Most kitties relish their freedom and independence. For some, that means having easy access to the outside world. For others, that means access to their litter box and food bowl. If you have a cat that likes to come and go but would rather not spend your day opening and closing doors for them, installing a cat door may be a worthwhile investment. Cat doors can provide your kitty access to the outside or allow you to hide their litter box behind a closed door. So, if you’re tired of coming to your cat’s beckoned call, these cat doors can help you out.
1. Best Overall Choice: PetSafe Freedom Aluminum Cat Door
Easy, do-it-yourself installation.
Slide-in closing panel to control the your pet's access into or out of your home.
For a high-quality and durable cat door, the PetSafe Freedom is a great choice. It is made of solid aluminum that will stand up to normal wear and tear as well as some rough handling from your feline friends. The flexible yet heavy-duty vinyl flap is easy for your kitty to move when they want to come in or go out, and it closes tight with a magnetic strip to keep cold drafts and moisture out.
The PetSafe cat door also features a slide-in panel when you want to control when your cat can enter or exit, as well as to keep unwanted visitors at bay. The PetSafe Freedom easily installs in any wood, metal, or PVC interior or exterior door. It also comes in four different sizes should you need to accommodate dogs along with cats.
Depending on where you purchase this PetSafe Freedom cat door from may cause some issues with hardware. Some kits have shown up incomplete or lacking the needed screws to install. So be sure to take an inventory of all parts when you first set it up.
- Durable frame
- Heavy-duty flap helps weatherproof it
- Slide-in panel to lock
- Sometimes kits are missing hardware
- Magnetic flap doesn’t always close tight
2. Best for Exterior Doors: Perfect Pet All Weather Energy Efficient Cat Door
Lock Out slide to keep pets in or out.
Adjustable frame telescopes ¾-inch to 1 ¾-inch thickness.
If you’re looking for a cat door to handle some extreme weather, the Perfect Pet All Weather Energy Efficient cat door is a great choice. This cat door is made from foam molded plastic that is durable while it insulates.
It also has two vinyl flaps that help to keep the drafts and water out while creating an insulating air pocket. This makes it easy for your cat to go in and out but keeps the cold, hot, or wet weather outdoors.
Along with the Perfect Pet cat door’s weatherproofing, it also features a slide-in panel when you want to close it. This panel can go inside, outside, or both depending on how sturdy you want your lock to be. When put on the inside, it clicks into place so it can’t be opened from the outside.
This cat door is versatile enough to fit all exterior doors and wall kits to accommodate wider doors, or walls can be purchased separately. There are also four different sizes should your cat need to share this door with a canine companion.
In extremely cold climates, ice can build up on this door, making it so that it doesn’t seal. Also, strong gusts of wind can lift the flaps. However, this is more than likely true of any cat door. Just be sure to carefully install it so that it’s level to prevent the flaps from hanging crooked.
- Dual flaps to seal out weather
- Slide-in panel to lock
- Accommodates all doors with optional wall kit
- Can build up with ice so that the flaps don’t seal
- Doesn’t completely block wind
3. Best for Interior Doors: The Kitty Pass Interior Cat Door
Easily fits all standard (hollow and solid) interior doors with sizes, 1 1/4
If you’re looking to hide a litter box or just want to provide your cat with their own safe space behind a closed door, The Kitty Pass Interior Cat Door is the way to do it. This cat door fits on both solid and hollow interior doors, allowing your cat to easily sneak in without the whole world knowing when they’re doing their business.
When you’re looking to hide a litter box, the last thing you want is a flashy cat door. The Kitty Pass is paintable to blend in with the background, and it comes with cute little ears on one side and a tail on the other for some subtle humor. There are no unsightly screws, and it can handle a cat up to 21 pounds.
While this cat door does come with an installation template to cut the hole in the door, it’s still important to measure carefully to be sure it fits. The template may be too large for some of the doors. Since the size of the hole determines how well the door fits together, cutting a hole that is too large may cause the door to come apart. Measure carefully before cutting.
- Cute and inconspicuous
- Fits hollow and solid doors
- For use in cats up to 21 pounds
- Installation template may be too big
- Door will not stay together if the hole is cut too big
4. Best for Sliding Doors: PetSafe One Piece Sliding Glass Door
Patio panel is available in 2 adjustable heights to fit in your existing sliding door track; adjustable up to 80 11/16 in or 96 in.
Built to withstand heavy use, the door has an aluminum frame and tempered glass.
For sliding glass doors, PetSafe makes this durable insert to quickly and non-permanently accommodate your cat’s outdoor desires. Made from aluminum and tempered glass, this cat door will hold up to repeated use while still allowing full function of your sliding door. It also has a latch on the side so that you can still secure your sliding door.
This panel slides into the track of any sliding door using heavy-duty springs to hold it in place. That means no cutting or drilling is required, and it easily comes out should you need it to. This panel is also adjustable to fit all sliding door frames and comes in different flap sizes for a comfortable fit for your cat and all of their furry friends.
When purchasing this product, you might want to also invest in some weatherstripping to help seal both the panel and the sliding door. Since this panel prevents the sliding door from closing normally, some airflow may be going through it.
- Fits easily into all sliding door frames
- Allows full function of sliding door
- Different sizes accommodate all pets
- May cause some air to pass through
- More expensive
5. Best Budget Option: CEESC Magnetic Pet Door with 4-Way Lock
Easy to install with step-by-step installation instructions.
It fits to being installed to interior doors, exterior doors, walls, windows, cupboards, glass, etc.
Here’s a cat door that can be installed in exterior or interior doors and walls. It has a weatherstrip brush to help reduce noise and prevent moisture and insects from sneaking through. The weatherstrip can be easily removed and replaced as needed.
Along with some weatherproofing for outdoor use, this door also features a 4-way lock. This allows you to close off access completely, leave it free-swinging, or allow it only to be opened from either the inside or outside. This provides a lot of variations of access for your feline friend.
This cat door from CEESC is an easy install type, with labeled screws and an adjustable tunnel depth to accommodate any thickness of wall or door. This cat door will work for most average-sized felines, but if your cat is on the larger size, CEESC makes a large and extra-large version as well.
This 4-way locking system may not stand up to a determined cat. So, if your cat doesn’t like being told where they can and can’t be, they may be able to get through this cat door even when it is locked.
- 4-way lock system
- Removable weatherstripping for added weatherproofing
- Comes in 3 sizes to accommodate all types of cats
- Won’t keep out determined cats
- Does require a hole to be cut
Best Cat Doors Buying Guide
The most commonly used place for a cat door is an exterior wall or door to allow your kitty some outside time by their choosing. Other uses include allowing their litter box and other feline necessities to be stored out of sight (and smell!) behind a closed door. They do all of this without you needing to open and close the door. So, if your cat likes going on outside adventures or needs easy access to their space without an open door, a cat door is for you. So, what’s important to consider when looking for a cat door? Let’s find out.
What to Look for in a Cat Door
There are many different options for cat doors, and the one you choose will depend on your preferences and needs.
- Where to Set It Up: Some doors are meant to allow your cat access to the outside. These can be placed on exterior doors, windows, or walls. These are usually more heavy-duty and should have a locking mechanism. Other cat doors are meant for inside use and can be installed on interior doors and walls.
- Size: Cat doors come in different sizes, so you’ll want to choose one that your cat can easily get through. However, you don’t want something so big it will let unwanted visitors in as well. If you have a dog, consider one that will accommodate both of your pets.
- Security: For exterior cat doors, make sure you choose one that can be locked. This will help keep other animals out, keep your cat in when you need to, and secure your home at night or when you’re away. Along with that, some doors provide 4-way security. This means they can be locked, opened, or locked to incoming animals or outgoing animals.
- Installation: Some cat doors require cutting holes in walls or doors, so these might not be the best option if you’re renting. Others install in window screens or sliding doors. Some will require more labor than others, so it’s essential to keep your skill level and situation in mind when selecting the best cat door.
- Durability: Different cat doors are made with different materials. Some may have a vinyl flap, while others have a screen. Some may snap into place while others require screws. Read reviews and choose a door that will stand up to repeated use from all pets in your home so that you’re not left with an unusable cat door.
- Other Options: There are automatic cat doors that can open when your cat approaches wearing a special collar, cat doors shaped like a cat including cute ears, cat doors with self-groomers, and cat doors for cold climates. These unique features will allow you to customize your cat door to be aesthetically pleasing as well as fully functional.
How to Install a Cat Door
The installation of a cat door will depend on the type of door you choose and where you want to put it. Let’s look at the different types.
- For Doors: These cat doors are made to be installed in either inside or outside doors. You will need to cut a hole in the door.
- For Walls: Cat doors can also be installed in walls, both internal walls to allow more hidden access to a litter box or external walls so that your feline friend can get outside when they want to. Pay attention to the thickness of the wall. While most cat doors meant for walls have a telescoping tunnel to accommodate most wall thicknesses, but some do not.
- For Windows: This type of cat door may provide access by cutting a hole in your window screen. They come as a side-slide or sash-style that allows your cat access with a door and a solid panel to cover the rest of the window opening.
- For Sliding Doors: These are similar to window-style cat doors, except they are sized for sliding doors. They include a cat door on a solid panel that fits into the existing sliding door track.
If the cat door you choose requires a hole to be cut out of a door or wall, they will often include a template to help take the guesswork out of it. Be sure to read the instructions first to make sure the cat door you chose works with the type of door or wall in your home. Installation may require some special tools that you may not have on hand, so be sure to check that before you get started.
Cat doors are a great way to allow your kitty to explore the outside world or hide their litter box away without you having a full-time job of opening and closing doors. There are many styles of cat doors available to fit whatever situation or space that you may have to provide your cat an exit to the outside safely.
Dr. Chyrle Bonk has been practicing veterinary medicine since 2010. She lives in Idaho with her husband and two sons, where they spend their free time exploring the great outdoors that is right in their backyard.