About Lorena Ávila

Lorena Ávila has been a member since July 17th 2012, and has created 239 posts from scratch.

Lorena Ávila's Bio

Lorena Avila is a Marketing Engineer, Writer, cat figures collector, cat lover and cat owner as well but above all a very passionate investigator of felines. She started investigating cat products 5 years ago when she couldn't find reliable reviews on the internet to buy an automatic feeder for her own cat and since then she has been helping others providing honest information online.

Lorena Ávila's Websites

This Author's Website is

Lorena Ávila's Recent Articles

How To Choose A Self-Cleaning Litter Box For Large Cats

Trying To Find An Automatic Litter Box For Your Large Cat?

If you have a large cat, choosing a roomy automatic litter box is a challenge. It’s not only about your cat being comfortable when doing its business it’s also about preventing litter box accidents.

When the area where your cat aims is reduced, the urine or feces most likely will go outside or on top of the box’s rim. It’s not the cat’s fault. Most manufacturers design self-cleaning litter boxes thinking only on small to average cats, and leaving out the big guys. But here you will learn how to choose an auto litter box for your large furry friend.

Let’s First Determinate What Is Considered A Large Cat

Large cat

First, I want to mention that there are many types of cats, some of them are weeny little things with delicate bones and others are massive hulking bruisers. Here I will mention what it’s considered an average domestic large cat, leaving out the extremely large and tall cats, for example, an extra large Maine Coon or a Savannah. These cats can weigh up to 25 lbs or more.

As a general rule, a cat is considered large when it weighs between 15 and 20 lbs. More than that would be considered an Extra Large cat.

There are exceptions to this rule, for example, cats that weigh less than 15 lbs, but they are tall. When cats are tall and slim they have more capacity to adapt to spaces due to its skinnier bodies, still, they are considered large cats and they need a comfortable roomy area where to do their business.

Not All Self-Cleaning Litter Boxes Are Suitable For Large Cats

Automatic litter boxes are in general well designed and a good help to keep up with the litter box scooping and most of them will feature either a rake or conveyor to do their job which is collecting the cat’s waste. So far it sounds good, but the problem is that these built-in elements will be right next to the litter bed where the cat does its business, taking space from the litter area, reducing it and making it less suitable for a large cat.

Also, the typical rectangular shape of these units limits the cat’s movements when inside. Even if the self-cleaning litter box features a circular shape, such as the CatGenie, the litter area is still rather small for a large cat and the rims are not tall enough to stop litter, urine or feces from going onto the floor.

Large Cats vs Regular Automatic Litter Boxes

You will encounter some inconveniences if buying any auto litter box for your large cat. The most common are:

1. Your cat will not like the reduced space so he or she will do its business outside (we don’t want that)
2. Your cat’s butt will hang out of the litter box and the feces or urine will go onto the mat or floor (it’s not your cat’s fault, he doesn’t have eyes there 🙂 )
3. The scooping rake will get dirty with some feces or urine on it (a lot of fun cleaning a poopy rake)

Most Suitable Automatic Litter Box for Big Cats

To get your large cat the best auto litter box you must check the following points:

  • The access wide enough for your cat to enter smoothly
  • The litter bed area must be wide and deep enough for your cat not to feel trapped or without the ability to turn around
  • The litter box walls must completely cover your cat butt
  • The built-in internal parts (scooping rake, conveyor, etc) must not take room from the litter bed

There is one automatic litter box that doesn’t feature a scooping arm or rake sitting next to the litter bed because its mechanism consists of filtering and sifting the clumps through a rotating Globe and a built-in screen that is part of the litter box. This auto litter box is called the Litter Robot III Open Air.

Even though the Litter Robot’s Globe features the built-in screen and the internal shield (a protective piece that stops clumps from sliding onto the “roof” of the Globe) these elements don’t take much space as they follow the spherical line of the inside. The litter chamber inside the Globe, due to its shape, offers much more room for the cat to move and turn around. Plus any waste will go always to the litter no matter what and not outside the litter box.

The widest point inside the Globe’s chamber is 20″ across and the depth is 20″ front to back. These dimensions allow your large cat to accommodate inside the unit to do its business without the risk of urinating or pooping outside.

 

Dimensions large litter box

Consequently, the design of the Litter Robot allows large cats to do their business without the typical “accidents” present in other auto litter boxes. Due to the Globe’s shape the cat’s urine and feces will go to the litter bed, no matter where your cat does its business, the urine will drop down to the litter in case your cat urinates above the liner (rubber) area and will form a clump that will be dumped into the waste drawer.

Also, the Globe has been ergonomically designed to accommodate larger cats comfortably with no corners that block the cat’s movements. The Litter Robot’s oval-shaped entryway allows the large cat’s body to go through nicely.

Additionally, the entryway’s oval shape gives cats confidence to get in, without that feeling of being trapped or feeling claustrophobic, but at the same time, having privacy to do their business.

And now this unit is not only suitable for large cats but also for busy owners. Yes! now the Litter Robot Open Air comes with a Wi-Fi version that allows you to check the operation of the litter box from your smartphone and see if it’s all good. This is great news if you need to make sure your cat is doing its business regularly.

If you are struggling in trying to find a suitable auto litter box for your large cat, you may want to check in-depth reviews so you can decide on good information.

 

Litter Robot Connect Review

Litter Robot Connect

GENERAL OVERVIEW

The Litter Robot Connect is the upgraded Wi-Fi version of the Open Air. They both operate the same, but the Connect model is the smart version that allows you to monitor and fully control the unit with your iPhone or iPad, using your existing Wi-Fi network and the LR Connect App, which is the first of its kind on the market.

The Litter Robot Connect allows you to check on your cat’s litter box usage, receive a notification of when to empty the waste drawer, change settings, and many other features.

 

FEATURES OF CONNECT APP

  • Ability to check real-time insight into your cat’s Litter Robot usage
  • Provides reports such as graphs of daily, weekly and monthly usage to track your cat’s elimination habits, which is crucial information to keep your pet healthy
  • Check the waste drawer level in real timeGet history of cleaning cycles and notifications all in one place
  • Allows you to remotely trigger a cleaning cycle from your iPhone/iPadName your Litter Robot Connect
  • Control multiple units

KEY FEATURES OF THE CONNECT APP

  • Notification when to empty the waste drawer
  • It gives you the ability to adjust the wait time to 3-7 or 15 minutes with the tap of a button. The wait time is the time between the cat leaving the litter box and the unit starting a cleaning cycle.
  • Get notifications of the litter box’s status, including possible warnings and faults
  • You can easily set the unit to Sleep Mode at night so the Connect won’t start a cleaning cycle at night.
  • Ability to lock out the Control Panel to keep mischievous paws or tiny hands from pushing buttons which can change settings or create unwanted cleaning cycles.

Litter Robot Connect Fully Manageable from your iPhone

REQUIREMENT

—Operation System required: iOS 9.0 and 9.0+

—Devices compatible with iOS 9.0:

  • iPad 2, iPad 3, iPad 4, iPad Air, iPad Air 2iPad mini, iPad mini 2, iPad mini 3
  • iPhone 4s, iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and to present iPhone 10
  • iPod touch (fifth generation)

 

CONNECTING THE iPHONE/APP/LR CONNECT/WIFI

#1 Step. Check that your Litter-Robot Connect is close to the router or Wi-Fi extender to make sure you will have a reliable signal. Have your unit plugged in and make sure it did the initial cleaning cycle.

#2 Step. Make sure your Wi-Fi is ON. Write down your Wi-Fi password, you will need it to complete the process.

#3 Step. Download the Connect App.

#4 Step. Open the App and Follow the Instructions. The App itself will guide you through the steps to complete the connection. It’s really simple. Here I will show you the “Onboarding” process:

  • The App will ask you to allow it send you notifications, click “allow”
  • Login using your existing customer’s username and password or create a new account
  • The Litter Robot congrats you and asks you to start the settings ⇒ Next
  • The App suggest you keep your cat in a different room if you have a skittish cat (when the settings are done the unit will automatically start a cleaning cycle) ⇒ Next
  • Enable Wi-Fi by pressing the Cycle and Empty button at the same time, wait till the light is white and then blue. Release when the light gets blue. ⇒ Next
  • The Litter Robot asks you to access the camera, tap “OK”
  • Scan the QR Code. You will find the code on the stickers behind the base of the unit or on the box. Tap on “Ready to Scan”
  • It will show the scan was successful ⇒ Next
  • Give a name to your LR Connect
  • Connect your phone to Litter-Robot’s Hotspot. Leave the App, go to Settings and find your current Wi-Fi network. Find the Litter Robot network and choose it. Enter the password. Your phone will connect to the Litter-Robot’s network.
  • Choose your Wi-Fi network and enter the password of your Wi-Fi. Wait for Wi-Fi confirmation.
  • Done!
  • Now the unit will start automatically a cleaning cycle

WHAT’S ON THE LR CONNECT APP

STATUS (Home)

It shows the “Waste Level Gauge” and this gauge shows the arrow moving up in real time as your cat uses the litter box. Here, you can tap the button “Start Cycle” to start a rotation from your iOS device.

 

Video How To Start A Cleaning Cycle From Your Phone

HISTORY

It shows you the history of the Litter Robot Connect’s activity showing how long ago each activity happened. This way you see when:

  • Clean Cycle Completed. The unit finished a full cleaning cycle
  • Clean Cycle in Progress. The Globe is rotating
  • Cat Sensor Timing. The Litter Robot Connect is active in wait mode
  • Ready. The unit is ready to be used.

Connect App Usage History

INSIGHTS

It provides you a weekly or monthly chart with your cat’s elimination habits.This is a huge help to keep track of your cat digestive and urinary health, especially if your pet is experiencing constipation, diarrhea or first symptoms of diabetes or urinary blockage. Any significant change in the chart is a red flag to start paying attention to your cat.

 

Connect App Weekly Report

 

Monthly reports Connection App

 

Daily reports Connection App

REMOTE

Here you can:

  • Change the Litter-Robot Connect’s name.
  • Active Sleep Mode. You just need to tap the button to activate the Sleep Mode, then choosing the period of time the unit to be inactive, save and that’s all.
  • Adjust Wait Time. Tap the wait time and choose the time sliding to get the number you want, to 3-7 or 15 minutes.
  • Night Light. Tap it and the night blue light is on/off
  • Panel Lockout. Tap it to lock or unlock the panel.
  • Power. Turn the unit off/on by tapping this button.
  • Reset Gauge. Once you empty the waste drawer tap and reset the Gauge to start from zero.
  • Reset to Default. Tap to restore default settings.

Connect App Remote View

How to change the Sleep Mode time:

Change Sleep Mode

 

Video How To Change Wait Time

 

 

CONNECT VS OPEN AIR

 

LITTER ROBOT CONNECT

–Notification on your App when to empty waste drawer

–Tap the App to change wait minutes. When saving the adjustment you are certain the new delay time got saved.

–Daily, weekly and monthly chart of your cat litter box usage.

–You can choose the Sleep Mode time on your App, when it starts and when it finishes in the morning.

–Receive notifications for possible fails

–Tap to trigger cleaning cycles through your phone

–Turn on/off Nightlight from the phone

–Lockout the control panel from your phone

–Control multiple units from your phone

LITTER ROBOT OPEN AIR

–Open the waste drawer to check

–Change wait minutes on Control Panel (you can’t check if the current setting got saved correctly).

–You can’t track how many times your cat uses the litter box

–8-hours sleep default. Must set it on Control Panel at the time you want to start Sleep Mode.

–You don’t know if a rotation failed while away

–Push “cycle” on control panel

–Must press & hold power button on control panel

–Press and hold reset button until blue light flashes

–Must manually set each unit at home

 

How To Make A Connect Wi-Fi Version Of Your Current Litter Robot III

If you already have a Litter Robot III and love the new features of the Connect version, you can connect and enable your unit and you have 2 options to do this:

1. Getting the Connect Base Upgrade. This is an easy way to do it, simply get the Connect Base Upgrade and replace it with the existing base of your unit. The new Connect base will work with the existing Globe and Bonet.

2. Getting the Connect Upgrade Kit Installation. This is the DIY option that requires a little more work but it’s a more economical option than the Upgrade Base and it’s not really that hard to install. You need to get the kit and install it in the existing control panel of your unit.

What comes in the Connect Upgrade Kit?

  • Main Circuit Board
  • WebConnect Module
  • Wire Harness
  • Applique
  • Serial Number Sticker
  • Connect Quick Start Guide
  • Connect Upgrade Kit Installation Guide

Unboxing & Review of Connect Upgrade Kit

 

 

HOW TO INSTALL THE CONNECT UPGRADE KIT

The Connect Upgrade Kit Installation Guide shows with instructions and pictures step by step how to install it. Before starting the installation you will need a #2 Phillips screwdriver and optional, a Needle-nose pliers (we didn’t need it) and a Utility knife (we didn’t need it either).

To make things easy for you, I created a video with step by step instructions how to install the Connect Upgrade Kit.

 

 

MY THOUGHTS AS CAT OWNER

Either you get the new Litter Robot Connect or you Connect-enabled your existing machine you will enjoy the convenience of fully controlling and monitoring your cat’s litter box through your iPhone or iPad. But not only that, you will be able to check your cat’s elimination habits which will allow you to keep track and take care of your cat’s health, which is very important, especially with indoor cats.

Now I will be able to know if my cat has constipation or urinary issues which I couldn’t monitor in the past. The charts the App provides are a great piece of information for me and my Vet. Also, I will be traveling with confidence that if anything happens to the litter box, I will be able to call a friend to fix it for me. This is very rare and it hasn’t happened to me so far (I’ve had the unit for 18 months) but it’s still good to know you are in control.

If you are busy, travel a lot and like to control your devices through your Smartphone, I highly recommend the Litter Robot Connect.

Get the Connect Litter Robot using my link below and get $25 Off!

 

Litter-Robot

 

 

PetSafe Smart Feed Wi-Fi Automatic Cat Feeder Review

The PetSafe Smart Feed allows you to control the feeder and monitor your cats feeding activity, at any time from your smartphone.

With the free-downloading App you can program feeding schedules, portion sizes, monitor your cat’s feeding activity for the last two weeks and also trigger meals in real time by a tap of the “Feed Now” button.

PetSafe Smart Feed can be programmed to feed up to 12 meals per day, with portion sizes from 1/8 cup up to 4 cups each meal.

FEATURES

  • SMARTPHONE CONTROLLED: You can fully control your cats feeding schedule anytime, anywhere, using your iPhone or Android.
  • REQUIREMENT: iPhone or iPod device iOS 9.0 or later. Most Android smartphones 5.0 or later.
  • CUSTOMIZABLE MEALS & PORTIONS: You can program up to 12 meal times within 24 hours. Each meal size can be programmed from a minimum of 1/8 cup up to 4 cups at a time.
  • FEED NOW OPTION: If you want to feed your cat an extra meal or snack in real time simply tap “Feed Now” and let your cat enjoy an extra meal. You can choose a minimum of 1/8 cup to 4 cups when triggering a meal in real time.
  • SLOW FEED OPTION: The feeder dispenses meals over a 15-minute period. This option slows down your cat, keeping your pet from inhaling the food.
  • RECEIVE ALERTS: App notifies you if a meal couldn’t be dispensed.
  • EFFECTIVE DISPENSING SYSTEM: PetSafe Smart Feeder works with an internal conveyor that handles most kibble shapes and sizes, preventing jamming.
  • 24-CUP CAPACITY FOOD HOPPER. Great capacity makes you forget about refilling the feeder often. Translucent food hopper allows you to see the food level at a glance.
  • LOCKING LID: To protect food from mischievous paws.
  • EASY-TO-CLEAN: Hopper, lid, bowl, and bowl holder are top-shelf dishwasher-safe.
  • MATERIALS: BPA-free plastic and stainless steel bowl
  • AC ADAPTER INCLUDED: Includes AC adapter which is the main source of power. Batteries must be used as a backup in case of power outage. (4 D-cell alkaline batteries, not included).
  • Indoor use only.
  • DIMENSIONS: 20.3” x 9.4” x 12.6”
  • ITEM WEIGHT: 5.6 pounds

WHAT COMES WITH THE PETSAFE WI-FI FEEDER?

  • Main feeder
  • Bowl holder
  • Stainless-steel bowl
  • AC Adapter
  • User Manual

HOW IT WORKS

Cat eating from PetSafe Smart Wi-Fi Feeder

The PetSafe Smart Wi-Fi feeder uses an internal conveyor that escalates the kibble up to the chute to finally drop into the stainless-steel bowl. The unit connects to the WiFi network and to a Smartphone through the App. The App allows you to control the feeding times and portions. Once you program a feeding schedule, it’ll repeat every day.

The connection of the feeder to the Wi-Fi allows you to control the unit from your Smartphone, but if the internet fails, the feeder still operates and dispenses the programmed feeding schedule. If a power outage occurs, the battery backup ensures a continuous operation. The lack of internet just means you won’t be able to control the unit from your Smartphone. The feeder is not meant to be used solely with batteries, its main power source it’s AC adapter.

The unit doesn’t have a control panel, only a “Feed Now” button that you push if you want the feeder to dispense a meal. All the feeding options are controlled via the App; portions, feeding times, slow feed option and “Feed Now” as well.

HOW TO SETUP THE FEEDER

Simply put the batteries (4 x D alkalines), insert the stainless-steel bowl, fill the hopper with food, plug it in and turn it on. Then download the free App (iPhone or Android), register the unit in the App and connect the feeder to the Wi-Fi router.

The food hopper is held shut by two snap locks and the hopper lid is held by a one push lock. Once you fill the feeder with dry food, make sure to “Prime” as instructed, which is basically press the feeder’s front button to dispense a meal until about ¼ cup is dispensed. This “Prime” action of pushing the button allows the food to escalate and fill the conveyor so the food is ready next to the chute to be dispensed.

PROGRAMMING & APP FEATURES

The App allows you to program the feeder up to 12 meals daily. You add one meal, choose the time and portion. Then you add another meal and do the same. The meal times can be set in 15-minute increments only. You can’t, for example, choose a meal for 4:25 pm.

The programmed meal times are repeated every day so it’s not possible to program a different feeding schedule ahead of time, for example, program a different portion to be dispensed on the weekend or something like that. What you program is what your cat will eat every day until you change either the # of meals, the time or the portions.

Screenshot of App

You need to program the time zone on your App, which will automatically adjust according to daylight saving time.

The App allows you to:

  • Add meal times & portions
  • Trigger an extra meal or snack by tapping on “Feed Now”
  • Enable the Slow Feed option
  • Notification when a feeding has been dispensed
  • Notification if a feeding has failed
  • Check on the App if the batteries are low
  • Check on App if there is a Wi-Fi lost connection
  • Track the history of the cat eating behavior for the last 2 weeks
  • Lock the “Feed Now” button to avoid kids or pets to manually push a meal

 

SIMPLY FEED VS SMART WIFI SIMPLY FEED

  • PetSafe Smart Wifi is much easier to program
  • Easy to pause the feeder if you need it to stop working (toggles like when you set an alarm clock on your smartphone)
  • Allows you to remotely lock the feeder’s front button by tapping “child lock”
  • PetSafe Smart Feed features latches on the lid to keep pets from accessing the food

LET’S SEE THE PROS AND CONS OF THIS UNIT:

PROS

  • Easy to setup and connect Phone/App/Feeder/Wi-Fi
  • App allows you to fully control and monitor your cat’s feeding activity and the feeder from your Smartphone
  • Change your cats feeding schedule at any time, anywhere
  • Customizable meal times and portions, individually
  • Easy to use App provides many features, such as notifications, remote feedings, etc.
  • App allows you to control more than one feeder
  • It keeps operating without internet (as long as it’s plugged-in)
  • Large 24-cup capacity of food hopper
  • Good accuracy in portions due to its internal conveyor feeding mechanism
  • Stainless-steel bowl avoids cat chin acne
  • Bowl, holder, and hopper are removable for easy cleaning, top-shelf dishwasher safe
  • Power button located at the bottom of the unit prevents kids from turning off the feeder.
  • Groove on the bottom for the cord to sit in.
  • Battery backup to ensure the unit’s operation in case of a power outage.
  • Feeding internal mechanism handles a wide variety of kibble sizes and shapes.
  • Includes AC adapter (unlike Simply Feed version)

CONS

  • Kibbles makes a loud noise when falling into the stainless-steel bowl
  • Batteries are not the main source of power, only as backup
  • App doesn’t allow you to add a second admin
  • Big footprint
  • It doesn’t have webcam
  • No notification when hopper is low on food
  • Bowl isn’t wide enough for two big cats to eat together comfortably
  • You can’t use Slow Feed Mode to dispense the minimum amount (1/8 cup). Only for bigger meals (¼ cup and up)

TIPS

Make sure to always keep the hopper with enough food to allow the conveyor to get full and escalate the portions up to the chute. If you fail at doing this, the mechanism starts putting less food into each conveyor compartment and the accuracy of the programmed meals is less.

CONCLUSION

The PetSafe Smart Feed is the Wi-Fi version of the PetSafe Simply Feed. As most automatic Wi-Fi feeders, the Smart Feed can be programmed and controlled by your Smartphone and it allows you to change the settings of the feeder at any time, anywhere.

The PetSafe Smart Feed has good accuracy in portions, you just need to make sure to keep the feeder with enough food. The App is easy to use and straightforward.

The downfall is the lack of notifications when the feeder is low on food and the lack of a webcam to see or talk to your cat. Also, this feeder needs to be placed away from bedrooms as it’s noisy when the food is dropping into the bowl.

Other than that, this feeder works well for cats and provides busy cat owners good control of the feeder and access to change settings from their Smartphone. I recommend this Wi-Fi Smart Feeder.

 

How Do Automatic Cat Doors Work?

Cat exiting a pet door

If are you are thinking of getting an automatic cat door but you want to know how they work, in this article we provide all the information you need.

Let’s start saying that an automatic cat door is a small gate in a door, wall or window with a selective locking mechanism that allows the cat to enter the house and stop any other animal from trying to access the home.

Automatic or electronic cat doors require the cat to wear a key to activate the system to unlock the door, allowing the cat to push the door with its head or nose and enter the house.

The pet door needs to be programmed by registering the cat’s tag or microchip in its memory. Depending on the technology this key could be an ID code, a color code if IR or ultrasonic signal.

 

Pet Doors vs Automatic Cat Doors

Unlike automatic cat doors, the traditional pet door simply consists in a moving “flap” that has to be pushed by the cat to get in without any locking mechanism. The concept is that any animal bigger than a cat won’t be able to access the house. However, other small animals, such as raccoons, other cats, etc. can get into the house.

Today, most cat doors are electronically operated with different locking mechanisms and technologies.

 

Automatic vs Fully Automatic cat doors

Automatic: It’s the “flap” type that works with hinges and it swings to open. Once the mechanism registers the cat key and unlocks, the pet needs to push this door with its head or nose to get inside the house.

Fully Automatic: It’s the motorized cat door that looks similar to a human door in its shape. This type of cat door opens by sliding up vertically, powered by a motor. The pet does not need to do anything other than stand up facing the door and activate the mechanism with a collar for the door to slide upward open.

 

Benefits of Automatic cat Doors

Cat & SureFlap Cat Door

One of the best benefits of automatic cat doors is that cats can get in and out as they please without the need of somebody opening the door each time. This benefit becomes crucial when cat owners are not home during the day.

Also, pet doors allow cats to get back in the house if bad weather condition occurs while they are out so they can get refuge at home from rain and cold.

To protect the house from bad weather or during a trip, cat doors can be locked with a sliding mechanism parallel to the pet door. Motorized fully automatic cat doors can be locked with a deadbolt lock.

 

Type of Locking Settings

Some cat doors can only be locked or unlocked (2-way locking), while others offer more options (4-way locking).

The 2-Way locking means you can only use the pet door:

  • Unlocked (in & out), pets can get in and out as much as they want using the collar tag.
  • Locked (in & out), pets can’t get through the door.

The 4-Way locking means you can use the door:

  • Unlocked (in & out), pets are free to get in and out using the collar tag.
  • Locked (in & out), pets cannot get through the door.
  • Only-In, cats can’t exit the door but they can get in. This system is useful if you want your cat to stay inside the house. It is also a good feature in case your pet escapes through a window or if someone let the cat out unintentionally.
  • Only-Out. This mechanism allows pet only to exit the house but they can’t get back in. This feature is good if you want your pet to be outside for any reason.

Technologies used to transmit signal

Automatic cat doors use different technologies for the cat’s collar to transmit a signal to the control panel to unlock it, such as infrared, electromagnetic, magnetic, ultrasonic signal and radio frequency.

 

Types of Automatic Cat Doors

According to the mechanism used automatic pet doors can be classified as Electronic, Motorized, and Magnetic.

ELECTRONIC CAT DOORS

Electronic cat door

They use a tag or “key” in the cat’s collar or microchip implant which activates a latch to open the flap for the pet to push and enter. All electronic cat doors need the cat intervention to get through by pushing the door with the nose or head. Control panels are all powered by batteries, AC adapter or both.

Technologies used to send the signal to the control panel:

  • Infrared signal
  • Magnetic field “electromagnetic”
  • High pitched sound (ultrasonic)
  • RFID (radio frequency Identification): Either collar tag or microchip implant. A microchip implant is the most modern concept of “key” to unlock the door. The microchip cat door gets activated by a microchip inserted into the pet’s skin with a unique ID code which is read and recognized by the control panel. Some RFID (radio frequency Identification) electronic cat doors have a timer, allowing to set an “outdoor schedule” for the cat.

Cat doors using infrared or ultrasonic technology require the cat’s collar tag to be powered, while electromagnetic or RFID don’t.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Electronic Cat Doors

Advantages

  • Electronic cat doors are more effective than other systems to stop unwanted animals from following the allowed cat. When the pet pushes the door to get in, the follower will receive a hard-swinging flap towards him or her, acting as a deterrent.

Disadvantages 

  • Cats need to push the door to enter and if they take too long the mechanism could close before the door swings shut. Basically, the mechanism locks the flap in the open position.
  • Another disadvantage is the possibility of the cat getting trapped in the door. If this happens most likely the pet won’t use the door again.
  • Unwanted cats or raccoons could pull the flap open with their claws since some electronic pet doors do not prevent “flaps” from swinging outward.

 

MOTORIZED CAT DOORS (fully automatic)

Motorized cat door

The cat does not need to push the door to enter the house; a collar tag is sensed and a motor opens a vertical sliding door for the cat to get in. Once the cat is inside, the door shuts automatically by gravity.

Motorized pet doors need the pet to wear a collar to activate the motor. The technology used as a “key” can be ultrasonic, magnetic or RFID. The cat door needs to be powered.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Motorized Cat Doors

Advantage

  • Cats don’t need to push the door which is good, especially when cats use the paws to push the door instead of their nose or head, having problems when they want to get in because the door got locked before they tried.
  • Motorized pet doors are good for timid, disable or very old cats. Also, they are good for multi-pet households with dogs and cats.

Disadvantage

  • While the door is opening, a second pet can follow very close the first one and enter the door.
  • While the time for the door to shut can be shortened by a setting, the door still does not offer a swinging hard flap in front of the unwanted pet to act as a deterrent.

 

MAGNETIC CAT DOORS

Magnetic cat door

They use magnets to pull a lever to unlock the door when in contact with the magnet in the cat’s collar.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Magnetic Cat Doors

Advantage

  • This system does not need to be powered either in the collar’s tag or control panel, which makes it very handy in areas where electricity is not available.

Disadvantage

  • Collar attracts metallic objects such as nails, and any other small metal objects, etc, to the collar.
  • Other unwanted pets with a magnet can access to the house.

 

What’s the best type of door for a single cat?

It depends on various factors but in terms of reliability and safety, the electric microchip pet door (activating by a microchip implant) is the best option to be used for one cat.

These cat doors have the best access control because when a microchip is programmed in the door’s memory, no animal with any other tag can get in the house.

Other systems are good options too, but they all need the cat to wear a collar which may not be safe if your little guy likes to get into narrow areas or trees.

 

What’s the best type of flap for a multiple- cat household?

There is not a “best solution” because every household is different. However, motorized cat doors or electric cat flaps using electromagnetic or RFID tags are a good solution for multi-cat households.

When looking for a pet door with selective control access from outside and inside, it is a better choice the electronic cat flap with RFID tag because with motorized cat doors you cannot control selectively what pet exits or enters the house.

 

Do cats easily adopt pet doors?

Most cats adopt electronic doors easily and they learn how to use them with proper training. Timid, disable or very old cats might get intimidated by electronic pet doors. If this is the case, you have the option of motorized pet doors that allow the cat to get in without the need of pushing the door.

Whatever you choose for your cat, you’ll give your feline friend freedom to enjoy the outdoors.

 

Is a cat door different from a small size dog flap?

Yes, they are different. Small size dog doors have a little more rectangular shape, they have metal frames and the flaps tend to be more flexible but there are also hard flaps.

On the other hand, cat doors have a square shape, the material of the flap is usually hard and acts as a deterrent when bouncing against possible unwanted animals. The frame of cat doors usually is made from plastic. Of course, this is not the rule; there are a lot of different types of pet doors on the market.

As you can see, they are several types of automatic cat doors and how they work will help you to decide what you need, according to your lifestyle and your pet’s personality.

 

 

 

7 Benefits Of Using Automatic Cat Doors

Cat exiting a pet door

Certainly, you can benefit from using an automatic cat door for your pet. If you have an indoor kitty that looks sad because it doesn’t have access to the garden and you decide to give your pet a little more of freedom to enjoy the outdoors, getting an automatic cat door is a step in the right direction.

In order to use a cat door, you have to make sure the environment where your cat will be at is not dangerous. If you live in a place where there is a lot of traffic and stray dogs or cats, using a cat flap may not be a good idea.

If you are certain your cat is a good boy/girl and will stay safe enjoying your beautiful protected garden or if the environment where you live is risk-free, a cat door will give you benefits that you will appreciate.

Before deciding to let your pet out, you need to follow some actions such as establish a feeding schedule for your pet at home, letting your cat stay outside slowly but progressively, and other important steps (source hshv.org).

Now, let’s check the benefits of installing an electric cat door for your pet:

 

1- It gives your cat independence

Cat doors give your pet the freedom to leave the house on their own without sitting next to the door meowing for the doorman to come and help them. This is a great advantage because cats are creatures that appreciate walking around the garden, playing and enjoying nature, walking and exercising and doing all the things they love to do, knowing they can be back to the comfort of home whenever they want.

Cats are healthier when their activity level is high; the risk of obesity and other associated problems also decreases.

2- It allows your cat to leave the house while keeping unwanted animals out

One of the best advantages of automatic cat doors is the fact that they allow your pet to leave or enter the house, keeping stray or unwanted animals out. Some systems are so well protected than even bullets cannot destroy the door.

The best way to make sure no unwanted animal or pet will access the door is getting one that locks from the inside and outside. This way the door can’t be pulled open from the outside which is what most raccoons are willing to do for a delicious free meal.

3- It controls when it’s time to be inside or outside

Most electronic cat doors feature a timer which allows you to program the schedule of when for your cat has access to the outdoor and when it must stay inside the home. This feature is very important if you want to control how long your cat will be outside and to keep your pet in at night. For example, if you don’t want your pet to stay outside later than 8 pm or earlier than 7 am. You can do this with some cat doors.

A timer gives you the freedom of not having to lock the door manually every night.

4- Good solution to control which cat will be outdoor in multi-cat households

If you have two or more cats, you may want to let one of your pets inside while the other out. There are several reasons to leave one cat inside: the little guy is a “trouble-maker” in the neighborhood, he or she is ill and needs to rest, or maybe one of them is a little kitten and it’s not prepared for outdoors yet.

Any reason you may have for leaving one of your pets inside, you are able to do it with modern pet doors. The best way to achieve this is getting a cat door featuring sensing scanner on both sides, from the inside and outside to detect and control the exit and entry from both sides.

5- It gives you multiple choices to use

For example, creating a feeding station for your cats. This is especially useful if you have one of your cats on a diet or if you have felines that fight for food or if one of your pets is on a prescription diet.

Additionally, you can use a pet door on interior walls to give some pets access to some rooms in the house. For example, letting the cat in and the dog out of your bedroom. This idea also applies to a private feeding station or to keep dogs away from the cat litter box.

If your dog is the type that likes to taste the clumps, you can install the cat door in the basement, bathroom dresser or wherever you put the cat litter box so your dog will be locked out always.

6- It allows you to leave your cat at home knowing it won’t be locked in

If the outside is protected and safe for your cat and your kitty is the type that sits outside in the garden, playing with plants or looking at the flies while sunbathing, you have a great advantage.

The reason is simple, with a cat door you will be able to leave for work with peace of mind knowing you don’t have your pet locked-in at home, bored, with nobody to play with, especially if your cat is active and needs to burn lots of energy.

Certainly, it wouldn’t be fair for your furry friend to be locked in without the possibility to enjoy all that beautiful wild world out there!

7- No more 24/7 doorman duty

If you have been woken up at 5 am by your cat meowing for you to open the door then a cat door will be a lifesaver! A pet door not only gives your cat independence to leave the house by himself but it also gives you the retirement of the doorman duty 24/7.

Cats usually change their mind often about where they want to stay, they are very comfortable at home sitting on the couch but suddenly they want to explore the garden. After a couple of minutes, they decide that was not a good idea and they want to take a nap on the kitchen counter. And there you are, opening and closing the door for your “king” or “queen” to decide what it wants.

If you have an indoor/outdoor cat and you’re the current doorman, then it’s time for a change.