The Pros and Cons of Pet Doors: Are They Really Safe? – FloridaWild Vet Hospital

The Pros and Cons of Pet Doors:

Are They Really Safe?
By: Jo Singer: Retired MSW, CSW and LCSW

Although winter has barely begun, spring will be upon us before you know it. Now is the time to start thinking about ways to enrich the lives of our cats.

Since our two brilliant six-year-old kittens, Aki and Edgar Allan Poe have been strictly indoor cats; we wondered if there was a really safe way to give them the opportunity to experience the “great outdoors”. Due to what we considered to be safety concerns, we rejected the idea of ​​installing a cat flap. In fact, it never made it to our to-do list. Although many cat sitters we’ve spoken to are considering installing one; I hope this article will help them make their decisions.

The Pros and Cons of Pet Doors:

Since pet doors can provide furry friends with the convenience of coming and going as they please, many cat sitters like the idea of ​​installing a pet door. But for anyone considering having one in their home, there are some major safety issues to consider before buying one.
Sean Kane, President of Safety Research & Strategies, has traveled across the country to do extensive research on pet door safety. During his extensive study, he learned that over the years more than a hundred children have nearly drowned or tragically drowned or been seriously injured while trying to climb out through a cat flap installed in their own home or in a friend’s home.
Kane learned about these regrettable accidents by reading news articles, interviewing public health experts and consulting with the Consumer Product Safety Commission. He also learned of information gathered from coroners’ and medical examiners’ offices about tragic accidental deaths that pet doors were believed to have caused. Kane said: “But the total number to date underestimates the true scale of the problem because most accidental drownings are categorized only by cause of death or injury and do not identify how the child gained access to the water.”

The Pros and Cons of Pet Doors:

Kane also suspects that people think installing a cat flap is perfectly safe since the size of the most common types of cat flaps are usually similar to a standard sheet of paper, or even smaller. Because of this misconception, people mistakenly think that their children are far too big to access through a pet door and be able to crawl through. In reality, however, the average three-year-old boy weighs around 38 pounds and can fit through the opening easily. In fact, medium-sized cats or larger can use these cat flaps without any problem.

Cat sitters should be aware of some of the other dangers cat flaps can cause. In bad weather, raccoons, opossums, rats and other small critters can easily enter the house. All in all, when you think about it, is having a pet door really such a good idea? According to this writer, having a pet door is definitely not worth the risk.

However, for cat sitters who need to get a pet door and are willing to take those risks, there are a few alternative door styles that excel the commonly installed flimsy flap gates that many people buy. Although sturdier pet doors are a bit more expensive than the more common flip-up ones, since the first priority is child safety, isn’t the peace of mind worth the extra cost?

In order to prevent tragic accidents from occurring, it goes without saying that if there is a swimming pool in your garden, it is essential to install the cat flap in a safe place which is not near the swimming pool. . Also, make it a habit to open the pet door personally if you let your cat out near the pool. To help pet sitters learn more about the dangers of pet doors and how to keep those doors safer, visiting this website is a must!

Photo credit: Flickr user marie14Title

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