By Roslyn McKenna
When I first got my dog, Doc, my cats were furious. While they don’t exactly enjoy his company now, they tolerate having him in the house now and have mostly pleasant interactions. Now that they’re getting along, I love having both cats and a dog, but they have very different needs. Pet doors can be really useful in homes with cats and dogs, from separating certain pets to giving certain pets more freedom. Here are a couple of ways you can use a pet door to promote more harmony in your dog-and-cat home.
Private Room for Your Cat
Some dogs love the “delicious candy” found in your cat’s litter box, and it can be hard to keep your dog out of the box. A pet door leading to the litter box room can solve this yucky problem. In our downstairs closet, we have a small cat entrance in the door. The cats can get in to do their business but Doc can’t get in to “clean it up.” It also helps keep the litter box smell from spreading to other parts of the house.
You can also use this trick to keep your cat’s food separate from the dog (or vice versa if your cat steals the dog’s food). Instead of watching your dog while the cat eats or keeping cat food on a counter, you can put your cat’s food in a separate bedroom or closet with a pet door for cat-only access.
Potty Breaks for Your Dog
We have a fenced-in backyard, so it would be nice to give Doc a way to go outside to use the bathroom whenever he wants. The only problem is most pet doors would allow our cats out too. Selective entry pet doors let you choose which pets can come and go. You program which pets can use the door. The door reads your pet’s microchip or a magnetic or electronic key on your pet’s collar.
I tested the new electronic PASSport door with Doc, and it was very easy to use. You can even set when he can use the door. For example, if I wanted to keep Doc inside at night, I could set it to be locked for all pets from 9 PM until 6 AM. Then it would only unlock for him between 6 AM and 9 PM. He could let himself out during the day and the cats wouldn’t be able to escape.
The best part about selective entry doors is they keep out strays. We have several neighborhood cats who roam our neighborhood, and they could get in the house through a normal pet door. My cat Lily is very territorial; she once broke through a window screen to attack a cat who was skulking around our house (Both cats are fine now though). If another cat tried to get in our house, there would definitely be a fight. Doors like the Passport only open for pets with that key or microchip, so other animals can’t get in the house.
Pet doors have made our lives a little easier, and I look forward to installing a selective entry door for Doc soon.
Do you have a pet door in your home?