While it may seem like cat doors and dog doors are one and the same, there are some key differences between the two. Whether or not a cat can use a dog door depends on your home and your cat. These are some instances when cat guardians might consider using a dog door for their feline friend:
- Your cat is larger than average
- You have cats and dogs sharing the pet door
- You prefer the features of dog doors over cat doors
But can cats use dog doors? The answer is yes, most of the time. We’ll discuss the similarities and differences between cat doors and dog doors so you can decide which is best for your cat.
The Cat Door
Most often, cat doors have a small, rigid flap. The width and height of the flap are closer in size than it is for dog doors, creating a square-shaped opening. Cats have an easier time maneuvering through smaller openings, so this is generally no issue for them. However, if your cat is particularly large, this smaller flap can get tricky.
The PetSafe Indoor Cat Flap is a good example of a standard cat door. The flap is 5-¾” x 5-¾” and made of rigid acrylic material. Many cats prefer the rigid flap seen here to flexible vinyl flaps commonly used for dog doors. However, if your cat is sensitive to the sound of the flap closing shut behind them, a flexible flap dog door might be better for them.
Another common feature of cat flaps is electronic functionality. One of the most popular is the SureFlap Microchip Cat Door. It has the same square-shaped, rigid flap as the PetSafe door, but also operates electronically, staying locked until it scans for your cat’s embedded microchip. This technology is exclusive to cats and very small dogs, so if this is something you’re looking for, a smart cat door is the way to go. Check out the differences between manual and electronic pet doors here for more details.
The Dog Door
Dog doors are different from cat doors in size and functionality. Generally, dog doors have a higher aspect ratio flap than cat doors, meaning the flap is a taller rectangle shape rather than a smaller square shape. A taller flap is ideal for dogs, who are taller at the withers and have a harder time crouching down to get through a pet door than cats.
A perfect example of a classic dog door is the PetSafe Freedom Aluminum Pet Door. The flexible vinyl flap and taller flap height set it apart from the average cat flap. The flap is also translucent rather than clear (like many other dog door flaps), something that sets it apart from cat doors. Many cats will prefer a completely clear flap so that they can see their exit route outside. It’s important to consider whether your cat will be okay with a translucent flap before getting them a dog door like this one.
The Best Dog Doors that Cats Can Use
If you decide that a dog door is a better option for your cat, here are a couple of great options for cats:
Dogs and Cats Sharing: Hale Pet Doors for Doors
The Hale is an ideal option for a dog door that cats can use. Hale comes in a wide variety of sizes from small to giant, allowing small cats to share with extra-large dogs. The flap is also completely clear, so cats and dogs can both use the door with confidence. If you have a noise-sensitive cat, this is a great option as the flap will close quietly behind them when using the pet door.
Cost-Effective: The Dragon Pet Door for Doors
The Dragon Pet Door is similar to the Hale with its lightweight, flexible flap. However, it is a more cost-effective option so it’s great for mild climates. The two-piece flap design creates a complete seal over the opening, so it’s still quite insulating for mild climates.
Weather Protection: The Endura Flap Pet Door
For severe weather protection, the Endura Flap can’t be beaten. It offers better insulation than any cat door, making it a great option for cats and dogs alike. Cats can use the Endura Flap door, however, we recommend they use the small size since the larger the size, the heavier the flap. The magnets can also be adjusted for training and easier use.
So, should your cat use a dog door? It all boils down to your personal preferences. If you have a large cat or a cat who shares the door with dogs then your cat can absolutely use a dog door. Just make sure you’re measuring your pets to ensure the proper fit. If you have a small, timid cat, or you want a microchip pet door, then a cat door might be the better option for your feline.
See how to train your cat to use a pet door for training tips and tricks. Want to get your cat used to the outdoors before installing a pet door for them? Check out how to train your cat to walk on a leash.