indoor cats only… so we put a pet door on the mud room bathroom so that they can access food and water without the dog bothering them. (and little kids who like to eat cat food and….. ick, litter!)
    we have had a possum in the garage just from leaving it open one day doing chores. my husband went to take a bundle of clothes to goodwill a WEEK latter and a possum had taken up residence in said pile!! That thing could hiss like nothing else! ;-)

    Reply to Aubrey's comment

  12. melissa on August 2, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    I have one going to my attached garage. It was the most brilliant move ever as it allowed me to put the litterboxes in there.

    Reply to melissa's comment

  13. Sheryl at Providence Acres Farm on August 4, 2010 at 6:20 am

    I had one in the laundry room window for our two cats once. it worked really well. That’s one cute kitten you’ve got there! I have a black one too, with a few white spots. We call him “Shadow”. I thought that was a great name for a black cat.

    Reply to Sheryl at Providence Acres Farm's comment

  14. Jaspenelle on August 4, 2010 at 12:03 pm

    Oh my goodness, that last picture! Such a sweet little face.

    We have never had a need for a pet door as we have indoor cats but I do think it is a very clever idea for your garage cats.

    Reply to Jaspenelle's comment

  15. the inadvertent farme on August 4, 2010 at 5:31 pm

    Not sure the camel would fit through one…

    Reply to the inadvertent farme's comment

  16. Ida Agerskov on January 16, 2011 at 9:06 am

    We have an electronic one that reads a chip our vet chipped our cats with, I love that thing, It means that we aren’t feeding everybody’s cats like we did with our last cat door, and the toms can’t come in and pee xD

    Reply to Ida Agerskov's comment

    • Susy on January 16, 2011 at 9:52 am

      Interesting, I don’t think I’d want to get my pets chipped though.

      Reply to Susy's comment

    • Pattie Webster on March 25, 2012 at 2:06 am

      Can you tell me how to get the electronic cat door. who makes it and where to purchase. This sounds exactly what I need.

      Reply to Pattie Webster's comment

  17. letta mego on December 21, 2012 at 8:49 pm

    A cat seems to have adopted me…I feed and water him…..I don’t want to let it have the run of the house ..and deal with the cat box etc,…..Still, I hate leaving him out in the cold. Thought I might put a cat door in the laundry door..ando have a big box so the cat would be able to be protected from the weather but not run around the laundry room. Wouldn’t that work?

    Reply to letta mego's comment

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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