Cat doors can be fixed anywhere.
Perhaps you need one in your closet door, garage room door, or laundry room door to help the cat have access to their litter box or foodOr probably you have an indoor pet and need them inside your bedroom door to let them get inside without opening and closing the door frequently.
Here’s how to install a cat door with an easy DIY framing technique.
What to do before you start the installation
- Measure Your Cat
Never buy a cat door without measuring the pet, or else, you’ll end up with a flap that’s too tiny for the cat. And if you buy a big door than your cat, you might end up opening an invitation to huge stray dogs and cats inside your house.
So, the best thing to do is measuring the size of your cat. With that, whether you own small or large cats, you’ll end up getting the perfect size door for the cat.
Measure the cat from the shoulder to the feet, and apart from the cat’s height, you can also gauge other things like the length between the head and underbellies and the width before you start installing the cat door.
Use a cardboard cutout while taking the dimensions you think will work out for your pet.
Note that a larger pet door won’t place you in any problems when the cat grows bigger as it ages and this will help you save money that you could have used in installing another door.
Also, incorrect measurements will make the cat stick on the door frequently.
- The Door
Once done with the measurements, now buy the door. There is a wide range of pet doors like the single-flapped, double-flapped, frameless, and self-framed. Additionally, you can get an interior door with the pet door, an exterior door, and a cat door for interior walls.
But the trick behind selecting the best door is focusing on:
- The thickness of the doors
- The pet measurements
Many interior doors are designed with hollow cores, and that’s why it’s better to purchase a self-frame door. They will not only lower the installation process but also prevent the hollow door core from water and weather damage. Also, they give the DIY task a neater and smoother finish.
- The Location
After buying the door, now your remaining task is to find a place where you want to install the cat door. Fix one cat door on your house’s main door, and when you feel somehow generous, you can also fix cat doors for inner house doors that lead to the rooms that your cat frequently visits.
This gives your cat an easy time while accessing the outside and inside of the house.
Step-by-Step cat door installation Guide
Choose a Position
Begin by marking the exact point where you want the door to be installed using a ruler and a pencil. As you do this, ensure that the marking you are drawing is properly leveled as the pet door will be located approximately 10 inches above the floor.
The good news is pet door kits come with an included template that helps you come up with borders. And before you begin the construction, ensure you remove the door from the hinges.
The next thing to do is placing masking tape on the template corners that you drew, after that, drill four holes on each pattern edge that will work as an access point for the jigsaw.
This is the trickiest part! But don’t worry. Simply place the jigsaw on one side of the drill holes then gently cut it depending on the template line that you had marked. The template helps you cut the right opening when fixing the door.
If you bought a self-framing door, then you are lucky because all you’ll have to do is attaching the door to correctly position the cat door on the hole that you just constructed. Make sure you secure both door sides using screws.
But if you have a hollow core door and bought a frameless door, you’ll still have some problem. You can’t install the cat door without having a frame. So here’s what to do:
Just frame it personally!
- Take the measurements of the interior dimension of the cat door hole that you had constructed.
- After that, construct four wooden planks that go handy with the calculations.
- Smear glue on the planks to come up with a framework
- Clamp the planks then give it time to dry.
- Finally, fix it on the hollow wooden door and make sure that the constructed frame matches properly with the hole.
Once done, now attach the cat’s door.
Immediately you finish installing the cat’s door, now train the pet to use it. It can take some time, and a few attempts to make the pet used to the door, but never worry! Immediately the cat gets used to the DIY constructed door; it will be getting in and out of it like a pro!
How to Install a Cat Door on a Metal Door
Simply because your door is metallic doesn’t mean you can’t fix a cat door on it. With some patience and the right tools, your cat can go in and out of its own.
- Painter’s tape
- Measuring tape
- Four tiny hand clamps
- Automatic center punch
- Metal cutting blades and jigsaw
- Measure The Cat’s Shoulder Height
You will position the cat’s door to make it easy for the cat to get in and exit freely. To do that, measure the cat to the shoulder area then record the measurement. This is easy to accomplish using some extra love and a handful of treats.
- Remove Door Then Place It On Sawhorses.
In case the door is shut, remove the pins that hold the hinges together using a small screwdriver and a hammer. Begin with the lower pin then move to the top. Immediately you are done with all the pins, open the door carefully then lift all the hinges.
If the door is a bit cumbersome, invite a friend to help you. Place the door flat on strong sawhorses then place the door so that the position of the cat door is clear from the sawhorses and its inner part is facing upwards.
- Arrange the new opening
Every pet door brand is quite different from the other. Make sure that the one you choose is perfect for your application but never forget about the manufacturer’s installation instructions.
The cat’s door should be located approximately three inches above the floor and centered at the center of the door. Following the door’s instructions, use a straight edge and a pencil to form all the cut lines that you’ll use on the door.
Remember to double-check your measurements, and immediately you begin the cutting process, no turning back. So be sure to take your time and come up with accurate measurements.
- Center Punch Then Create Holes On Each Corner
Using an automatic center punch, gently press in every corner to create a tiny dent approximately ¼ inch on the guideline. This prevents the drill from “wandering” while drilling on the steel.
Immediately you form a dent on all corners, position the point of the drill on a dent then begin drilling slowly. Move down straight to the door, positioning one hole on every corner.
- Tape off The Saw Glide and the Perimeter
Once you finish drilling the corner holes, it’s essential to safeguard the door before you start cutting. Make use of a painter’s tape on the exterior parts of the guidelines then tape off the lower side of the jigsaw. This protects the guard against scratching your door surface. You can use two layers if the door surface is prone to scratching.
- Select the best Blade then Cut Your Opening
Choose a cutting blade that’s extended enough to cut both sides of the door. Attach the blade on one corner holes then cut along the exterior side of the line moving to the next hole. Go on with this process until you perfectly cut the opening.
- Mark Screw Holes then test fit the frame
If you want the cat door to fit on both sides of the door, make sure you test fit its frame. It’s nice to test the fit using the cover and other attached accessories. Then mark the holes using a pencil in the frame.
- Again Center Punch Then Drill
Again use the center punch to create tiny dents on the marks for the fasteners. Always use the recommended drill bit size then carefully drill the floor. Never drill metals at high speed.
- Clamp Together The Outer And Inner Frames
Its time to assemble all sides of the cat door. Hold the two-door halves together then attach place the fasteners to clamp all the halves together.
- Hang The Door, Have Some Fun And Get Treats
Align the hinges then re-insert the door pins then re-hang the door. Immediately you finish securing the door, train the cat to use its door. You can organize some treats then call the cat from all sides of the door until it gets used to it.