Do you have an indoor/outdoor cat that needs a convenient way to get in or out of your garage? If you are here, then chances are you are a pet owner and considering installing a cat door for your cat.
The garage can be a safe place for your cat to get in and out of the weather or away from predators. It provides free access in and out or can be locked when not in use.
But installing a cat door comes with some drawbacks that you should be aware of. One big one is safety. We’ll address that shortly and share some options to make your pet door safe.
In this article, we look at whether or not you can install a cat door on a garage door, the pros, and cons of installing a cat door and we look at options for installing pet doors for your garage.
If you have a dog, the same information applies, although you will need to get a larger size if your dog requires it. If you have both, you can often use a doggie door for your cat.
Can you install a cat door on a garage door?
The short answer is yes you can.
But should you?
Are there better options?
And if so, what are they?
The biggest thing to consider is your pet’s safety. You don’t want your cat to get stuck if the garage door would open or close unexpectantly. Garage doors can kill or severely injure pets should they get stuck.
Additionally, you will want to consider your skill set and whether or not you feel comfortable with the installation process.
If you are fairly handy and have some basic tools, the installation process isn’t bad. You will need to make some measurements, use a template and saw to make some cuts, and be handy with an electric drill.
If you aren’t sure or don’t feel comfortable, we highly recommend seeking out a professional handyman service to help you install your pet door. One mistake can permanently damage your door.
Another consideration is security. You don’t want thieves using a pet door as a way to enter your garage. With cat doors, this is not usually a problem as they tend to be smaller than dog doors and would be impossible for an adult to fit through them. Simply measure your pet’s height and you are good to go.
Finally, keep in mind that if a cat can get through a cat door, so can other animals like raccoons. When the door is not in use, you should keep it locked.
Best locations for installing a cat door for your garage
The best location to install a cat door is on a garage side-entry door or exterior storm door, or even in an exterior wall.
But not everyone has one of these options available or wants to put a hole in the wall.
If possible, avoid installing a pet door directly on a sectional garage door or overhead garage door. You can do it, but it adds extra risk to your pet’s safety and as we mentioned could be dangerous for your pet should the garage door open or close unexpectantly.
What cat door is best for installing in a garage?
There are two recommended cat door models that work best and can be used in the vast majority of garage door installations. PetSafe makes two great options depending on how you plan to install your cat door.
The best cat door for side-entry and overhead garage doors:
The PetSafe Extreme weather energy-efficient pet door can be installed into doors ranging from 1 5/8” to 2 1/4” in thickness. This will cover most side entry and overhead garage doors, but please be sure to measure your door before purchasing.
The reason we like this cat door is the ease of installation, and quality. This one costs a little more but is way more durable than cheaper alternatives. Just look at the amazon reviews here.
It uses a 3-flap system with a magnetic seal to keep it airtight and keep cold air or heat out. It also makes a great cat door for interior doors, exterior doors, and the door between the inside of your house and garage. You can even paint it to match your door or exterior.
The following video does a great job walking you through the installation process of installing a pet door within the actual garage door itself:
The best cat door for garage or exterior walls:
PetSafe also makes a highly-rated cat door that is designed to install on exterior walls.
It is the PetSafe Wall Entry Pet Door with Telescoping Tunnel. This highly-rated cat door (can also be used with dogs)has a telescoping tunnel that lets you install your pet door on walls that are 4 and 3/4″ inches up to 7 and 1/4″ inches thick. This pet door is also compatible with extension kits that are sold separately if your wall is thicker than 7 and 1/4″ inches.
The following video does a great job of showing you the installation process using an exterior wall.
How to install a cat door
The process to install a pet door is generally the same from manufacturer to manufacturer and model to model, but always follow the instructions for the pet door model you are installing.
Make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions to appropriately size and select the cat/pet door. Usually, this involves measuring your dog or cat at shoulder level or estimated shoulder level height when they will be fully grown. For most pet doors, this will be a small or medium size, unless you have larger dogs.
The following are just general guidelines to install garage door pet doors so you have a feel for the process and complexity before deciding whether you want to attempt the install yourself or seek out a professional installer.
Most pet owners with basic tools can install a pet door in a matter of a couple of hours. You will want to make sure you have:
- electric drill with various drill bit sizes
- masking tape or non-stick tape to tape up a cutting template
- jigsaw and blades appropriate for metal, fiberglass, or wood depending on where you are installing the pet door
- safety goggles
- drywall saw for wall installations
- stud finder for wall installations
- pencil for marking template lines and corners for your opening
Pet doors will come with installation instructions, the pet door, cover flaps, screws, and usually a paper template that can be taped to the access location to mark your pet door’s opening hole.
Pilot holes can be drilled using your drill for hole enlargement so you can insert the saw blade for cutting the access hole.
Once the location for your pet door has been marked, you can cut the access hole. If cutting through a wall in your garage, please make sure you have turned off the electricity and marked your studs before cutting into the wall so you have a clean opening to the outside of the house.
Once you have the access hole for your pet door cut, you will insert the pet door frame into the hole, adjust if necessary, and fasten using the provided screws.
Most pet doors will then have a plastic cover that snaps over the rough opening to seal off any spaces and to attach the flap(s).
You may want to use caulk or expanding foam insulation around the door to fill any remaining gap prior to attaching the final cover. If your cat door comes with a lock, you may have to mark a perpendicular line to indicate the space where the lock will attach to the door.
When finished, you will have a convenient way for your cat to get in and out of the garage.
If you want to add a second cat door between your attached garage and the inside of the house, simply repeat the process. Some pet owners will purchase enough cat doors to add another one to the back of the house so your pet can go outside to your backyard directly.