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Magnetic cat door question

October 1st, 2006, 01:01 AM
I have a magnetic cat door installed in a wire dog kennel that houses the food for my 2 girls (long story). Yesterday, Rusty's magnet broke (the hole) and was stuck to the door. So I wrapped it in a thin piece of fabric, tied the fabric with a thread, and tied the thread to Rusty's collar. This afternoon, Rusty got herself trapped *in* the kennel when she picked up a screw that had fallen from the installation of a new electrical switch, and had gotten attracted to the magnet on her collar, and then stuck to the door (which also has a magnet), wedging it to the inside so she couldn't get out. I released her but didn't check for the magnet.
About an hour after that, I was brushing her, and noticed that the magnet was not on her collar. After a search of the kennel, the door, the house, and even outdoors (where she had been earlier in the day), the magnet was not found. As I'm checking the kennel one more time, Rusty sticks her head into the door, and it opens and she comes in. I was shocked. Then I took her collar off her and checked... and either the rings on the collar have become magnetized, and attract the magnet inside, or they're magnetic enough to just attract the magnet all by itself. Either way, she can currently get into the kennel. But for how long if it's just the rings that have been magnetized?

Does anyone else have a Staywell magnetic cat flap and noticed this?
Does anyone in Canada know if Petsmart or Petcetera will order me a new collar key? The few sites that I found had price ranges from 2 keys/$11 up to $15 each key. Once shipping was all done, I was looking at nearly $50 to get 2 from one site. I love my cats, but that seemed a bit steep for a key when the door itself cost that much. Would it work if I just go to the hardware store and buy a washer-shaped magnet (not as cute as the mouse-shaped one but a *lot* cheaper)?

Advice? Stories? Think I'm crazy and/or want to see pictures of the kennel setup? :p Please reply.


October 1st, 2006, 04:33 PM
No advice.. no stories.. but I was curious to see this set up and was wondering if you could tell the story on why you need it? :D

October 2nd, 2006, 05:50 PM
No advice.. no stories.. but I was curious to see this set up and was wondering if you could tell the story on why you need it? :D

That I can do. I will take some pics as soon as I clean up the mess in it right now (spilled litter, etc) and post them. I'll also see if I can get a video of one or both girls going in/out of it.

The story...
In the first apartment, Rusty had been eating on top the microwave and Aubrie on the floor, because Aubrie had a bit of a habit of eating all of Rusty's food plus her own, while Rusty was more of a muncher (Aubrie isn't a jumper so never got on the microwave). When I moved, Rusty then ate on top of a short bookshelf and Aubrie ate on the floor. Within a month of me moving, I became the new "mom" to a kitten so young he hadn't learned how to walk completely. For 6 weeks he lived in the bathroom 24/7, and then for another 6 weeks he was in there whenever I wasn't around to supervise (but not at night). When he became a full-time member of the family, he quickly showed his affinity to eating every morsel of food he could get into his mouth, and also that the food I was feeding Aubrie (for overweight cats) would make him vomit. In desperation, to keep Aubrie from starving to death and Taz from eating everything (and then getting sick), I had to find something. I bought the magnetic door without much idea how I was going to make it work. I had a couple chunks of 2x4 in my house, so I attached the door to those, wedged the whole apparatus against the opening of a vari-kennel and proceeded to try to train Aubrie to use it. I won't get into the details of pleading, begging, pushing her through it and trying to make her figure her way out, but after about 6 weeks, she'd figured out how to use it. Not long after that, Taz figured out how to get on top of the bookshelf and start eating Rusty's food. I moved her to the kitchen counter, where he was unable to get. Then I bought a condo, and while it was being built, I decided that though Rusty was eating on top of the kitchen counter in my current apartment, I didn't want her to in my condo. Figured it should be fine for her and Aubrie to share one bowl, but the vari-kennel wasn't going to work forever (in order to fill the bowl, I had to remove the magnetic door apparatus). Discovered the wire dog kennel when I was in the pet store one day (actually was considering an exercise pen section to put across the corner of my room). I had the luck to work at a place where there were tools that could cut through the thick wires on the kennel, so I took the end of the kennel that doesn't open and had them cut some of the wires out, and put the door in. Then I trained Rusty to use it (she was *much* easier to train). Her "key" was one that the store gave to me because some of the door packages had been opened and damaged, and this was "left-over" from one of those packages. Then I moved to my condo, and Rusty didn't go on the counters except when I forgot to put something she thought was yummy away.
When I moved to my current house, Aubrie reverted to her old habit of peeing on the floor, so I added a small litter box with "Cat Attract" litter to the kennel and haven't had a mess since.

I also added a cardboard "bumper" all the way around, as Taz had figured out if he put his foot through the wires, he could pull the food out of the bowl (at my condo, it was against the wall and the food was out of his reach; now it's in the middle of the room), which made him fat and sick.

Now I'm worried that if Rusty's collar is just the right kind of metal to pull the magnet and open the door that Taz will try to get in, and succeed. I'm thinking that because he's been dealing with this set up for most of his life (a little over 3 yrs) and long ago gave up about getting in the door that he won't try, but there's always a possibility with him (especially since he's on a diet).

I'll try to post pics & videos tonight or tomorrow. It'll make more sense to see it. Maybe I should patent this... ;) :offtopic:

Melissa :crazy:
(And I've just realized that time flies way too fast... Taz is 3?!?! Wow.)

Edited to add: Pictures of Rusty in the kennel here:
Videos here (sorry about the quality, lighting was an issue): (Rusty entering) (Rusty leaving, yes, weird camera angle).