How To Install A Cat Door

Below is a video on How To Install A Cat Door

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Today we will be showing you how to install a cat door or any kind of pet door. We are going to be installing this cat door in an interior hollow core door. The installation will be the same if the door was a solid core or solid wood door.  If you wanted to install this cat door in an exterior door the steps will still be the same but with a few differences. One being that you want to make sure you buy a cat door that is made for an exterior door install. The second being how you cut the hole in the door. For an exterior door I like to use an angle grinder and cut one side and then cut the other side. We are going to use a jigsaw to cut this interior door as the blade will reach both sides of the door but won’t on an exterior door as they are thinker to meet the newer energy standards. You will want to also wear gloves and safety glasses as the thin metal once it’s cut it is very sharp.

The first step is to get the correct size pet door for your pet or pets. You don’t need to install a 12×12 dog door for a small cat and you don’t want to install a cat door for a mid to large size dog. Then next thing to consider is the install height of the install. One recommendation they use is to install the bottom of the pet door 4” off the bottom of the door. What works best is to actually measure your pet or your tallest pet from the ground to the top of their back or shoulder height. You will want to use that measurement to be the top of your door opening. The thought being that the pet can just lower his or her head and walk through the door as the top of the door opening will be on the same plain as the pet’s back. They won’t have to arch their back or bend their legs to use the pet door. 

So now that we have the correct size pet door and the height of our pets shoulders we are ready to figure out where we want to place the pet door within the door. For this one we decided to install it centered in the door. You can install it in the center or offset to one side it’s up to you. So people who have the 6 panel door choose to install it in one of the lower panels.

Next we’ll take the tape measure and measure out 16” from the edge of the door and put a light mark and that will be our center line as this door is a 32” door. Once we have that measurement marked out we’ll measure from the bottom of the door up to 10 ¼ as that is the shoulder height of this pet. Well put two marks about 6” apart and then connect those marks with the level

Once we have that line on the door we can grab the template that came with our pet door and align the top edge of the template with that line as that will be the top of the opening of our pet door.

Once we have our template placed we can grab the tape measure and check the measurements from the edge of the door to the template from both sides and also from the bottom to ensure we have the template on there nice and straight. Once we have double checked the template placement we can now take a pencil and trace the template out. With it traced out you may want to take a half of the pet door and check the placement to see how it looks with the details of the door. For this door and the height of the pet we will be a ¼” or so just below the details or design of the door.

Once we are happy with the placement we can grab some painters tape and well run two stripes along each cut edge for the shoe or foot of the jigsaw to rub against so as to not scratch the door. Once we have our tape placed we can grab a drill and a small drill bit and drill in the two upper corners. We want to be in just a little bit as once we have these holes drilled we’ll grab a ½” drill bit and drill these holes larger and we want that ½” bit to be right at our mark. Also be sure to hold the drill nice and straight so you don’t drill off on an angle. 

So once we have the ½” holes drilled we can now grab our jigsaw and place a new fine tooth blade so we know its nice and straight and also check the shoe or foot of the jigsaw to ensure its flat or a 90 degree angle off the blade so we get a nice and straight cut. Next well just place the blade of the jigsaw in one of the holes and cut on the lines to cut out the entire template. Once we have the holes cut we can check the fitment of the pet door within the hole. If it fits we can remove the painters tape. If it doesn’t you can trim the hole out bigger to fit the pet door in.

If you are installing your pet door into an exterior door you will want to grab the exterior pet door side and place it into the exterior side of the door. If you are doing it on an exterior door I would use clear silicone and caulk the top and both sides just to ensure water can’t get inside. Once we have this side placed in the door we can grab the other side of the pet door. This side you will see has ribs. You will need to check the thickness of the door. If you need the pet door to be thinner you can cut off a rib or two to make the thickness of the pet door match the thickness of the door. Next we can push the two pet door halves together; they should somewhat click together and hold themselves in place. 

Once we have the two halves put together we can grab the tape measure and double check to ensure the door is centered and not twisted within the holes we cut. Once we have the door where we want it we can grab the screws that came with our pet door and grab the drill and put them through the pet door and into the interior door. Once we have these four screws in we can now place the four white caps over the screws to give it a more finished look and if it was on an exterior door to keep the screws from rusting. Once we have those caps in we can flip the door over and install the other four screws to hold this side in place. Once the screws are in we can push in the four white screw caps. 

Once we have all eight screws and screws caps in we can dust the door off and go ahead and put in back on the hinges inside the house. 

Now we got the door back on the hinges you will want to test the movement of the pet door. If it gets hung up you may have over tightened one of the corner screws and may need to loosen to get the pet door to move freely. As you can see in the video this cat’s back is right at the top of the door opening so he doesn’t need to bend his legs or arch his back to get through the pet door.

So with the pet door installed the next step is to train your pet to use the pet door. Some pet doors have a feature where you can prop the door open or remove it so your pet will get used to going through just the hole and then after a few days you can reinstall the door or let the door down. This pet door doesn’t have the feature where you can prop the door open so for training your pet on this style pet door you will want to use treats. What you will want to do is place the treat on the opposite side of the door as your pet and have them go through the door to get the treat and then place treats on the other side of the door so they go back though the pet door to get that treat. It works best if you have two people one on each side with treats and have the pet go back and forth a few times till they get used to it. 

So with your pet now using the pet door that’s it we have just shown you how to install a cat door or pet door.


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