Cat doors are a popular solution for pet owners looking to provide their feline with free passage from the indoors to the outdoors—and back again. Usually sized smaller than a standard-size dog door, these openings are generally equipped with a frame and flap that cats can easily fit through. Even for indoor-only cats, an installed cat door can be a great solution for giving your kitty access to rooms where the door is frequently closed.
Finding the right cat door starts with taking your cat's measurements. Cat doors come in varying sizes, so it's important to look for an option that will easily accommodate the size of the largest cat using the door.
Keep in mind that most cat doors designed for use on exterior doors can also be used on interior doors, but the opposite isn't always true. You also will want to decide what type of locking mechanism you need on your cat door in order to protect your pet, and also to prevent strange animals from wandering into your home!
Here, the best cat doors to give your feline the freedom to roam.
Ideal Pet Products Cat Flap Door
This cat door from Ideal Pet Products takes the number one spot for its simplicity, locking mechanisms, and price tag.
Although it’s a more basic model, this cat door can be used on both interior and exterior doors, and has a four-way locking mechanism: in only, out only, open or locked closed. It also has a magnetic, self-closing flap to keep unwanted pests (including stray cats!) out of your home.
Made with super durable Lexan polycarbonate, this cat door will hold up against everyday use and harsher weather conditions. Plus, it’s easy to install—the frame mounts to any standard interior or exterior door with screws.
This cat door’s flap is 6.25” by 6.25” and is ideal for cats 12 pounds and under. Some cat owners, however, share that their larger cats are able to use the door easily.
Lufei 4-Way Locking Cat Door
If you’re on a stricter budget—or just want a no-frills cat door to install—check out this option from MOOST.
Installation is easy for pet parents: It can be installed on any interior or exterior door, and comes with detailed instructions, a wood cutting template and all of the hardware necessary for installation. Meanwhile, its high-impact plastic frame and hard flap makes it easy for pets to go indoors and outdoors. Keep pests or other animals out of your home by engaging the four-way locking mechanism; you can choose to lock this cat door as in-only, out-only, both in-and-out or locked closed to suit your cat’s needs.
The flap opening measures 7.5” wide by 7.9” high, so it can work well for cats of all sizes and small dogs that weigh 15 pounds or less.
Cat Mate Electromagnetic Cat Flap
If you install a cat door, strays can be an issue; using a magnetic cat door, however, can prevent unwanted guests from entering your house.
Cat Mate’s Electromagnetic Cat Flap sounds complex, but it’s actually simple to use: Your cat wears a small magnet on her collar, which doubles as an identification tag. A super sensitive circuit in the cat flap allows instant access when exposed to the magnet on her collar. Its four-way locking system allows any animal to exit, but requires the magnet to re-enter. Give your cat the freedom to come and go as she pleases, while avoiding pests or strays in your home.
The manufacturer has some recommendations for using this product: First, the magnet should be attached directly to your cat’s collar with the paw print symbol facing forward. Then, ensure the four-way lock is fully seated in the correct position for use.
SureFlap Microchip Cat Flap
Looking for a more high-tech option? Check out SureFlap’s MicroChip Cat Flap. Although it’s the most expensive cat door on our list, it’ll ensure your cat safe entry and exit while preventing pests or strays from entering your home. Rather than attaching a magnet or other access tool to your cat’s collar, this door works with your cat’s existing microchip.
Here’s how it works: First, press the “program” button on the top of the door and push your cat through the tunnel. The door will read your cat’s existing microchip and download the information. Next time your cat tries to pass through the door, it’ll allow access based on the recorded microchip data. It’s compatible with 9-, 10- and 15-digit microchips and can remember up to 32(!) different cats.
This cat door measures 8.2” by 8.2”, so it’ll work for small to large cats, and it can be mounted on interior or exterior doors, windows and walls with the correct mounting accessories.
Ani Mate Cat Mate Large Cat Door
Specially developed for large cats or small dogs, Cat Mate’s Large Cat Door measures a whopping 8.25” by 9”. It’s ideal for any sized cat and small dogs with a shoulder height of 13” or less.
This cat door can be installed on any interior or exterior door, panel or wall with the simple, do-it-yourself instructions and template provided. It’s outfitted with a rain-proof external frame seal, as well as a weather-proof seal with a magnetic closure to keep the elements out of your house.
Real-life customers love this cat door. They tout it for its easy installation, durability and function.
Best Interior Cat Door
The Kitty Pass Interior Cat Door
Not only is Kitty Pass’s Interior Cat Door cute (look at the little ears!), but it’s the easiest way to let your cat access closed interior doors, too. If you want to hide your cat’s litter box or food, or are tired of listening to her scratch your bedroom door at night, consider installing this pick.
The Kitty Pass is designed to fit all standard doors from 1.25” to 1.75” thick and doesn’t require unsightly screws or hardware to install. Although this cat door is finished in semi-gloss white, you can repaint it to better fit your home’s color palette.
The tunnel is 7.5” wide and 6.5” tall, so it can be used by most cats, but the manufacturer recommends it for cats weighing 20 pounds or less. Plus, the opening is made with super smooth plastic, so your cat’s fur or tail won’t snag.
CATHOLE Original CatHole Interior Pet Door
CatHole’s Original Interior Pet Door can also be used to hide a litter box or cat food behind interior doors or walls, but comes with an added feature: It has a removable grooming brush to dust dirt and litter off your cat as he passes through the tunnel. That means no more loose litter tracked around your house.
Made of Baltic Birch wood (so you can paint it to match your home’s décor) this interior cat door is super easy to install with the included instructions and wood cutting template.
This cat door is 8.5” wide by 8.5” tall, and is recommended for cats weighing 20 pounds or less. Heads up: Some customers said their 20 pounds cats struggled to get through this door, so it may be best for slightly smaller cats.
Our top choice for a cat door is Ideal Pet Products Cat Flap Door (view at Amazon). This option is easy to install, whether you plan to use it on an interior or exterior door. It has a polycarbonate flap and a four-way locking mechanism, which is a must-have feature for many cat owners. For a more basic option, go with the Lufei 4-Way Locking Cat Door (view at Amazon). This budget cat door costs less and the locking mechanism may be trickier to use, but it can still be installed on any standard interior or exterior door.
What to Look for in a Cat Door
Look for a cat door that is plenty large enough to allow your cat to enter and exit freely. Review the opening dimensions of any door you are considering, along with the recommended weight range for cats using the door. A good rule of thumb is to measure the widest part of your cat, along with the distance from the bottom of your cat's stomach to its shoulders. Add two inches to both of these measurements to find the ideal width and height of a cat door.
Some cat doors are designed to be installed on any type of door, including interior, exterior, hollow core, and solid doors. Typically, cat doors for exterior doors will include a flap to seal the opening created by the cat door. When selecting a cat door for interior use, you'll see that most versions are open passages with no flap. Some of these cat doors feature a frame that can be easily stained or painted to match your interior door. In addition, some cat doors can also be installed on a wall to give your kitty a quick passageway from one room to another.
A cat door is designed to provide easy access for your feline, but there may be occasions when you want to limit access. For this reason, many cat doors feature a locking mechanism. The most simple version is usually a plastic piece that slides down and prevents the flap from opening. However, a more advanced four-way locking mechanism provides greater control. With this type of locking system, the cat door can be set for your cat to enter only, exit only, enter and exit, or allow no access. The most advanced locking mechanisms on cat doors use a magnet on your pet's collar to allow the flap to open or use a chip-reader to recognize your cat's unique microchip before opening.
How do I install a cat door?
Most cat doors include a template for installation. Along with the template, you'll need the following materials:
- Drill with 3/8-inch or 1/2-inch drill bit
- Jig saw
- Measuring tape
- Start by measuring the distance from the bottom of your cat's stomach to the floor. This is approximately how many inches you should place the bottom of the cat door from the floor.
- Remove the door from its hinges and set it on two sawhorses.
- Place the template on the door, using the measurement from Step 1 to determine where the bottom of the cat door should be positioned. Keep in mind that the opening you cut should be at least 3 inches from any edge of the door.
- Trace around the template with a pencil and/or use tape to keep the template in place.
- Using the drill, make a hole in each corner of the template. Keep in mind that if you have a metal door (common for exterior doors) you'll need to use a drill bit specifically designed for this material.
- Starting in one hole, use the jig saw to make a straight cut from one corner to the next, following the template as closely as possible. Repeat until you have cut out the opening for the cat door. (Similar to the drill bit, be sure to use a jig saw blade intended for use on metal if cutting a metal door)
- Finally, if you're using a self-framing cat door, insert the interior and exterior sides of the cat door frame. Attach using the included hardware, according to the instructions. If you're not using a self-framing door, you'll need to cut four pieces of wood to match the dimensions of your door, attach them to make a frame, and install this before the cat door can be installed.
Where should I put my cat door?
Install a cat door in a place that will give your cat easy access to a location frequently visited. For cats that spend time both indoors and outdoors, a common location for a cat flap is an exterior door. However, a cat door is also useful on interior doors to give your cat quick passage into a room where the litter box or food bowls are located. Many homeowners choose this solution when they set up their cat's litter box or food bowls in a laundry room, bathroom, or bedroom but don't want to keep the door to that room open all of the time.