Cat Flaps or Cat Doors Undermine Security

by Michael
(London, UK)

I am not a burglar! Just playing. Photo by Adam Melancon (Flickr)

I am not a burglar! Just playing. Photo by Adam Melancon (Flickr)

Cat flaps can undermine the security of your home. I am not saving that they are a critical factor in making your home less secure against burglars but there is no doubt that they are a weakness and we should do all we can to strengthen security particularly at times of financial hardship, such as during a depression or recession, as this is when burglaries tend to increase.

It appears that cat doors in the US are generally larger than those in Europe or at least the UK. A dog flap or door or a multipurpose one is certainly larger.

They may be large enough for a thin or small person to crawl through. Generally they will be far too small for that but they still present a security risk.

Let's take what might be a typical scenario. You have a cat flap (called "cat doors" in the US) in the back door of your home. The back door is not overlooked but there is fairly easy access to it from the street.

You tend to come into your home through the back door. You put your keys down on a counter top and forget about them. The keys are say 7 feet from the back door. Not problem you think. You aren't even thinking about security because you have never been burgled.

You go to bed. A burglar can put his arm through the cat door and using a long thin stick he or she can fish the keys off the counter top to steal the keys. He or she may come back weeks later and enter your property when you are away.

Even if the door has bolts on it the burglar can still get in by using a pole to release the bolts.

Keys should be placed well away from cat flaps and pet doors. And cat or dog doors should be small enough to prevent small people crawling through them.

In the following video two burglars entered through a "pet door".

This must have been a very large pet door! What is interesting is that the owner had internal security cameras (hence the video) and the images where transmitted to her work place. She saw it happen and called the police. The burglars were caught apparently.

This seems a bit odd to me because she had great internal security and systems but a wide open entrance to the property. It is far better to prevent criminal behavior than to have systems that allow you to catch criminals.

Anyone who has suffered a burglary, and I have (at night), will know how it affects you. Police under rate its impact on the home owner's mental state. The experience can stay with you for years and affect sleep for years. It can make you feel insecure and it might force a house sale.

Cat flaps or cat doors are extremely useful and commonplace but they pose a potential security risk. We should always be vigilant and present simple barriers to the casual burglar.

Michael Avatar

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Cat Flaps or Cat Doors Undermine Security

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Apr 16, 2011 Good point
by: Michael

Good point Ruth. Many parents are so bad that they teach their children how to steal or give them alcohol at a very young age.

Incidentally when I was in my teens and forgot my keys I used to get into my parents' house using the method described!

Michael Avatar

Apr 15, 2011 Children used to commit crimes
by: Ruth (Monty's Mom)

If your pet flap can admit a child you have a real problem. Nasty people do use their own children to help them steal. When my late husband and I lived in an upper flat a family rang the bell one day stating they were raising money for some school fund raiser. While they distracted Dan showing him a catalog of items for purchase the smallest child started climbing up the stairs. Dan retrieved him before he got very far. Later, I told Dan it was a scam-- they never ask for the money upfront with that kind of thing. The police came to our door soon after and informed us that while the family distracted the person at the door, the little boy had been taught to sneak in and look for the money and jewelry. People called the cops when they discovered the missing items. I didn't see that little boy, but I heard him coming up the steps. He was younger than four years old, because he still climbed steps one at a time. By four kids can go up one foot after another like an adult, by five they can come down that way. He was under four years old and they'd already taught him to steal. He hadn't mastered stairs yet, but he was already a competent little thief.

Apr 14, 2011 Broken into twice
by: Elisa

My place was burglarized twice before I moved in. So I now have bars on my windows on the ones low enough for a burglar to break and sneak in. Now my cats play on the bars. It's their jungle gym. I also have keyed deadbolts on the door. So if someone comes in thru a window they can't get out thru the door.

Also have several smoke detectors since a fire could be doubly dangerous. But I feel my home is safe.

BTW my dog Dreyfuss discovered blood on the floor behind the curtain after the second break in. So he may have helped solve the case. I never found out. You never get your stuff back.

The police told me if I was broke into again to shoot the person. I have a better idea. I'll wait for him to trip on one or more of my cats. Then I'll give Dreyfuss the secret word and let him tear the person apart.


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