How To Install a Cat Door [Solid/Hollow Doors & Walls]

Installing a cat door can be an easy task, but there are some things you need to take into consideration before getting started. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the steps for installing a cat door in both solid and hollow doors.

Plus, we’ll give you some tips on which type of cat door is best for your needs. Let’s get started!

Installing a Cat Door In a Solid Door

Installing a cat door only takes a few steps. This video can lead you through them. Otherwise, here are a few steps to keep in mind while installing your cat door.

1. Buy a Cat Door

The first step is to buy the cat door. You’ll want to measure your cat to ensure it can fit through the door. You should also check and see if the door comes with a template for installation. If not, then you’ll want to make one of your own.

2. Place Template Against Desired Location of Door

Take the template out of the box and stick it to the area where you want the door to be. If your cat door didn’t come with a template, then you can easily make one by measuring the tunnel–the part where the catwalks through–and creating that tunnel on a piece of paper.

Stick the template to the door and make a pencil outline around it. The outline should be dark enough that you can easily see it. Once the outline has been created, you can remove the template.

3. Place Holes at Each Corner

Using a drill, you’ll then want to drill a few holes at each corner of the tunnel. These will be used to fit the door into place. You’ll want to drill a hole on each side of the door to the depth described in the installation manual on the door you buy.

4. Cut From Each Corner

Following the outline that you made earlier, you’ll then need to use a jigsaw to cut from each corner. This should make the center of the tunnel pop out.

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5. Place Door in Hole

Now it’s time to place the door inside of the hole. Set the tunnel over the hole. You may need to cut away a bit more of the door to ensure the cat can walk through the door without catching on any extended wooden pieces.

Once the door is inside the hole, you can secure it with some screws. You should notice a few holes on the door where the screws go through. You’ll want to use a screwdriver to ensure it’s screwed into the door safely.

6. Test Door

Once the cat door is secured to the door, you’ll want to pass your hand through the tunnel a few times. This ensures that it can open and close easily without falling off of its mount. If you’re satisfied, then encourage your cat to use it.

You may find that the tunnel needs a bit more trimming.

Otherwise, you have successfully installed your cat door.

Can you put a cat door in a hollow door?

Yes, you can put a cat door in a hollow door, but you’ll need to build a frame for the hole. The frame should be made out of sturdy materials like wood or metal, and it should be big enough for the cat door that you purchased.

Once you’ve cut the hole and built the frame, all you have to do is attach the cat door to it. You can either use screws or nails to do this, or you can use a strong adhesive like epoxy.

Cat Door Installation for Interior Hollow Door

A hollow door is the easiest form of installation. This video shows how you can quickly install it.

1. Line Up Template

Using the template given by the cat door, line it up in the desired location of the door. It should be low enough that your cat can easily step through it. Once it’s level, cut holes into each corner. Remove the template and make lines from each corner that extend to the other corner.

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2. Cut Lines

Using the appropriate cutter like a jigsaw, cut along the lines to pop the tunnel out of the door.

3. Install Door

With the hole in place, put the cat door inside of the hole. Screw it in with the appropriate screw and then do the same for the other side of the door with the second piece of the cat door.

How To Install A Cat Door In A Wall

It’s also possible to install a cat door into the wall. While the process is a bit more difficult, following this video can help.

1. Measure Cat Height

The first step you need to take is to ensure the door aligns with the cat’s height. You can do this by measuring the cat’s shoulder. Where the cat’s shoulder rises to is where you should place the top of the tunnel. Depending on what cat door you bought, you may find that it has a marked line that needs to be matched up with your cat’s height.

Be sure to mark this area against the wall you intend to use for the cat door.

2. Find Studs

The next step is to find a stud for your wall. The door needs to be attached to the stud. Using a stud finder, you can locate a stud and mark it on the wall. You’ll then want to cut a hole beside the hole.

3. Mark Height of Door

With the hole cut, you’ll want to measure the height of the door. This is different from the tunnel or where the door comes up to your cat.

During this step, you’ll also want to use a level to mark the base of the cat door.

4. Line Template Up

Folding the bottom edge of the template where it’s indicated, you’ll want to place the template according to the marks that you made. In particular, you’ll need to line the bottom of the template with the base of the cat door mark you made earlier.

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5. Drill Holes in Corners

Using the correct size of a drill bit, drill holes in each corner of the template. Then remove the template and draw lines using a straight edge to each hole. This is the tunnel.

6. Cut Lines

Use a drywall saw to cut along the lines that you just made. Remove any insulation within the wall as well as any molding.

7. Slide Door In

Test to see if the door fits by placing it within the hole. Adjust as necessary. Then remove the door and place a cardboard center locator, or whatever comes with your specific pet cat door, inside of the back of the door. Then place the entire thing back inside of the wall.

You’ll want to make sure that the center locator is pressed against the wall once inside of it. Drill through each hole indicated on the center locator.

8. Take Template Outside and Drill

Line up the template with holes that you just drilled. Then tape it in place and drill holes in each corner like you did before inside of the home. Draw lines from each corner with a straight edge, and then cut them with an appropriate cutter for the exterior of your home.

9. Test Outside Door and Install Side Wooden Pieces

Place the exterior door inside of the hole to check to see if it fits. You’ll also want to install wooden blocks on the sides inside of the hole to add further security.

10. Screw Doors in Place

After everything fits perfectly, go ahead and screw the doors into place.

Can You Install a Cat Door Without Cutting the Door?

Yes, you can install a cat door without cutting the door. You just need to get a special cat door that is designed as an insert to a sliding glass door. There are many different types of cat doors available, so you should be able to find one that will work for your needs.

You can buy a premade cat door insert for sliding doors or you can make your own as shown in the video below.

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If you do not want to install a cat door, there are other options available for allowing your cat access outside. Many people choose to put a screened-in porch or balcony in their backyard where their cats can go outside safely. This is a great option if you don’t have room near your front door for a traditional cat door.

How to choose the right cat door height

The best way to choose the right height for a cat door is to measure from the top of your cat’s shoulders to the bottom of their chest. Then add 2 inches to that measurement and that is the ideal height for your cat door.

Most cats will be able to easily walk through a door that is 2 inches taller than their shoulder height, and this will ensure that they do not have to crouch down or jump up to use the door. If you have a particularly large or small cat, you may need to adjust the height of the door accordingly.

How Much Does It Cost To Install A Cat Door?

Installing a cat door can be pricey if you don’t know how to do it yourself. You also need to buy the tool necessary to install the door. For cat doors installed on doors that you do yourself, the price will likely extend anywhere from $50 to $150 if you’re buying your tools for the first time. Otherwise, the cost will likely only be based on the cat door itself any screws that you may need to buy.

Using a handyman to install your door can make it pricier. Depending on what handyman you choose, the cost can rest anywhere from $200 to $450. This largely depends on the complexity of the cat door, the door or wall it’s going to be installed in, and the length of time it takes to install the door.

Is It Hard To Install A Cat Door?

Installing a cat door into the wall is the most complex project. The easiest is installing a cat door into a hollow door. The installation process isn’t that complex, however, it does require knowledge of certain tools like saws, jigsaws, and drills.

Your best bet is to start with installing a cat door on a hollow door before moving up in difficulty to an exterior door and then to the wall.