Cat doors are a very interesting
invention. Not only are they loved by many, they also cause problems.
An interesting historical fact about
the cat door. Did you know that Sir Issac Newton took time out of his
busy schedule to invent the cat door? It was something I wanted
growing up, but now I know better.
As a child, I sometimes hated having to
open the door to let the cats in. However, as an adult I now can
laugh at some of the stories of the cats' intelligence when they
wanted in. Knowing when and where to cry when they wanted in is the
Not only that, we also have stories
from our former next-door neighbor who had a cat door. Mostly
involving our cats going into their home. Stealing slippers, eating
their cats food, and even bringing in a dead bird.
There are many more unsavory stories as
well. (Picture from the Humane Society.)
Recently in the UK, there have been
stories of foxes terrorizing people in their own homes. Today I found
one that talked about someone who actually watched the fox use the
cat door to get in before going after their cat.
At the beginning of the summer, I meet
an old friend of my dad's who lives in Texas and learned his story of
a raccoon coming in and stealing a loaf of bread many years ago.
Those neighbors I mentioned earlier,
one morning they woke to find that there was a burglar trying to open
the back door by going through the cat door.
What is a cat door really ? A
convenient and easy way for your cats to come and go all hours of the
night or day? Or an opening in your door that you leave unlocked for
anyone to come through? The answer, it seems, is both.
In terms of wildlife, they are smart
and they do learn. They know what cat doors are and in the case of
raccoons, they know it is an invitation for free food.
In the case of foxes, they know that
food can be found on the other side. It just depends on whether that
food is your newborn child, dog food, your toy dog, or your cat.
What shocks me is that there are many
people who do not know they have this open invitation to their house.
Do they really think that mammals other than their cats will not try
to use the door?
In a way yes. For some reason we pet
owners think that these doors will only allow in who we choose. The
problem is that these doors are not magical. They can not read our
minds, nor can they lock themselves to questionable persons.
Some inventors are trying to change
that. Over the years I have seen news stories of cat owners in
particular making some of the most incredible inventions:
A sensor that only allows their
cat in because the collar has a magnetic key on it.
A silhouette camera that locks the
door if the cat tries to come it with a dead animal. It also worked
on dogs a foxes tiring to enter the house as well.
What I like most is the method that my
family used when we still had outdoor cats. We physically had to open
and close the door for them when they indicated that they wanted in
or out. It might seem like a lot of work but we never left our door
unlocked, nor did we permit any unwanted animals to enter.
The house became the cats' sanctuary,
a place where they could go when they wanted to get away from the
Not a place where they had to run from
wildlife who came in unannounced.
NOTE: Robin is a graduate of Texas A&M University and a student of Urban Wildlife policy. She is seeking employment in that area.