Hay: How to install a cat door

First, obtain a cat. Pretty well any cat will do, because as we dog people know, cats aren’t nearly as smart as dogs, but they are much more clever. And they are more caring than dogs – as long as they are caring only about themselves, and unlike their canine cousins who want to be as close to humans’ laps as humanly possible, cats are genetically predisposed to have to be on the other side of any door they are currently scratching.

If they are inside they insist on being outside. Unless of course they are outside whereupon they do as much damage as possible to get back inside.

So once you have a cat, trust me, you’ll want a cat door. This is a small rectangular opening in the bottom of a regular door that has a flap so your Queen of the Universe can enter and exit upon every fleeting cat whim.

I speak from a certain iota of experience. We (meaning the Better Half) accidentally acquired a cat last year. We (me) had no intention of getting a fickle feline when suddenly the B.H. “happened” to enter a pet store. A pet store that happened to have a local animal rescue agency with a pitifully sad cat in a cage.

Chicklet is now a full-fledged member of our family. No, in reality, she rules the family with an iron paw, as cats always do. She is now a (sort of) “trained cat” – which is an oxymoron if I ever heard one – in that she stays in the yard (sort of). She only escapes occasionally on account of I heavily barricaded the fences, gates, hedges and any other minuscule potential escape portals. I swear, an ant couldn’t get out of our yard, so how come we sometimes find our F.C. (Fat – I said “Fat” – Cat) sitting nonchalantly on the front step. But we soon got tired of the chubby Chicklet scratching at one side or the other of the back door every 45 seconds. Hence: a cat door.

Step Two: make sure you have a door in your house that leads to your yard.

Three: measure your cat. You’ll need to know the height from the floor to the top of her fluffy fur-shedding shoulder. Be sure to measure when the cat is standing, and not asleep on the kitchen table.

Four: purchase an overly expensive cat door that is three sizes larger than your cat. This is in case you can talk your B.H. into letting you get a labradoodle as soon as possible and your cat door will become a dog door.

Five: Go on YouTube and search: “How to install a cat door”. This is where you realize you don’t have the right tools. Or skills.

Six: Say to yourself incredulously: “You mean I have to cut a large hole in our back door??”

Seven: Cut a large hole in your back door.

Eight: Notice that the hole you just cut is crooked. Extremely crooked. Noticeably askew. In fact, it looks like the Leaning Tower or Pizza.

Nine: Force the plastic cat door frame into the incredibly crooked hole in the bottom of your back door. Use a hammer if necessary (it will be necessary). Bolt it in place crookedly.

Ten: Sit back and watch as the cat scratches the paint of your back door because she refuses to use or even acknowledge the expensive, nightmare-to-install, pathetically crooked cat door.

Eleven: Phone your friend Dave to come over and hang a very expensive replacement door equipped with a new preinstalled (by Dave) cat door.

Twelve: Get a labradoodle.

Harley Hay is a local writer and filmmaker.

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