Our cats have always loved the freedom of using their cat flap. They like that they can get in and out of the house whenever they want to do so. Our cats use the cat flap at all hours of the day and night. Prior to getting a cat flap, we used to let them in and out ourselves, which frankly was a mug’s game. They didn’t always want to come back when you needed them to come and it gets chilly to keep opening the door.
For some years we’ve used a standard cat flap without any problems. Then everything changed. A new cat appeared on the block and he was big, bad and mean. Well, he was quite brazen, an unneutered tom and partial to some extra meals. Recently, I’ve found out that he is a stray that someone down the road had started feeding, but they haven’t taken on the other responsibilities of cat ownership like neutering, so he wanders widely, he sprays, he’s behaves aggressively.
The new cat started hanging around and then discovered that coming into our house through the cat flap was a very easy way to get access to catfood. Our cats were not happy. One evening we had the intruder cat in a standoff with them that ended up with it being chased up the stairs into our son’s room. So we had a sleeping child in bed, with the intruder cat jumping around his room trying to escape from the castle defenders (otherwise known as Amber and Bracken, our burmese cats). My husband managed to chase the other cat out of the house, but it wasn’t long before he was back.
Our cats got more and more distressed. They spent a lot of time on guard duty on the ground floor rather than hanging out in their usual favourite places. Amber, the more sensitive of our cats, started marking inside. The catfood was being eaten up at quite a rate. Enough was enough.
We’d considered getting a magnet collar cat flap, but having spoken to a few friends with this type of flap, it seemed problematic. There were a number of niggles mentioned, but the key problem for us was the fact that the magnet attaches to the collar. Our cats have safety collars that come off if they get stuck. They lose them regularly. It’s an additional expense replacing the magnets and then your cat can’t get into the house when they want to. A magnetic flap didn’t seem like the way forward.
Then I heard about Sureflap Microchip Cat Flaps and they were kind enough to send us one to review. We wasted no time in getting it up and in place. To begin with we tried just adding the pet door onto our existing flap, but we did need extra parts to do that as we struggled to marry up the bits with our existing tunnel (through the wall). What we were able to do very easily though was secure the door in the tunnel with tape, this allowed us to use the cat flap immediately and it stopped the intruder cat problem straight away.
Sureflap very quickly sent out the other bits that we needed and we were able to easily fit them. We ended up replacing our existing tunnel pieces and we used a mounting adaptor. Once that was done, the cat flap worked perfectly and looked good on our wall.
It was very straightforward to set up our Sureflap Microchip Cat Flap to recognise our cats’ microchips. Our cats are 11 years old and have had their microchips that long. Sureflap say that all common microchip types are compatible (you can also use the microchip compatibility checker on the Sureflap site to check in advance) and we certainly had no problems with it recognising their chips. The cat flap needs 4 AA batteries, you put these into the flap and put it in learn mode. It will then learn the chip of the next cat to use the cat flap, so you don’t have to push your cat through flap, you can let them take their time. If the wrong cat goes through you can easily delete the code.
There are four different settings which you can change manually to make your Sureflap Microchip Cat Flap: in only, out only, open and closed. I find this is useful if you want to keep your cats in ahead of a vet’s visit or similar.
We’ve had our Sureflap Microchip Cat Flap working for about a month now and the batteries are still going strong. Sureflap says they should last about a year. There’s a low battery warning indicator too.
I’ve already recommended the Sureflap Microchip Cat Flap to friends with cats. It’s been wonderful. It does what it says it will do and it has kept out our intruder cat. Our cats are returning to their normal behaviour patterns and know that the house is a place of safety again, even if they do get chased by the other cat when they are out and about sometimes.
Sureflap also offer the Pet Door for larger cats and small dogs which works with the same technology as the Sureflap Microchip Cat Flap. One of my cats is small and the other is medium to large and neither has a problem using the cat flap sized door.
Update: January 2014
We’ve now had our Sureflap for 9 months or so and it is working as well as it was at the start. Not only would we not be without it, we have recommended it to a number of friends. The batteries needed changing for the first time in December and it was easy to do. When the battery starts to run down, the Sureflap has a red warning light that glows periodically. The cat flap is being used multiple times each day by both our cats, so I’m happy with the battery life. There’s no need to reset the flap after the battery change as it will retain the details of the microchips.