Cat flap hacking

For all your feline miscellany - any interesting stories, news or subjects that do not fit in the other sections.
Post Reply
alocin42
Frequent Cat Chatter
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Jul 21, 2014 10:45 am

Cat flap hacking

Post by alocin42 » Wed Oct 29, 2014 1:37 pm

I have two young rescue boys, adopted this summer. They've adapted to going outside well and love it - I lock the cat flap at night but they spend most of the day outside unless the weather is bad. I tend to stick a box in front of the locked flap at bedtime so they know it's shut, but sometimes have to just leave it on entry only when they haven't responded to me calling at 'cat curfew' time and are still off adventuring somewhere.

Now I've just discovered that one of them, Rolo can open the cat flap from the inside when it's set to entry only. He hooks the rubber edge with his claws and lifts the flap inwards, then squeezes through the gap. The sneaky little ****! I'd seen him pawing at it before but just thought he was being a bit stupid and forgetting how to use it properly, or was playing dumb so I'd relent and open the door for him. Turns out he's more cunning than that!

It's not a major problem but is a bit awkward in that I can't now reliably shut Rolo in the house if the other cat is still out, and makes it difficult for pet sitters who can't hang around waiting for them to both come in to lock the flap fully. This is just a basic four way entry standard flap - I can see I may need to invest in something a bit more hardcore or high-tech to defeat his tricksy ways. Has anyone else found a way around this sort of problem? Do the microchip ones work in the same way when set to entry only?

User avatar
sarie
VIP Cat Chatter!
Posts: 322
Joined: Mon Jun 02, 2014 8:44 am
No. of cats in household: 3
Location: Edinburgh

Re: Cat flap hacking

Post by sarie » Wed Oct 29, 2014 1:46 pm

Oh the little devil! Haha :) A microchip one *might* solve the problem but there are no guarantees. The microchip flap requires the cat to have its head inside the tunnel on the exterior in order for the chip to be read and the entry to be allowed, so it may prevent him from opening it up from the inside as an entry lock is always in place until an authorised microchip is picked up outside.
I have a Sureflap and it has a 4 way manual lock system in addition to the microchip system.

Exit doesn't require a microchip scan as the assumption is that any cat in the house is allowed to use the flap and it prevents cats who do manage to break in from getting trapped but you can restrict exit with the manual lock.
Entry always requires the microchip to be picked up so without it being scanned the entry lock is always in place so escape from the inside by pulling the flap inwards should be prevented. However, I have read the occasional review that some cats still out-fox the flap by forcing their heads near enough to activate the chip scanner from inside, but it's pretty tough to do that and co-ordinate pulling it open at the same time so I think in 99% of cases this isn't likely but there's always the odd cat who's too determined to be prevented under any circumstances :)

It's certainly worth a try if you're concerned about him but they're not cheap - mine was around £69 I think... it's very good though and it does keep out neighbourhood cats too :)

hgale
VIP Cat Chatter!
Posts: 459
Joined: Thu Mar 13, 2014 12:51 pm
No. of cats in household: 1

Re: Cat flap hacking

Post by hgale » Wed Oct 29, 2014 6:28 pm

There was a cat on TV a few weeks ago who did this, and was terrorising the resident cat out of his fur, poor thing!

I also have a Sureflap which I have to put on entry only sometimes - Denver pushes it with his paw to go out, but he hasn't worked out how to hook it yet (hope he doesn't!). There is a catch on the inside which locks it closed unless the chip is read from the outside, but Denver has been seen pushing it down with his paw - not sure if your cat would be clever enough to push down on the catch AND hook the flap open at the same time! The catch does operate when the chip is close enough though in my experience, the flap does need to be pushed open ever so slightly, so you may get away with it. As Sarie says, they are expensive, but well worth it.

Please give Rolo and friend a fuss from us!

Helen and Denver

alocin42
Frequent Cat Chatter
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Jul 21, 2014 10:45 am

Re: Cat flap hacking

Post by alocin42 » Thu Oct 30, 2014 1:54 pm

Thanks both for the replies - interesting things to think about! I tried emailing Sure Flap about how the locking mechanism works to see if the chip lock would impact on the lifting-inwards, and they sent me this reply:

"Our standard cat flap also has a four-way manual locking system, however, we have also heard of another clever cat who was able to do the same thing as your cat! We believe it is only very intelligent cats who have figured this out! Our design team have developed a solution to this which we would be happy to make for you.

This would cost you the same as our standard cat flap, yet our engineer will have to modify this for you and we will ship it to you via FedEx. Please note, that this upgrade is hand made by our engineers and can take up to 2 weeks to be made."


I like the buttering up of Rolo clearly being a 'very intelligent cat'! :D Seems like very good customer service, but don't know yet if I want to spend the £80 it is to buy a standard Sureflap from their website; kind of need to balance up how big a problem his escape artistry is likely to be - just when I'm trying to get them both back in and Rolo comes in first, or when cat sitters are in charge and can't block the flap up fully so he'll be free to come and go the whole time. Hmm.

User avatar
Sheana
New Cat Chatter
Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Oct 30, 2014 2:07 pm
No. of cats in household: 2
Location: Florida, USA

Re: Cat flap hacking

Post by Sheana » Thu Oct 30, 2014 2:20 pm

So as far as I understand it's only Rolo that is an evil mastermind and the other boy is as good as an angel? Does the other guy watch Rolo when he is doing the trick? Do you think he could learn as well or he is not interested at all? I know dogs can learn from each other and I know that my fat kitty girl loves to watch and copy what her dog friend does (I have two cats and a dog). It's curious though that she would watch and mimic the dog and not the other cat. But then again my animals are very...interesting :)

alocin42
Frequent Cat Chatter
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Jul 21, 2014 10:45 am

Re: Cat flap hacking

Post by alocin42 » Thu Oct 30, 2014 2:40 pm

Well the other one (Monty) hasn't figured it out yet certainly - the week my friends were cat sitting and putting the flap on entry only when they visited in the evening, they kept finding just a sulky Monty in the house in the morning! Two cats worth of food was going so Rolo was seemingly doing his party trick and coming and going at will, but Monty's shown no sign of copying. Don't know if that's because he's an angel or just a bit less sneaky!

Strangely both do use their paws first on the flap to go out (the little tunnel bit extending on the outside means it has to be head first to come in). My friends cats push with their heads first both ways, so I guess the pawing-approach is more likely to lead to the discovery that you can hook it open. Maybe Monty will learn one of these days if I keep the same flap!

Post Reply