XOR cat gate
August 18, 2004 7:21 PM   Subscribe

Pet door. One cat gets to come and go as he pleases. The other cat isn't allowed to use it. Question: How? (more inside, of course...)

We're a mixed houshold. Roomie has an indoor/outdoor cat, mine is an indoor-only. There's a pet door which could be left open for Cat A, but how to keep Cat B from going through it too? For instance, would one of those electronic collars actually work on a cat? Or is there some way to rig the opening so that only the authorized cat can get through?

This cat is a sweet little guy but has zero street smarts. He would not fare well against cars, racoons, dogs, etc. I don't want to rely on just water sprayer training to convince him that the door isn't worth going through. Once it's open 24/7, temptation will eventually win out if we can't find a better barrier/deterrant. Ideas?
posted by nakedcodemonkey to Home & Garden (22 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I have this problem - and found a solution, although I have not yet implemented it.

My father has a cat door with a magnetic sensor. The indoor/outdoor cat wears, on its collar, a tiny cube (very small) with her name, tel # etc on it. Inside is a magnet. The door can be set to 4 possible settings: no cats in/out; magnetic cat in/out, magnetic cat in only, magnetic cat out only. It's awesome and very easy to install, cost about $35 with battery.

I am buying one next week.
posted by luriete at 7:44 PM on August 18, 2004


Here is one with no battery. No personal experience with it but it looks cool.
posted by arse_hat at 8:28 PM on August 18, 2004


Won't A let B out?
posted by esch at 9:55 PM on August 18, 2004


We had one with the magnets. It worked very well, and involved not batteries, but you had to keep the cat away from your computer monitor and since our cat likes to sit on the desk and watch, that wasn't working for us. The electronic ones are more than twice as expensive, but probably better from that respect.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:56 PM on August 18, 2004


It would be simpler to make the other cat an indoor cat. Indoor cats have a shelf life of around ten to twelve years-outdoor cats manage to live for an average of two.
posted by konolia at 10:08 PM on August 18, 2004


This one uses infra-red. Still, I second the suggestion of making the outdoor cat and indoor one.
posted by lobakgo at 11:24 PM on August 18, 2004


The life expectancy stats are a major reason why mine's the indoor-dweller. But my roommate has the right to make her own decision about her pet. We're trying to find a way to make the differing choices compatible.

jacquilynne, what happens if the magnetic collar gets near a monitor? And is there any problem with these things affecting hard drives or other magnetic components?
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 11:37 PM on August 18, 2004


Indoor cats have a shelf life of around ten to twelve years-outdoor cats manage to live for an average of two.

:::looks over at his indoor/outdoor cat (8 homes in 3 states) who's still going strong at 14 and a half, sighs, moves on to next thread:::
posted by rushmc at 11:47 PM on August 18, 2004


outdoor cats manage to live for an average of two.

That's feral cats, not provided-for cats that are allowed to be happy and roam the neighborhood. Indoor/outdoor cats definitely have a statistically shorter lifetime (because of cars, mostly), but it's not two years.
posted by Mayor Curley at 12:51 AM on August 19, 2004


jacquilynne, what happens if the magnetic collar gets near a monitor? And is there any problem with these things affecting hard drives or other magnetic components?

Magnets will cause weird spots on your monitor by, I guess, distorting the electro-magnetic fields that generate the picture. It wasn't permanent damage, you just had to push the degaussing button and it snapped back into place, but I was always vaguely worried about the potential long term effects.

I don't think the magnet was strong enough to screw up a hard drive because it's more shielded than the surface of your monitor. Certainly we never had any problems with the computer itself, just the monitor. I would be concerned about any magnetic media you had lying around - floppies or tapes but we'd pretty much on onto CD-Roms by the time we got that cat door.

In any case, the actual cat door itself worked marvelously. The people who used to live in our house moved only a few blocks away and their cat liked to come home to visit. We got the magnetic cat door and it was never a problem again.
posted by jacquilynne at 5:16 AM on August 19, 2004


How can you people even DISCUSS putting collars on your cats? Don't you know how humiliating they are? Don't you know how cats with collars get razzed by other cats when they go outside? (BTW, our mostly outdoor, indoor-outdoor cat recently died at age 20. But most of our all-outdoor semi-ferals don't make it past age two.)
posted by Faze at 6:35 AM on August 19, 2004


Won't A let B out?

As if a cat would ever do a favor for ANYONE!
posted by bcwinters at 7:04 AM on August 19, 2004


Man, if I were that indoor cat, I would be PISSED OFF at the outdoor cat. Just saying.
posted by onlyconnect at 9:44 AM on August 19, 2004


If you're really adventurous you can try to mimic the FLO sytem. It uses a camera and recognition to determine whether to open the door or not. it was used to make sure his cat wouldn't bring in dead animals in the house. [previously mentioned on mefi]
posted by escher at 10:42 AM on August 19, 2004


This is a great thread. This type of system would work for a dog door too, to make it a dog-only door and not a dog-and-cat door. It was this problem that made my cats indoor/outdoor cats (really mostly just porch-perchers, but it still makes me nervous sometimes).
posted by dness2 at 11:01 AM on August 19, 2004 [1 favorite]


you can try to mimic the FLO sytem

Wow. A little too far out of my league, but what a neat idea. And ewwww to the possibility of live/dead creatures being brought in. Is that common for outdoor cats?
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 11:02 AM on August 19, 2004


Wow. A little too far out of my league, but what a neat idea. And ewwww to the possibility of live/dead creatures being brought in. Is that common for outdoor cats?

Yes, they tend to bring their owners "tribute" when they catch something. If they get a bird or a mouse, you might find either the corpse (if you're lucky) or a little pile of guts/feathers.
posted by vorfeed at 2:12 PM on August 19, 2004


And if your really unlucky a live tribute will be offered.
posted by Mitheral at 2:49 PM on August 19, 2004


If you're really, really unlucky (and much loved) you will be woken up by a half-dead tribute in your face.
posted by signal at 4:02 PM on August 19, 2004


thanks escher, i was about to have to kill myself looking for that link. I wonder if you could rig something up with the RFID chip that most cats are given when you get them from the pound (if not that then bluetooth would be the way to go :) )...of course i'm sure allot of cats will have issue with the loss of privacy and the possibility of big brother always knowing when they come and go.
posted by NGnerd at 8:27 PM on August 19, 2004


One of our cats brought in a rabbit, and then ate it's head in my daughter's bedroom.

And did it right in front of her pet rabbit(which was in it's pen).

Cats have an odd sense of humor. It behaved after we threatened to feed it to the snake, though. Snakes, of course, have no sense of humor at all.
posted by dglynn at 9:30 PM on August 19, 2004


I'm stumped by why there doesn't seem to be a commercial RFID-based cat door (I'm not talking subcutaneous implant; just latching something onto their collar that'd be a lot less bulky than the magnets of the magnet-based ones.)
posted by Zed_Lopez at 12:37 AM on August 20, 2004


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