We all know the scene, just as the plot on the TV thriller gets even more complicated and the killer is about to be unmasked, there is a gentle yet persuasive cry from our feet, the cat wants to go outside  and she wants to go outside now! If you have a cat flap fitted it  gives your cat a means to enter and exit her home without disturbing you to open the door.
This photograph shows my Cats Tiggy and Bagera sitting quietly trying to decide whether they are "In" or "Out". 

A meeting of minds

Manual or Micro chip operation

If you have cats that live both indoors and outdoors you should consider installing a cat flap. The cat flap is a way that the cat can access the garden or yard via her own personal door without asking to be let out or indeed asking to be let in when it is raining or you are on the phone or in the bath. (You really can feel like a bad mother when you come off the phone to see your cat drenched to the skin as she has been mewing pointedly at the door to be let in). Cats can take a little while to get used to the flap but with perseverance and encouragement they will use it. However, it does not stop door duty as my cats will often ask me to open the door if I am near it, rather than use their flap. After all they do need to assert a little dominance.
Bagera used to stand at the front door and look at it which was my cue to open it to let his brother Tiggy in.

The cat flap is cut into the door, so you may need help from a local DIY specialist to install it, but it will be worth it.

There are various sorts of flaps. The basic flap allows the cat to go in and out at will. Some of the basic flaps come with a lock that you can slide into place. This is useful if you need to keep the cat in prior to a visit to the veterinarian. Some flaps come with a transparent inner flap which many cats like as they can see into the place that they are going into. There are many flaps that come with a quiet closure mechanism ours does not, we knew which cat had come in with the loudness of the bang that the flap makes they did get used to it in the end, even in his last days Bagera would use the flap.

There are various flaps which open by cat powered remote control. The cat wears a collar with the microchip and as they approach the flap, it opens! There are also some really advanced flaps that can be programmed with your cats micro chip number and will open when the cat walks by. Manufacturers of micro chip access claim that this will stop other animals accessing via the flap. At this point you need to consider if this is a problem where you live. In our case we don't need a micro chip control flap as we don't get other small visitors and other cats dare not enter when our two are known residents.

Have a good look at the various types when you choose and check the instructions, especially if you have a UPVC door, before you start fitting. Be prepared, after all your hard work, for the cat to ignore the flap. However once they get used to it, they will be fine, and charge in and out of it at all hours of the day and night. After some delicate joinery and choice anglo-saxon words we finally got our cat flap installed and yes they ignored it for a week. They are not necessarily hard to install but you must read the instructions rather than what we did which was cut a hole and hope.
Tiggy, taking advantage of a photo opportunity

My door is not suitable for a cat flap, what can I do?

Some ground floor apartments and quarter houses do not have a back door or it is a shared access and you cant install a cat flap. You could consider putting the cat flap in your front door, but I understand that some people think that is unsightly or there may even be a clause in your local planning or estate conditionns that do not allow you to change the front door. There is a solution to this problem, it is more expensive and will need the services of a qualified builder but it is possible.

You will need a builder to knock out a small part of your external wall. The bricked area that has been knocked out will have to be lined with some MDF board to stop your cat hurting itself on the bricks or getting covered in brick and cement dust. The cat flap will have to be fixed at the front of the wall as if it were a door and your builder will probably use some sealant to make sure that it does not let the weather in.

Once the cat flap is in place it may take a little time for your cat to get used to her door and her little tunnel, but knowing how cats like dark little places, I am convinced that before long she will love the freedom that her little door brings.

Make sure if your property is a rental that your landlord is OK with you chopping part of the wall out and you will probably have to repair the hole before you move out.
It is also a good idea to check with your landlord before you install a cat flap in any door as they can be expensive to repair once your tenancy has finished.
So why not go ahead and put in a cat flap and look forward to sitting in front of the TV enjoying your favorite shows with the accompaniment of the cat going outside when he wants to.