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If you have an outdoor cat, having a cat flap is a fantastic idea.
It means your cat can come and go as they wish, ensuring that they always have access to water, food, and shelter. They can also escape from your home if they are feeling overwhelmed or stressed. By having one, you also won’t have to be the doorman each time your cat wants to head outside!
However, some people have security concerns when it comes to cat flaps. Other animals can come into your home through the and your cat will easily be able to sneak out at all hours of the day, not ideal if you’re wanting to keep your cat in at night.
Thankfully, there is an easy solution to this: collar-activated cat doors. These are cat flaps that only open when a tag on your cat’s collar or their microchip is nearby. Most also come with manual locks so you can lock the cat flap after a certain time, ensuring your kitty stays safely at home when it’s dark.
Having searched far and wide for a great collar-activated cat door for my feline, I thought I’d share my findings with you. This way, your search for a smart cat door is simple!
My Top Pick
My top choice of product is the PetSafe Microchip Cat Door. This door will only open in response to your cat’s unique microchip ID, and you can program it to open for up to 40 pets! It also has a manual four-way locking system for added control of your cat’s movements. Plus, the design is weatherproof, durable, and has dual latches for added security.
I understand this may not be the product for everyone, but it is the one I use and love! You can find the full review a little further down the page. I’ve also included some other collar-activated cat flap suggestions – some more advanced and others less so – so there’s something to suit everyone.
Best Collar Activated Cat Doors
Now, before I rush ahead and give you my list of top electronic cat flap products, I want to tell you what I based my search on. What qualities was I looking for in a cat door with collar sensor? What made these products stand out from the rest?
- Sensor Type: There are two types of collar-activated cat doors – electromagnetic cat flaps, microchip cat flaps. I prefer microchip cat doors as collar tags can easily get lost, plus microchip cat flaps are more selective. But, I’ll cover both types in this article so you can choose what’s right for you.
- Lockable: I always worry if my cat isn’t in at night, so I wanted a cat flap that I could lock after a certain time so that once my kitty is in for the night she can’t get back out.
- Weather Resistant: The last thing you want is your cat flap swinging open and a cold draft entering your home, or dampness from outside coming in. So, I also searched for a wind-resistant and waterproof product with a tight seal to help increase insulation.
- Easy Installation: I wanted to be able to easily install my cat flap wherever I wanted – be that on a wooden door, PVC door, or even glass and metal – and so wanted a product that made this as easy as possible.
- Durable Material: The material of the cat flap also needed to be durable and long-lasting. It faces the elements every day and will be used consistently by our felines! Strong plastic is typically the best option for cat flaps.
With these five things taken into account, here the best collar-activated cat flaps currently available on the market. I’ve included cat flaps of all shapes, sizes, and budgets, so whatever you’re after, something on this list will have your name written all over it.
1. PetSafe Microchip Cat Door (Best All-Rounder)
The door is highly selective, reading your cat’s unique microchip ID and only opening in response to them. This makes the door amazing at keeping stray animals and your neighbor’s pets out while giving your cat the freedom to come and go as they wish. Got more than one cat? Don’t worry! This smart cat door allows you to program up to 40 different microchip IDs!
I also rate the manual locking system on this cat flap which works four ways; you can set the cat flap to open, closed, in-only, or out-only. This gives you greater control of your cat’s movements and you can ensure they’re safely in for the night. The cat door also has dual security latches, so your cat won’t be able to escape when they’re supposed to be inside!
The design of this cat door also ticks all the boxes. The frame is made from durable plastic designed to last. It also has a weather strip lining the door to protect against the elements and prevent drafts from creeping indoors. Besides, the two magnetic points firmly snap the door shut so little heat escapes from your home.
Lastly, this product can be installed on any type of door – be that wooden, PVC, metal, or glass. However, bear in mind that you will need some additional accessories to install it on a metal or glass door which are sold separately.
- Selective entry and only opens when your cat is nearby
- Allows up to 40 different programmed pets
- Manual four-way locking system
- Dual latches for added security
- Easy installation on all door types
- High quality and durable plastic
- Weatherproof design
- Needs additional accessories for mounting on glass and metal
- If not microchipped, RFID tags must be bought separately
2. SureFlap Microchip Pet Door with Hub (Stay Connected From Anywhere)
If you’re looking for even more control and understanding of your cat’s movements, try the SureFlap Microchip Pet Door with Hub instead. It does come with a heftier price tag, but this is an app-controlled pet door that enables you to track when your cat enters and leaves your home to provide you with greater insight into its life.
From the mobile app, you can also lock and unlock the cat flap. Busy pet parents will also be pleased to hear that you can set the cat flap to lock at certain times in the day. This helps increase the security of your cat flap and have further control over your cat’s movements.
This is also a microchip cat flap and so is highly selective in only letting your cat into your home. You can program up to 32 different microchip IDs, so if you have more than one cat they can all use the same cat flap. Also, if your cat isn’t microchipped then don’t worry – the cat flap also works with unique RFID tags that you can attach to your cat’s collar, but these have to be bought separately.
As the cat flap will only open when your cat’s microchip is nearby, it effectively prevents unwanted animals from entering your home. This product takes that a step further though with its “intruder mode”. In this setting, the cat flap will automatically lock if it feels a non-microchipped animal trying to enter, adding additional protection.
Other benefits include its size which is large enough for big breeds, its high-quality material designed to last, and its simple one-button programming. It also has a handy low battery indicator so you know when it’s time to change the batteries, and comes with a three-year warranty.
- Selective entry specific to your cat’s microchip ID
- Can learn up to 32 unique microchip identities
- Smart pet door with app to monitor your cat’s behavior
- Ability to lock and unlock the door remotely
- Microchip cat flap for large cats
- Low battery indicator light for when the battery level is low
- Comes with a three-year warranty
- Intruder mode to prevent clever animals from breaking in
- Most expensive microchip cat flap
- If not microchipped, RFID tags must be bought separately
3. Cat Mate Microchip Cat Flap (Budget Microchip Cat Flap)
As with my top two products, and as the name suggests, this cat flap is highly selective and only opens in response to your cat’s unique microchip ID or RFID collar tag. This keeps stray pets and wildlife safely out of your home while giving your felines the freedom to come and go as they wish.
Programming your cat’s microchip to work with the cat flap is also straightforward and done with the touch of a button. You’ll know the microchip has been properly registered once the LED light flashes. This product also allows for you to program up to 30 different microchips or RFID collar tags, ideal for anyone with more than one cat.
There is also the overriding four-way manual lock that gives you even more controlled entry and exit, ideal if you’re wanting to keep your cat’s inside for the night, for example. This pet door can also be fitted to many different materials up to 85mm thick, but liners will need to be purchased if mounting on glass. Besides, it also has a sturdy and weatherproof design.
- Easily connects with up to 30 unique microchip IDs
- Selective entry to keep unwanted visitors out
- Four-way manual lock for added control
- Sturdy and weatherproof design
- Can be mounted to many different door types
- Needs additional liners for mounting on glass
- If not microchipped, RFID tag must be bought separately
4. PetSafe Magnetic Key 4-Way Locking Cat Door (Best Electromagnetic Design)
If your cat isn’t microchipped, another great solution is to get a collar-activated cat door that works using magnets, such as the PetSafe Magnetic Key 4-Way Locking Cat Door. This is known as an electromagnetic cat flap, and you simply attach a small magnet to your cat’s collar which, when they are close enough, causes the cat flap door to unlock and let them through. This is a great and affordable way to keep stray animals coming into your home. No magnet collar tag, no luck!
However, unlike microchip cat doors which only open in response to your cat’s specific microchip ID, electromagnetic cat flaps are not selective to your cat’s specific magnet – any old one will do the trick. This means they aren’t as effective at keeping your neighbor’s cats out, as if your neighbor has a similar cat flap both your cats will be able to use the others’ cat door.
A great feature of this cat flap though is the four-way locking mechanism. There is a little red dial that you can turn to block entry in, out, both, or you can have the cat door completely open. This gives you complete control of your cat’s access to the outside.
The quality of the material this cat flap is made from is also fantastic. The flap itself is made from hard plastic rather than floppy material, which is easier for your cat to use and provides more effective protection against drafts. This is further helped by the separate U-shaped flap which protects against bad weather and wind.
- More affordable than microchip cat flaps
- Effectively keeps out stray animals
- Four-way locking system for controlling your cat’s access
- Durable plastic material
- Weatherproof and wind-resistant smart design
- Works with an unlimited number of magnets so great for multicat households
- Large enough for cats weighing up to 15lbs
- Will let any cat with a magnetic collar through
- Collar tag could get lost
- Magnet only required one way
5. Perfect Pet E-Cat Electromagnetic Pet Door (Best for Large Cats)
For anyone with a large breed of cat such as a Maine Coon or Persian, the Perfect Pet E-Cat Electromagnetic Pet Door is a wonderful product. In fact, this pet door is so large that it can happily fit cats weighing up to 25lbs and small dogs!
This is another electromagnetic cat flap, which works using magnetic collar tags to unlock the door when your cat is nearby. The product comes with one collar tag, but you can purchase more separately if you have multiple kitties, and there is no limit to the number you can have.
Unfortunately, this does mean you may still end up with other cats also wearing magnetic collars in your home, but it does a great job at keeping most animals at bay. My sister uses this cat flap for her two Tabbies and has never had any unwelcome guests in her home since!
It is worth noting that the locking mechanism is also only uni-directional, meaning any animal can get out but they will need to magnet collar tag to get back in. While this is fine for most owners, people who have small dogs should be aware of this as the cat flap is large. Otherwise, your dog may get outside without you realizing it and be unable to get back in!
To finish on a positive note, the design is weatherproof and effectively keeps drafts out if used on an external door. It also has a four-way locking system so you can block access in or out at specific times, even if your cat is wearing the collar. This gives better control and security.
- Large cat flap suitable for big breeds and small dogs
- Electromagnetic collar ID tag to control locking mechanism
- Multiple tags can be bought, great for multi-cat households
- Weatherproof design and keeps drafts out
- Four-way locking system for increased security
- Magnet only required for entry into your home
- Collar tag could easily get lost
- Will open in response to any magnet
6. Cat Mate Electromagnetic Cat Flap (Ultra-Quiet Cat Flap)
Are you fed up with your cat flap loudly banging closed every time your cat enters or leaves your home? While no cat flap will be completely silent, the Cat Mate Electromagnetic Cat Flap does a good job. With its brush seal, this softens the noise and provides a cushion for the swinging door while also effectively protecting against harsh weather and wind.
As you can probably guess from the name, this is another electromagnetic design and so does a great job at keeping stray animals out, but is not as selective as microchip or RFID collar tag cat flaps, which only open in response to your registered pets. However, depending on your purpose for getting a collar-activated cat flap, it could provide the solution you need.
As with the other products on this list, it also has a locking mechanism so that you can control your cat’s movements. You can lock them safely inside for the night, or, if your cats haven’t come back in before bedtime, set the door to in-only so once they come back they can’t go off exploring again.
Also, this product can fit on both interior and exterior doors made from any material, and installation is easy. The cat flap will also fit medium cats weighing up to 15lbs, but they have versions designed for dogs which are a great option if you have a bigger cat.
- Brush lining for quiet operation
- Weatherproof and wind resistant
- More affordable than microchip cat flaps
- Effectively keeps stray animals out of your home
- Suitable size for cats weighing up to 15lbs
- Larger “dog” versions also available for bigger breeds
- Four-way locking system to control your cat’s movements
- Magnet only required to enter your home
- Opens in response to any magnet
- Collars can easily get lost
7. TRIXIE Pet Electromagnetic 4-Way Locking Door (Best Budget Buy)
This cat flap works via an electromagnetic sensor that senses when the magnetic tag you attach to your cat’s collar is nearby. One of the benefits of using a magnet as a sensor is that the cat door will work for an unlimited number of cats. If you have more than one feline, you can give them both their own collar.
The downside of this is that if any of your neighbors have an electromagnetic cat flap, their cats will also be able to use yours! However, it still offers an extremely affordable solution to keeping other wildlife and stray animals out of your home.
One thing I do love about this product though is the four-way locking mechanism. You can manually choose between having the cat flap open, closed, in-only, or out-only. Besides, the cat flap has a tunnel element to help it better fit any thickness or door and is large enough for cats weighing up to 15lbs.
- Effectively opens in response to your cat
- Works with an unlimited number of cats, great for multi-cat households
- Four-way locking system for security
- Comes with a tunnel element to fit most doors
- Large enough for cats weighing up to 15lbs
- Will open in response to any magnet
- Magnetic identification tag can easily be lost
- Magnet is only required for entry into your home
Collar-Activated Cat Door Buying Guide
With a range of different sensor cat doors on the market, it can be difficult to know which one is right for you. Thankfully, I’ve written this handy buying guide so that you know just what to look for before buying and how to select the product that’s right for you.
Type of Sensor
First thing is first, you need to narrow down the type of cat flaps by deciding what type of sensor works best for you. Collar-activated cat doors is a huge umbrella of products that can be further narrowed down into two categories: microchip cat flaps and electromagnetic cat flaps:
- Microchip: These are the most selective of all the electronic cat flaps as they only open in response to your cat’s unique microchip ID number. Your cat cannot also accidentally lose their microchip, which could happen with a collar tag. However, they are the most expensive option. Microchip technology is used in other cat products, such as a cat feeder with a collar sensor. Another issue arises if your cat isn’t microchipped, but thankfully you can buy an RFID collar tag instead and the cat flap will work in the same way. But the collar tags can get lost.
- Electromagnetic: The most basic and in-expensive electronic cat flaps are electromagnetic. These open when a magnet is nearby, triggering the locking mechanism to unlock. However, as the key is a magnet, they are not as selective as the other types of electric cat flap and any animal with a magnet collar tag can get the door to open. As with RFID collar tags, they can also get lost and you may need to purchase replacements.
In my opinion, a cat door that reads microchips is superior and worth the money, but you may not need a cat door with a microchip sensor. If you don’t have a particularly active cat, they will be unlikely to lose a collar tag. Besides, electromagnetic cat doors may suffice if you don’t have an issue with neighbors’ cats coming in, but rather want stray animals to stay out.
It’s great that only your cat can enter and exit your home, but what if you want to limit when they can do this? This is where a manual locking system comes into place, which can control when your cat flap is open, closed, only allows your cat in, or only allows them out. Similar to how an automatic wet cat food feeder only gives your cat access to food at certain times, a manual lock on a cat flap only gives them access to the outside at certain times.
For example, changing the lock to “in-only” for the night ensures your cat can get back in at any time and you won’t need to worry about calling them in before bed, but once they come in they won’t be able to leave again until the morning. If your cats are all in before bed, you can have the cat flap completely locked to ensure they don’t go out, and nothing else sneaks in!
Most cat flaps have manual dials that you can twist to prevent the door from opening one or both ways. However, there is also the option to purchase products that have built-in timers which will automatically lock the cat flap at a set time. If you’re forgetful or traveling often, the latter is a worthwhile investment.
Material of Your Door
You also need to consider the material of the door that you will be installing the cat flap onto. Do you have a wooden door, metal, or PVC door? Alternatively, you may want to install your cat flap on sliding glass doors or a window.
Of these materials, wooden doors are the most straightforward to mount a cat flap on. However, one of the benefits of cat flaps is that they can be installed wherever you like, you may just need the help of a professional! Be sure to check the product can be installed on the material you want before purchasing. You may need to buy additional lining for fixing onto glass and metal.
Also, bear in mind that thicker doors may require an extension tunnel so that the cat flap stretched through the whole door. Again, these are usually sold separately.
Material of the Cat Flap
You should also consider the material the cat flap is made from. You want it to be made from durable plastic so that it stands the test of time. If the door of your cat flap cracks, you’ll likely have to replace the whole thing! So, durability is key. Any material that has been treated with UV rays tends to be more long-lasting and will look newer for longer.
All the cat flaps I have recommended in this article are also white with clear doors. This is typical for a cat door, but you can purchase cat flaps in a range of colors. If you are after a specific colored material, keep this in mind when purchasing.
Size of the Opening
The size of the cat flap opening is another key consideration, especially if you have a large cat. You will need it to be big enough for them to use comfortably. Otherwise, they may not use the cat door if it causes discomfort, which will be a waste of your money and won’t solve the issue of letting your cat come and go and she wishes.
As a general rule of thumb, small cats can get away with a 5.5-inch tall cat flap, whereas larger breeds need one around 6.5 or 7 inches tall. Also, when installing, ensure the position of your cat flap is no higher than an inch or two above their back.
Anyone with small dogs should also be cautious of using a cat flap that is too large. If your dog can fit through the cat flap, they may end up escaping! Thankfully, the collar sensor or microchip detector should prevent this from being an issue, but try to avoid uni-directional electromagnetic cat doors if you have a small dog as these products won’t.
Finally, you should decide whether you need a weatherproof design or not. The great thing about collar-activated cat doors is that they will automatically more draft-proof than traditional cat flaps as they won’t swing open following a large gust of wind.
If you are getting a cat flap to mount on any exterior door, I would highly recommend getting one more specifically designed to withstand the elements. Look for doors with sealings that further limit drafts from creeping in through the cracks. This sealing will also help keep water out when it’s raining. However, if you are getting a cat flap to use inside your home, this feature is less essential.
Q: Should I get a collar-activated cat flap?
A: In my opinion, yes! They prevent any unwanted animals from using your cat flap to gain entry to your home and ensure that the door opens only for your pet. These cat flaps also offer higher security, helping to prevent burglars from gaining access to your home.
Q: How big does a cat flap need to be?
A: The size of your cat flap you need completely depends on the size of your cat. Small cats will be happy with a cat flap that has an opening of around 4.5 inches by 5.5 inches. However, large breeds will want something closer to 6.5-7 inches.
Q: How do I stop other cats coming through my cat flap?
A: You can stop other cats coming through your cat flap by purchasing a collar-activated cat flap. Microchip or RFID sensor cat flaps are the best as they will only open in response to your cat, whereas an electromagnetic cat flap will open if your neighbors’ cats also have magnets attached to their collars.
Q: How do I get my cat to use their cat flap?
A: I recommend using treats to encourage your cat to use their cat flap and pass through the door and showing them that it pushes both ways. Each time they get it right, reward them and they’ll get used to using it in no time at all.
Q: Are cat flaps easy to fit?
A: Fitting a cat flap on a wooden door is relatively straightforward. You simply need to cut a hole in the door that is the right size and install the cat door in the hole. However, for doors made from materials such as glass or metal, it’s best to contact a professional who can cut and install the cat flap for you.
Q: How high off the ground should I install a cat flap?
A: Your cat needs to easily be able to get in and out of the cat flap, so it is recommended you install it around 6 inches from the ground and no higher than an inch or two above your pet’s back. This will ensure they can use it with ease.
MY FINAL THOUGHTS
A cat door is a great addition for any cat that lives indoors and outdoors. Your cat can come and go as they wish, giving them added freedom and a happier life. Besides, your cat won’t be relying on you to open and close the door behind them, giving you time back into your day. However, other animals – including stray cats, your neighbors’ pets, and other wildlife – can also sneak into your home!
Collar-activated cat doors solve this problem, meaning your cat and your cat only can enter your home. Having reviewed a range of different products, there should be something on this list for everyone. Make your and your cat’s life easier and try one out today!