Cat Flap

I finally got the cat flap into the garage fixed. About a year ago, there was some kind of commotion that resulted in the door on the cat flap breaking. I was able to repair it but a repeat this Spring resulted in permanent damage. So the cat flap has been open all summer. With Fall, there are other animals coming in and it needed to get fixed.

The part that broken was the clear plastic door. Our cats like a rigid door that they can see through. Some of them charge right through but others tap the door with paw or forehead and take a peek before diving in. Also Mr. Hillard is a substantial 19 pounds (8.6 kg), (but not fat!). I previously, I got a larger flexible flap for the window and they did not care for it.

The flap is in the aluminum garage door which is effectively zero thickness. When I did the original installation, it was straightforward sheet metal work that the US Navy trained me for at taxpayer expense.

To get it fixed, I had had some e-mail correspondence with the manufacturer of the old door, Stay-Well. They offered replacement parts for the model 715 but could not tell me where I could buy a complete replacement locally. While I was on vacation, I went to Tractor Supply (they have a lot of pet supplies) and Pet Smart but both were out of the small inexpensive door and and only had the deluxe models with locks and magnetic keys. Our cats do not wear collars and “lose” them if they get them for flea treatment and such. So no kind of key system is appropriate. Just a simple door please. Tractor Supply was out on both visits. Pet Smart was out on the first two visits but the helpful person in the aisle said come back Tuesday. Well I did not make it back Tuesday but I did make it back 2 weeks later on Friday when I had to go up to Pep Boys on Laurens Road. So I stopped by and there was almost what I needed. The Stay Well I had before and the Petsafe door I could buy now are different sizes.

There are some other differences. The Petsafe door has a label which describes the flap as being clear. But the label is over the flap and you do not really see that it is dark gray. It has mounting for a wooden door but not a sheet metal door. And the trim which goes on the other side from the mounting is to be applied with double-stick foam. It does not have relief or sockets for the sheet-metal screws the are supplied.

Fortunately, the new door was wider than the old door. More of those taxpayer funded skills with a tip of the hat to Mr. Hooper, my eighth grade metal shop teacher.

Raise the door and rest it on a saw horse. Using the template provided with the new door, I marked the new cut line with a permanent marking pen. Clamp a block behind the door with a spring clamp and center punch the corner hole locations 1/16″ in from the corner so that the cut lines are tangent to the hole. Repeat for the other corner (corners if this is a new install). Drill the holes with a 1/8″ drill. Cut with a metal shear along the line. Draw file the edge of the hole and burnish with a drill rod or scribe to remove the burrs. Hold the door over the hole and get it aligned. Mark the screw hold locations with a pencil. Again clamp the backing block, center punch the holes, drill them with a 1/8″ drill. I used 1/2″ long 8-32 screw, nuts along with a washer to mount the door. I put the hardware in from the outside because I did not expect the trim frame piece to stick to the textured and simulated raised panel door. It is stuck on the inside. With the hardware in the weather, it will eventually corrode. I finished this up about 14:00.

The garage door was up most of the afternoon while we were working outside. I put it down at about 17:00. About 17:30, Mr. Hillard came through so things are fine.

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