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Can you recommend an "unpickable" locking cat flap to thwart a feline Houdini?

(38 Posts)
Fozzleyplum Fri 26-Feb-16 09:22:03

We have an adult cat and 2 kittens. The kittens are not allowed out at all yet, and we like to keep the adult in at night as his brother was killed on the road early one morning.

We installed a Sureflap brand locking catflap with a dial at the bottom to allow various locking options.

Our very strong and cunning tomcat learned to turn the dial to let himself out. As if that wasn't enough, he then pulled the dial off! I thought I'd thwarted him by gaffer taping it into the "in but not out" position, so that during the day, he can lift the flap up to let himself out, but the kittens can't. At night, I taped the inside of the flat shut. It took him about 10 seconds to remove all the gaffer tape and get out (trailing the tape from his paws!).

I have accepted that I need to replace the flap with one that he can't pick. Any ideas please?

cozietoesie Fri 26-Feb-16 09:27:53

I seem to recall that another poster had a problem with a feline escapologist and managed to sort it with the assistance of Sureflap themselves - by putting a small additional fitment on. (They apparently have great after-sale services.) Keep an eye on this thread in case they comment.

Bright cat. smile

Fozzleyplum Fri 26-Feb-16 09:33:28

Thanks, cozie. I'd had a quick look to see if anyone else had posted about this, but I didn't find that. Will have another look.

My only other option would be to keep the flap we've got, and move something (very) heavy in front of it at night. Ideally, though, I'd like a flap which is unpickable in the "in but not out" position, so that we don't have to lock the flap manually behind him if he comes in late.

potap123 Fri 26-Feb-16 09:33:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Fozzleyplum Fri 26-Feb-16 09:39:18

Thanks Patap. That's the one we've got, but it only works to keep in a cat who does not pick/remove the lock!

potap123 Fri 26-Feb-16 09:39:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

potap123 Fri 26-Feb-16 09:40:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Fozzleyplum Fri 26-Feb-16 09:48:34

Thanks Potap. I'm online to Sureflap now - their customer service is certainly impressive.

They're going to send me a new lock in case the cat has broken the existing one, but they say they don't have a way of covering a rotary lock. So unless anyone has found an unpickable cat flap, I'll have to go with the "heavy object" option.

cozietoesie Fri 26-Feb-16 09:56:51

I definitely think someone got something from them to put over it - a little plastic shield perhaps? You only need something for a day or two - until he realises that it's a No Go on the escaping and stops trying.

On the other hand. If he's really good.............

potap123 Fri 26-Feb-16 14:02:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Archfarchnad Fri 26-Feb-16 15:37:31

"I definitely think someone got something from them to put over it - a little plastic shield perhaps? "

I think that was a slightly different problem with the Sureflap, whereby cats could hook the door towards them with a claw and thus overpower the microchip mechanism. I'm not sure I've ever heard of a cat manipulating the actual rotary dial - we have enough of a problem turning it despite opposable thumbs.

Fozzleyplum Fri 26-Feb-16 15:50:59

Thanks all. Sureflap said they don't have an extra guard for this type of dial, so I'm going to investigate other brands. The cat is incredibly dextrous, but we may have worse to come....one of the kittens does actually have thumbs!

cozietoesie Fri 26-Feb-16 17:33:50

Ah - thanks for that, Arch. smile Fozzley - is there no way you can yourself adapt something to fit over it?

Strewth - opposable thumbs is the only advantage humans have.

cozietoesie Fri 26-Feb-16 17:37:52

PS - in general, I'm in favour of contacting the manufacturer because they might have encountered the problem before or - if it's common - be in the process of developing a solution etc etc.

Houdinicat doesn't sound that common to me, sadly.

Fozzleyplum Sat 27-Feb-16 10:56:37

Quick update - I put a large metal kitchen bin in front of the catflap last night. It had been moved away by this morning and Rumble the Houdinicat had picked the lock again. Am going to look at the Petport flap...or find a heavier bin.

Here's a picture of the culprit, relaxing between escapology performances.

blueemerald Sat 27-Feb-16 11:09:08

My mum has a Houdini cat too. She puts a medium piece of MDF against the door and two bags of cat litter to hold it in place. That was her last ditch attempt before moving the litter trays to another room and closing the door to the room with the catflap door.
She has also established a routine of serving dinner just before the flap is locked for the night. If anyone does get out after dinner (by escaping or bolting out the door, they definitely know they are not supposed to) they get basic rations until the next evening. It perhaps sounds cruel but she lives on the South Circular and is terrified the cats (she has 6) will get run over.

cozietoesie Sat 27-Feb-16 13:04:09

Fozzley

Do you have a handyman perchance? (Or even eg an FIL with some spare time.) I think I'd be challenging them to develop something. Chip flaps aren't cheap and if it comes to binning the Sureflap and betting on Houdinicat's chances with a Pet Porte.......?

Well my money is staying in my pocket. grin

cozietoesie Sat 27-Feb-16 13:07:26

PS - he's a handsome lad but isn't that a definitely smug sleeping pose? grin

Fozzleyplum Sat 27-Feb-16 17:36:40

Cozie - he leaves a trail of smug! The replacement lock from Sureflap arrived this morning (and I communicated with customer services only yesterday!). It turned out that one of the pins in the original lock was broken(I blame Rumble) and so it was too easy to turn. Will see how w e go, but if it solves the problem, I'll just ask for another lock if Sir manages to break this one.

Thanks all for your advice.

cozietoesie Sat 27-Feb-16 17:51:15

Ooooh. Fingers crossed!

smile

cozietoesie Sat 27-Feb-16 17:53:28

PS - are there any extra games you can play with him or something? He's going to be in such a bad mood if he can't open it. wink

cozietoesie Sat 27-Feb-16 18:40:49

PPS - I think I'd still try to put some other little barrier there for him to tackle first if you can do it without damaging the new lock. He's going to be real focussed on busting it again so I'd be trying to take the edge off him just a little before he tackled the lock itself. Make it look a bit different to him.

Never thought I'd feel sorry for a cat flap lock! smile

potap123 Sat 27-Feb-16 23:25:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Fozzleyplum Sat 27-Feb-16 23:31:26

Our garden has 6' high fences and is already escape proof for our rabbit, who has free range during the day. Rumble (Houdinicat) runs up the fence as if it was horizontal, so I think we'd have to put a roof over the whole garden! The vet at his last check commented on his size and the fact that he's solid muscle, so there's going to be no containing him.

I'm going to try setting the flap in the locked position tonight and see how we get on now the new lock is on. If he gets out, I'll resort to trying some of the ideas all you lovely people have suggested.

cozietoesie Sat 27-Feb-16 23:38:18

Good luck - although I suspect you'll be lying awake half the night listening for sounds from that direction! grin

Might be the best thing to also have the kittens neutered right at the recommended 4 month stage if they haven't had their ops already. (Plus shots etc.) If Houdinicat escapes, there's no knowing but that they might follow him one night when the blood is singing in their veins.

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