The Cat Hole

The inspiration for this project would be better described as desperation.  We have two cats, and they more or less drive me insane.  But it’s worth it for the 5-10 seconds of affection they provide each day.  Of primary concern in the laundry list of items that all cat owners can sympathize with was the litter box situation.  This was further complicated by the fact that we have a dog.  Dogs love cat poop.  This is a simple fact of life.  From my dog’s point of view, the cat is more or less a pez dispenser, and the litter box is a serving dish.  As a responsible cat/dog owner, this results in desperate attempts to separate your cat’s bathroom from your dog’s determined nose.  We ended up with a system of baby gates and always shut doors to achieve some form of peace.

Eureka! Cats are smaller than dogs

This simple notion gave merit to an idea that I’ll detail below.  If there is a room (in our case a basement) that you only want the cats to access, create a cat sized door to restrict the dog access.  A quick search yielded a variety or cat doors, flaps, and other contraptions that were all pretty ugly and kludgy.  So one night at dinner, I simply announced “I’m going to cut a whole in the wall for the cats.”  10 minutes after the plates were cleared, the tool bag was out and the project was underway.

So, here is our starting point.  This is our basement door.  On the bottom right, you see the target area for the “feline portal.”  There is an old register there that has been duct taped over.  The goal is to create a passage way that allows the cats free reign in and out of the basement.

Step 1:  Rip off the baseboard and shoe molding, and cut out a section of drywall to see what were dealing with.  Take that old vent and just hammer it into the wall.  It’s gonna get covered over with new drywall.  On the left side, we have 2 wires running between the studs, so that’s a no-go.  Looks like those middle two studs are the target area.

Step 2: On the opposite wall, the outer covering is 3/4″ beadboard.  So I cut a square hole using a sawz-all about the size of your average cat.  My daughter thought this was fantastic.  The cat was unamused.

Step 3: Now, cut a new piece of drywall and just cover the whole thing up.  Since we already cut the hole on the back side, we’ll be able to use that as the template to cut out the new drywall hole.

Step 4: Using the sawz-all from the back side, cut out the matching hole in the new drywall.

Step 5: Test fit your largest cat.  This was a but snug, so we made the hole an inch or two larger all around.

Step 6:  Trim everything out.  Add new baseboard and shoe molding.  I cut the top section off some extra baseboard and wrapped it around the whole to make a nice continuation of the trim detail.

Step 7:  Start finished the drywall.  A couple of coats of dry-dex and some sanding and we’re nice and smooth!

Step 8: Caulk all of the new trim.

Step 9: Paint with some nice semi-gloss trim paint.  Extra white.

Step 10: Let the cats enjoy!  Seriously, they go in and out of this hole ALL day long.  It is probably their favorite part of the house, and it keeps their litter box out of sight!  Love it.

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