It started innocently enough. I was laying on the couch one night, lights off, movie playing on the TV and everyone in bed but me and the dogs. I heard the sound of eating going on in the kitchen, you know the normal crunching of dog food and thought to myself how weird it was that one of the dogs was actually eating dog food. They know if they hold out long enough the hubby will fill them full of treats instead.
I went back to watching my movie, a drama so I was pretty focused on it to follow the storyline, when all of a sudden it dawned on me that all three dogs were laying within arms reach of me and yet the crunching sound was still going on in the kitchen. To say I suddenly felt sick to my stomach would be an understatement. I was frozen in fear….well not completely. I tweeted something about someone being in the house….yea, not exactly what I meant and people were quick to ask if I needed them to call 911 for me which was very sweet. 🙂 I’m not sure what I thought was out there, I only knew whatever it was, I hadn’t invited it, but I was pretty sure it wasn’t a person enjoying a snack of dog food.
I got up from the couch and before I could turn fully towards the kitchen, something streaked from it and out the cat door before I could even get a look at it. Horrified and figuring if it made it through the cat door it wasn’t a raccoon or opossums, our regular nighttime outside visitors, thank goodness. But that left open all kinds of possibilities of what it could be….and none of them were good.
My first instinct was that it was a rat. A very large rat from the sound of the crunching that’d been broadcast from the kitchen. I was so freaked out by the events I locked the cat door. Sure, that momentarily took care of my problem of the midnight visitor, but it also meant our smallest dog, Gracie, wouldn’t be able to go outside to do her business.
After a few days of dealing with having to let Gracie out with the other dogs, something she’s not OK with, I relented and opened her door thinking that whatever had made use of it might have moved on. I was wrong. Late that night when all the lights were out again, sans my notebook computer screen, the same thing happened…something was eating but all the dogs were accounted for. Again I tried to rush to see what it was and again it was too quick. This happened a few more times until finally one night the culprit stopped to look back at the kitty door after crashing through it and the automatic light turned on in the back and I finally saw who my nighttime interloper was….a jet black cat.
Now I love cats, just not cats that let themselves in. I have no idea who the cat belongs to or if it has had its shots. I am grateful it’s not a rat, that’s for sure. Still, I wanted a way to keep out unwanted guests and still let my 7lb Maltese, Gracie, have access to the outside and that’s when I landed on the perfect solution. We replaced her traditional cat door with a new battery-operated electronic version, the SureFlap Microchip Cat Door, that reads the identification chip which is implanted between her shoulders. Now only she can open the door. Anything that can fit thorough the tiny door can get out, but only animals whose chips have been recorded by the door, can get in. It’s brilliant, huh!
Since we already had the same size cat door installed (and I think the same brand, though I can’t be sure because we removed it and it’s being installed in my mom’s house for her dog – she visits here often and loves the door), we only had to retrofit the new door a bit to work. We’d beefed up the wall behind the door inside and out because our 55lb Brittany keeps trying to come in the door and some time ago he got his head stuck in it and ripped the door from the siding. So the extra piece of wood is our design and not required for the door to be installed. Since we have 1970’s walls which evidently are thicker than usual, plus we added the extra wood trim, I needed to order extension pieces (SureFlap Tunnel Extender – White or brown) for the new door. These pieces allow you to make the tunnel as long as necessary for your circumstances. We needed two extensions and ended up using duct tape to keep them together and give us the extra 1/4″ we needed beyond what the extenders provided to fill the gap. The brown was out of stock so I purchased brown – they’re inside the wall so visually it doesn’t matter and I hope that the white makes her feel less closed in.
The new SureFlap Microchip Cat Door works brilliantly and is exactly what we needed. Gracie figured it out after a few tries and now uses it with no problem. Initially the 2-3 seconds it takes for the door to recognize her scared her, but enough cheese treats and she got over that fear completely. Who knows how many animals have come through that door in all the years we’ve owned it. Now that I think about it, it’s creepy.
I only wish they made a microchip door big enough for the Brittany that was safe from burglars. I’m guessing I’d have to have the alarm company rig it up, but I can dream about not being the door century for him someday, right? Until then, I’m just glad Gracie is back to being Little Miss Independent ’cause that’s her thing and I’m happy to be worry-free from critter invasion.
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