Cutting Out A Custom Cat Door
I’m going to tell you a tale that most are probably familiar with: having a dog and a cat simultaneously is a constant poopy battle.
If your cats are anything like my cats, then they poop an obscene amount. Not only that, but it smells alarmingly bad. Unless you are my dog – then it smells awesome and you wanna snack on it.
Trying to find a location for the kitty thrones has led to some creative endeavors on my end. I love the idea of cabinets that hide a litter box – but I personally find them too smelly still, given my cat’s extra stinky presents. I also like the idea of self-cleaning litter boxes, but they have to hook up to a water line which is inconvenient. They are also pricey.
At our previous apartment, we hid the litter box behind a staircase and lodged suitcases and a nightstand in its way so that Lola couldn’t wiggle her way in. It was functional but not cute. And the smell of poop was always wafting around.
So when I bought my house, I was thrilled to have a basement. I knew right away that the cats were going to claim this portion of the house as their own and it would be a perfect place to put the cat poop cave.
The only thing between the cats and their glorious new playground was the basement door. I decided that the best method for them to get up and down would be a cat door, since leaving the basement door ajar would allow Lola to waltz right down and would also not be energy efficient.
I began looking on Amazon for pre-made cat doors, but I came to find that they presented two main problems:
- They are expensive. There are a few on Amazon that are around $6, which isn’t bad, but they aren’t as highly reviewed as the ones that are $20 and over. Some people mentioned that the cheaper one snapped and broke. Plus, I’d have to purchase an XL one because Earl is a lil’ hefty, and those are, of course, even more expensive.
- The pre-bought options are all designed to be installed in the middle of the door. I was wary of this option and preferred the opening for them be at the bottom of the door instead. The hole leads directly to the basement stairs, and I had visions of Earl heaving himself up and over, only to either a.) get stuck in the middle, or b.) fly down the stairs.
I decided my best option was to cut a hole directly through the bottom. Because the doors in my house are so cheap, (no 6-panel doors here, sadly) I had no qualms about us sawing this baby ourselves.
The final product? A convenient entryway for the cats and pure, unadulterated adorableness.
Cutting Out a Custom Cat Door:
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- A piece of fabric (tip: get a piece of fabric the same color as your cat)
- Rustoleum Spray Paint – I chose this espresso color to match my floors
- Small clamps
- A hand saw (or miter saw)
- A table or saw horses to set the door on
- Liquid nails or Gorilla Glue
- Hot glue & gun (mine is a cute mini one, gifted from a friend!)
- A tape measure
- Optional: Same color of paint as your door for touch-ups
- First, measure your cats (and your dog, if you have one). Ensure your measurements will allow enough room for your cat to walk through but isn’t so big that your dog can also enter. Once determined, use your measuring tape to mark even lines on your door with a pen.
- Mark these same measurements on the piece of fabric you bought, then cut out using scissors. Cut out two pieces the same size. Set aside.
- Take the door off of the hinges. Ready it by stabilizing it on a table or a couple of saw horses.
- Begin sawing! Using your hand saw, follow along with the lines that you drew. We cut down the sides and then at two angles, like an X, so that we wouldn’t have to struggle to evenly saw the top portion.
- Once your hole is complete, sand down the rough edges with your sandpaper. Wipe the sawdust off with a microfiber cloth or wet paper towel (allow to dry), and then touch up paint around edges.
- Afterwards, warm up your hot glue and grab the fabric pieces you cut. Use your hot glue gun to glue the fabric to the inside portion of the door to create a little kitty curtain.
- Next, measure the height and width of your hole. Now add 1 inch to the height and minus 2 inches off of the width.
(So for ours, it was 9 inches high and 9 inches across, so our measurements were 10 inches H and 7 inches L).
Draw these three measurements with a width of 1 inch on your plywood. Using your hand saw, cut the frame of your cat door out.
- Now that your pieces for the frame are cut, sand them down and use a microfiber cloth or wet paper towel to remove dust. Take your pieces outside or in a well-ventilated area and, using your Rustoleum spray paint, paint the outside portion of your cat frame. Allow it to dry.
- Once your cat frame is dry, bring back to your door. Your width portion should fit between the two height pieces.
(Sorry if that explanation was confusing, see below photo for clarity!)
Using your liquid nails or glue, position the frame around the hole, glue on, and use clamps to hold in place. Let this dry for 24 hours.
Note: If you are using the clear Gorilla glue, you need to wet the surface to activate the ingredients (it will remind you on the instructions).
- The next day, remove the clamps and test to ensure your frame has stuck to the door.
- You’re done! Enjoy the cuteness.
(P.S. If your cat is having trouble figuring the door out, move the curtain to the side or clip up so they realize they have access.)