how does a microchip cat flap work

You know these technical solutions are a lot more secure when you want to give your feline friend access to your home. However, it’s not always easy to figure out exactly how does a microchip cat flap work to be able to distinguish your cat from the neighbour’s pet.

Just about every modern cat owner has a story about when an unwanted intruder entered their home after installing an old-fashioned cat flap. As a result, smart microchip cat flap products have grown increasingly popular in recent years. With a standard cat flap, it’s practically impossible for a cat owner to determine which cats should be able to enter their home, and which animals should stay out.

On the other hand, microchip cat flaps respond specifically to your pet. You can even program certain cat flaps to respond to more than one feline – making them ideal for multi-cat households with many roaming felines on the property.

Here’s what you need to know about microchip cat flaps.

What Is a Microchip Cat Flap?

a feline pet resting The modern microchip cat flap or cat door was designed as a solution to help homeowners to stop the tom cat down the street from coming into their house whenever they choose. While many pet owners like to allow their cats to explore the great outdoors, a traditional pet door didn’t offer much control over which animals came and went.

Modern microchip cat flaps are different. These devices can identify your visitors by scanning the microchip codes of each cat as they enter your household. This means that only your own cat will have the freedom to come and go. You can easily remove access to other problem critters like other cats, and even foxes.

Many of the leading pet companies in the UK now offer their own version of the battery-operated microchip cat flap. Some will work with a chip on your cat’s collar, while others simply scan the chip within your cat’s skin. This makes it easier to avoid issues when collars go missing.

How Does a Microchip Cat Flap Work?

There are various kinds of microchip cat flap out there, each with different features and programming to offer. As microchip technology becomes more advanced, companies are even beginning to create new devices that can operate with microchip technology.

The great thing about microchip cat flaps is they’re often an easy replacement for any cat door you might already have installed. Many come with optional adapters and tunnel extenders that you can place in the existing gap where your cat flap used to be. Not only does a microchip cat flap stop unwanted animals from getting into your house, but they can be great for dog owners, too.

With your microchip cat flap, you give your cat the freedom to run in and out of the garden, without giving your pooch free roam at the same time.

But how does this technology work? That depends on the kind of cat flap you install.

The majority of microchip cat flaps use sensor technology and a scanner to sense the identification chip in your cat. Most pet owners are required to have their cats chipped today. This ensures that all vets and other animal control groups will be able to identify your cat if it goes missing. Since the microchip is unique to your cat, you program the cat flap so it only opens when it senses that chip. This stops all other pets from coming in.

The microchip cat flap reduces the risk of intrusion and limits access to your house. Plus, it’s very easy to get these devices set up. Once you’ve got your microchip for your cat implanted at the vet’s office, you can start searching for the right device for your needs.


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How Do You Set-Up a Microchip Cat Flap?

Programming a microchip cat flap is pretty simple in most cases, the best ones are essentially plug-and-play. Your device will come with instructions included that can show or tell you what to do.

Along with your microchip cat flap, you’ll also need to know your cat’s code. You can generally either enter the code into the cat flap with an LCD screen or use something called a “learning mode” to allow the system to scan your cat’s chip as he or she walks through it.

Most cat owners will choose the learning mode to simplify the installation process, but you may also be able to choose other settings. Some microchip cat flaps will only recognise the first chip it senses, then refuse to learn any further codes from additional animals. There is a range of different products for cats from companies like Cat Mate and Sureflap and each will have its own capabilities.

In normal conditions, your microchip cat flaps should remain closed and locked, preventing any other cats from entering your house. However, you’ll still have a way to offer easy cat access to your feline. The flap can respond to a chip in your cat’s collar or one between its shoulder blades.

Keep in mind that once you get your catflap technology set up, you will need to ensure it has consistent access to power. This is the most important bit of using a microchip cat flap. Check the reviews of all the products you’re interested in to see how long the battery will last. It’s also helpful to find a product that takes common batteries like AA or AAA, rather than C cell batteries that are harder to find.

You don’t want your batteries to run out in the middle of the night and lock your pets outside. If you can, consider buying a cat flap with a battery life indicator light. This will let you know when your battery is about to run out.

What Are the Common Features of a Microchip Flap?

As mentioned above, there are various microchip cat flaps from different companies like SureFlap and Cat Mate. Each of these devices will be designed to make life easier for cat owners and their cats, but the exact features might differ. For instance, most cat flaps with microchips will have a range of locking and timer control options to choose from. For instance, you could:

Enable Selective Entry and Exit

This is the standard setting for most Cat Mate and Sureflap products with microchips. It ensures that only pets registered with the flap can enter and exit your house. You can set the system up to recognise multiple cats and save money on a pesky draught excluder at the same time.

Use Timer Control

Timer control is a common feature on some microchip cat flaps. This capability means that the flap will only work at certain times of the day. If you don’t want your cats running in and out of the house late at night, this setting could be most beneficial to you.

Set-Up a Smart Cat Flap

Some cat flaps with microchips are smarter than others. These smart devices can sometimes be controlled through an app on your phone. They also allow you to check your cat’s roaming habits and set a safety mode for certain times of the day. Some products from companies like Sureflap give you full control of the flap functionality through a cat flap connect app. You can even check the life span of your batteries and get an alert when one of them is about to die.

One thing to remember is that you will need to constantly power your cat flap and track its power levels. Cat owners using these smart cat flaps will need to stay on top of battery life to ensure their cats don’t get locked out when the device loses all of its energy.

Is a Microchip Cat Flap a Good Idea?

a feline staring at his exit door Only you can decide if a microchip cat flap is the one for you. If you’ve already invested in microchipping your cat, it may be a good idea.

Some cat owners swear by the benefits of microchip cat flaps, while others see these devices as a bit of an overly expensive update to their door. It all depends on how much control you want to have over the animals that come and go in your house. If you don’t have to worry much about all kinds of animals coming into your property, or you lock your cat flap door at night, a microchip product might not be right for you.

On the other hand, if you’re worried about other animals getting into your food, or disturbing your pets, getting an intelligent type of cat flap might not be the worst idea. With these devices, you can lock your cat flap when you choose, determine which cats should be identified as yours without a collar, and more.

Final Thoughts

If you want a way to protect your cats by deciding when they should be allowed out, or stop other cats from entering your home, a clever pet door may be the solution. There are plenty of products for cats available, so it’s just a matter of finding the one that works for you.

Once you have learned how does a microchip cat flap work, the process of setting it up and making it work to your specifications will make more sense.

Let us know if you have one and of your experiences with it!



  1. Thank you for publishing this article on microchip cat flaps, I have found it most informative and useful. Things have moved on since I last owned cats 30 years ago and I wasn’t sure what type of cat flap to install.

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