Category Archives: pet door

Seven Inventions Inspired by Cats and Dogs

inventions cat eyeBy Linda Cole

It takes a creative mind to find solutions that can make daily life easier or better. When there’s a need, someone can usually find a solution – often times in unlikely ways. Sometimes a creative invention is inspired by dogs and cats.

“Cat Eye” Road Reflectors

On a foggy night in 1933, Percy Shaw was driving home along a dangerous stretch of road with a perilous, sheer drop off on one side. Drivers knew where the edge of the road was when their headlights reflected off of tram tracks, but the tracks had been removed for repairs. As Shaw strained to see through the blackness, his headlights caught the eyes of a cat sitting on a fence. As he pondered the possibility of replicating how a cat’s eyes reflect light, an idea took shape to make dark and dangerous roads safer for drivers. Shaw began manufacturing reflective road markers in 1935. Today reflective “cat eye” road studs are incorporated in roads worldwide.

Safety Thumbtack

Biomimicry is science that studies nature to find solutions to problems. The thumbtack was invented in 1903 by Mick Clay, an English inventor. Looking to nature to find a better way to construct the tack, New York design engineer Toshi Fukaya wanted to improve the thumbtack to avoid pricked fingers when pulling one out of the box. His inspiration – the sheath of a cat’s claw. The new innovation in thumbtacks has a hollow silicone sheath that holds the pin inside until it’s pressed into a board, wall or other hard surface. When the tack is removed, the pin withdraws back into the silicone sheath.

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How to Install a Pet Door

By Tamara L. Waters

If you have a dog or cat that is inside but enjoys going outside, you might get tired of going to the door to let them out or back in. Installing a pet door can make it easier for you, and is a great DIY project.

Choose a pet door that is appropriately sized for your dog or cat. Check the size recommendations on the pet door packaging.

To begin the installation, you will need to do some measuring. Start by measuring the height of your pet’s chest from the ground. You don’t want to position the door too high or too low. If the floor inside is at a higher or lower elevation than the ground outside, you will need to average the measurements to settle on a height that is comfortable for your pet. Use masking tape to mark the elevation on the house door. This will be the mark for the bottom of the pet door.

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The Trade-Offs of Having Pets

By Julia Williams

I’ve heard it said many times that “when you have children, your life changes forever.” Having a child does significantly alter the way people live, on a daily basis as well as long term. To a lesser extent, the same can be said for having pets. Bringing a companion animal into our home requires that we make lifestyle changes. There are things we have to choose between, and sacrifices we may need to make for the sake of our pet’s wellbeing, and sometimes our own. So what are some of the trade-offs of having pets?


Responsible pet owners give up the ability to leave town on a whim. If our animals are staying behind, then before we hit the highway or hop a plane to Cancun, we need to make arrangements for their care. In my opinion, that goes for cats too. I was once called sanctimonious for saying that cats shouldn’t be left to fend for themselves while their owners go away on vacation, but I stand by my belief. Dogs and cats are not capable of calling 911 or seeking emergency care in the event of an accident; as such, our duty as primary caregiver is to make sure they are looked after in our absence. I trade the freedom to take off at a moment’s notice, with the good feeling that comes from knowing my cats are well cared for while I’m away.


Having pets requires that we give up a lot of this precious commodity. Our animals rely on us to feed them, shop for their food, clean up after them, play with them and groom them. Dogs also need regular exercise in the form of walks, runs, or trips to the dog park. Very often, our lives can be so busy that these things feel more like a “chore” instead of a labor of love. Be that as it may, they aren’t optional. Responsible pet owners willingly trade their time in order to properly care for their animal companions.


There is no denying that pets are expensive. Some cost more than others, but all require that we trade money for the privilege of having them in our life. When adopting a pet, many people fail to consider just how much money it takes to care for them, and they are caught unawares. Add in unexpected expenses like accidents, illness or an aging pet, and you can quickly see that pet ownership does not come cheap.

A monetary trade-off I recently made involved my pet door. Because it’s drafty, I close it off in the winter, and my cats stay inside 24/7. However, Mickey gets rather irritated with that arrangement and he scuffles with Rocky, particularly late at night. One night while I was in bed, a cat fight took place on my face, so after examining my scratched cheek I made a decision: I opened the drafty pet door so I could have two cordial cats. This seems like a pretty good trade-off to me.

A spotlessly clean house

Dogs and cats shed, and they make messes. They track in mud, dirt, plant debris and other unsavory things that muck up our floors and soil our carpets and furniture. Choosing a short haired breed lessens the shedding problem somewhat, but not entirely. You can religiously vacuum, scrub and dust, but the reality is that a home with pets is not going to be spotlessly clean all of the time. Sometimes this can be embarrassing, such as the time a delivery person sat in a chair my cat had slept in. When he turned to leave, I saw that the seat of his pants was entirely covered in cat hair! (And no, I didn’t brush it off, nor did I say a word).

Many pet owners also choose to forego expensive furnishings and/or fragile items that can’t be placed where they won’t get knocked off by a wagging tail or a climbing cat. I don’t put a cover on my couch and I let my cats sleep on my bedspread, because I choose not to buy overly pricey things. This way, it’s not a big deal to me if they get wrecked by cat claws or gastric “accidents.”

Certainly, pet ownership is not without trials and tribulations. But then, isn’t that the very nature of our existence? My own life so far has been a series of happy times entwined with sad and challenging times. Having pets, or not having them, wouldn’t change this. It’s true that over the years, I’ve made many trade-offs in order to have pets. I’m sure you have too. But when I think of all the things I’ve given up or had to forego, there isn’t a single one I would choose over the love and companionship of my feline friends.

Read more articles by Julia Williams

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

How to Teach Your Dog to Use a Pet Door

By Ruthie Bently

We recently installed a pet door so our cats can go in and out, and I was reminded of trying to teach Nimber to use a dog door to go out. Pet doors can be a blessing, as your pet can let themselves out and you don’t have to play doorperson 24 hours a day. Nimber’s door was actually installed in a kitchen door so he could go out into the garage when I wasn’t home, as my house didn’t have air conditioning.

I was lucky because Nimber picked it up right away. But what if you have a “nervous Nelly” that doesn’t want to go through the door, or is afraid of what might be on the other side? By using patience (and in some cases treats, such as the CANIDAE Snap-Bits®) they can be taught to use the door and help free up some of your time for other things. Another plus is that they can let themselves out if they have to go potty, and you can’t get to the door fast enough.

There are many types of pet doors available these days: patio door doggie doors, styles that go through screens, doors that seal with magnets, and even doors you can program to your own pet. Some are even available with an almost clear door panel, so your dog can see through to the other side of the door without stepping through it. Every door comes with a locking panel, so you can make the door solid to keep other animals from getting into your pet’s space or your house. Training time varies from dog to dog; I was able to train Nimber to use the door on his own in about a week or two.

After I installed the door I showed it to Nimber, first with the garage door open and then with the garage door closed. I went into the garage while Nimber was in the kitchen and pushed the flap of the door into the house so Nimber could see me through the door. I had a cookie in my hand and showed it to Nimber through the open flap in the dog door. I called his name repeatedly to coax him to the door and later, through it. As he got closer to the cookie, I withdrew my hand back into the garage. I got him right up to the door and as he was reluctant to put his head through the door, I gave him the cookie.

We kept training until Nimber would go through the door on his own. We trained for about 15 minutes every day, just enough time for Nimber to get the idea, but not long enough for him to get bored. We made a game out of it and sometimes there would be a toy on the other side of the door for him.

After he learned to go through the door on his own, we gave him lots of hugs, kisses and praise instead of the treats. These meant more to him than the cookies did anyway, I am happy to report. I haven’t installed a dog door yet for Skye, as we don’t have the right kind of house door. But that will probably be the next step, and I will let you know how we do.

Read more articles by Ruthie Bently

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.