A guide to installing a cat door for your feline friends

Let your cat wander with their new flap!

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Do you worry about your feline friend being stuck inside the house or your bedroom when you’re not around? Fret no more because that’s what cat doors are for!

Installing a cat door will give you peace of mind as it allows your cat to get in and out of any room or the house as needed. If you’re ready to put a cat flap, check out our guide to learn how to install a cat door on an interior door or bedroom door. 

What do I need to install a cat door?

Before you start installing your cat door, prepare the following tools and materials:

  • Cat door kit

  • Measuring tape

  • Pencil

  • Paper

  • Ruler

  • Scissors

  • Drill with a 1-inch bit

  • Saw

  • 1-by-2 wood plank

  • Wood glue

  • 4 C-clamps

  • Phillips screwdriver

  • Saw horses

Cat door installation tips and completion time 

Determine which part of the house to install the cat door. Keep in mind that placing a cat flap in interior doors with a hollow core will require added preparation and work, as a wooden support frame will need to be installed in the interior of the door.

When choosing a cat door, consider the price, the size of your cat, and if you have multiple cats sharing the door. For example, if you have one cat bigger than the other, it’s best to go with a door that fits the larger cat. 

You must also consider where you’ll set it up, as this will determine the material of the cat door you’ll use. Depending on the area, the cat door must be able to withstand extreme weather, rain, or snow.

Installing a cat door can be as quick as less than an hour or more, depending on the type of door material you intend to place the cat door on.

Step-by-step guide to cat door installation

Step 1: Prepare the door

a man unscrewing the door hinges of a white door

Before starting the project, unscrew the door from its hinges and lay it on a table or saw horses (if you have these around). This is to help you cut and place the cat door precisely where you need it and to also allow you to work on this project comfortably at standing height.

Step 2: Get measuring

a worker measuring the cat door placement

Using a measuring tape, measure the height of the cat’s belly from the ground to its stomach. This is how high the cat door needs to be from the bottom of the door.

Measure the door to find its center point. Start by marking 12 inches up from the floor at the center point on the interior and exterior sides of the door.

Then, cut out the cat door template included in the kit by transferring its dimensions and cutting it out. Place the template on the center with the bottom lined up to the 12-inch center point mark you created earlier. Trace around the template, ensuring the marks are as even and level as possible.

Step 3: Mark it with holes and start sawing

drilling a hole in a door for cat door

Using a drill with a 1-inch bit, drill a 1-inch hole on each corner of the door pattern to create access points for the saw. Carefully follow and cut along the traced line of the pattern with the saw.

Make sure to wear proper safety gear when handling power tools. Always be careful when using such tools. 

Step 4: Create the wooden frame

close up shot a tabby cat in a cat flap

Measure the interior dimensions (width, height, and length) of the cat door hole. These measurements will be used to make a wooden support frame for the cat door opening. 

Cut out four pieces of wood from the 1-by-2-inch wood plank. Cut a piece per each side of the opening from the dimensions you gathered.

Step 5: Fit the pieces in

cat crawling through a newly installed cat door

To attach the wooden frame, follow these steps: 

  • Apply wood glue to the sides of the cut wood pieces and insert them onto the wooden door. The top surface of the wood pieces should line up with the cut edge of the cat door opening. 

  • Use C-clamps to hold each section of the door to a wood piece, and wait at least 12 hours for the wood glue to dry.

  • Once the glue has set, you can install the cat door's interior side.

  • Loosely attach the interior side to the wooden door by screwing the center screws on each side of the door.

  • Install the exterior frame into the hole of the door. 

  • Push the frame into the door until the flanges of each side meet on the inside. 

  • Loosely attach the frame of the cat door with screws.

  • Test it to ensure that the cat door is aligned with the door and fits well.

Step 6: Secure the door in place

cats testing out their new cat flap

When you’re happy with the positioning and your cat can comfortably go in and out of it, you can start securing the pieces in place with the screws. Reattach the door back to its door frame by screwing back the hinges. Then, wait and see your feline friends test their new door! 

In case this project isn't something you're confident to do yourself, you can call a handyman to help you with tasks like this. You can also reach out to them if you need to repair broken cat doors. 

Freedom for your cats!

Putting a cat door allows your pets to enter and leave a room or your house or let them go to their litter box without disturbing you or when you're away. Plus, it is a handy solution for cats who like to be outside.  

If you don't have time to install the cat door yourself or would rather leave it to the pros, you can work with an experienced installer through Airtasker for your cat door installation needs!

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Frequently asked questions

Installing a cat door is a relatively easy DIY project; chances are you already have the required tools to do it. The installation will vary, depending on the material of the door and the style. 

The cost of installing a cat door will vary depending on the location and materials. Cat door installations can go between $70 to $285, depending on the size, style, and where it will be placed. 

You can install an interior cat door by following our step-by-step guide. It covers the basics of cat door installation, from measuring your feline friends down to placing the frame. 

Yes, you can! You can purchase a cat door kit with instructions on how to place it. Or you can refer to this guide for reference! 

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