A pet door or pet flap (also referred to in more specific terms, such as cat flap, cat door, dog door, or doggie door) is a small portal in a wall, window or human door to allow pets to enter and exit a house (or other structure) on their own without needing a person to open the door. Originally simple holes, the modern form is a hinged and often spring-loaded panel or flexible flap, and some are electronically controlled. They offer a degree of protection against wind, rain, and larger-bodied intruders entering the dwelling. Similar hatches can let dogs through fences at stiles. A related concept is the pet gate, which is easy for humans to open but acts as a secure pet barrier, as well as innovative automated left- or right-handed pet doors.
Several types of pet doors that allow selective access are available. The advantages of this type of pet door over simpler models are improved weather resistance, and home security against strays and other unwanted animals. Some use a permanent magnet mounted on the pet’s collar to activate a matching electromagnetic mechanism that unlatches the door panel when the magnet comes within range; several pets can be fitted with collars that match the same door. Pet doors with infrared locks open only when a collar-mounted device transmits the correct code to the latch’s receiver, allowing owners to have multiple flaps that different pets can use, e.g. a small cat flap to the back yard and a large dog door accessing a dog run. Either type can be used to selectively allow one pet outside access, while denying it to another (e.g., an ill animal that needs to stay indoors).
Answer: Thank you for your inquiry to Drs. Foster and Smith. Unfortunately, we do not have a gate that can extend or fit a 20 foot opening. The closest gate that would meet your needs is the Design Studio Freestanding & Pressure Mount Extra Wide Pet Gates 28″ high, 9N-84205. You would need to use more than one as they only extend out to 70” wide. This would weaken the strength of the gate. We apologize that we could not help you with your needs at this time. Please call us at 1-800-381-7179 with any further questions.Lrb
A related idea, essentially an opposite of the pet door, is the pet gate, an easily human-operated portal that keeps pets in (or out) and thwarts their attempts to open it, e.g. with a thumb-operated switch or a smooth door handle, and which is tall enough that it cannot be jumped over by the type of pet for which it was designed. Styles vary, but they are typically made of wooden or metal bars or a wire lattice, and have adjustable widths so that they can be used to span arbitrary entrances, hallways or windows. Common uses are to keep pets inside while ventilating a room by opening an unscreened door, or keeping pets out of a baby’s room or a dining area.
Instantly create a secure environment for your pet with our selection of adjustable pet gates, secure dog doors and versatile dog pens. Adjustable to fit most doorways, pet gates are an easy way to restrict your dog’s access to rooms, stairs and other off-limit areas of your home. Dog doors control outdoor access, and come in a variety of options from sliding door panels to mounted pet doors. Dog pens are free-standing enclosures that allow you to create a spacious yet secure place for your furry friend to play. All of our gates, doors and pens come in a variety of sizes, styles and materials to fit your pet’s needs and your home’s interior design.
In an apparent early modern example of urban legend, the invention of the pet door was attributed to Isaac Newton (1642–1727) in a story (authored anonymously and published in a column of anecdotes in 1893) to the effect that Newton foolishly made a large hole for his adult cat and a small one for her kittens, not realizing the kittens would follow the mother through the large one. Two Newton biographers cite passages saying that Newton kept “neither cat nor dog in his chamber”. Yet over 60 years earlier, a member of Newton’s alma mater Trinity college, one J. M. F. Wright, reported this same story (from an unknown source) in his 1827 memoir, adding: “Whether this account be true or false, indisputably true is it that there are in the door to this day two plugged holes of the proper dimensions for the respective egresses of cat and kitten.”
Some of the newest models use radio-frequency identification to electronically read a pet’s microchip implant. This removes the need for a cat to wear a collar, which could become lost. Other high-end doors use a key with RFID. The key is attached to the pet’s collar, and the electric door only opens for the assigned keys.
The simplest type are bottom-weighted flaps hung from the top of the opening, which swing shut on their own, but may be spring-aided to increase wind resistance. These flaps often feature magnets around the edges to help keep the door closed against weather and wind. Some doors have side-mounted hinges and more door-like operation—like a saloon door. These pet doors usually have a spring or other contrivance to force their closure after the pet has gone through. Instead of a rubber flap, saloon style doors are often made from plastic, acrylic, or plexiglas, and the panels are fitted with weatherseal to help keep weather outside.
Pet doors are generally designed to be safe for any pet. The panels are often designed with soft vinyl that does not trap or injure the animal. Cheap, easily replaceable pet doors are made from plastic and as such may not always be robust enough for large, boisterous pets.
Dog doors are common in suburban North America, where they mostly lead to fenced-in yards. Pet doors are also common between suburban homes and their attached garages, so that pet-related mess (cat box, dog food, etc.) can be kept in the garage with pets having free access.
Pet doors are most often fitted in a plywood or plastic panelled door, into which it is straightforward to cut a large round hole, but can also be fitted in brickwork or (if a sealed unit is obtained with the hole already provided) in a double glazed door. The latter is a relatively expensive option but may be the only alternative in some cases. Removable pet doors suitable for sliding glass doors are also available.
Another common feature is an adjustable catch to restrict the opening of the device to either one direction or the other; for example, to allow the pet to come in for the night, but not go out again until the owner releases the catch the next morning. Some pets, mostly cats with their retractile claws and flexible paws, learn to circumvent one-way pet doors, especially the “flap-within-flap” design.
Most also have a locking mechanism of some kind, and can be closed off by sliding a rigid plate into parallel rails on the left and right of the interior side of the pet door to close it off, e.g. during bad weather or when the owners are travelling with their pets.
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