We have been big fans of the SureFlap’s Cat Flap. Living in a neighbourhood full of cats meant that it was quite important to let our cats have their freedom. Since we have a couple of ‘bully cats’ in the neighbourhood, it was also important to keep them out. Their next product, the Microchip Pet Door Connect takes things a step further. With a connected hub and an associated app, you can always keep a tab on your pets.
The Pet Door Connect consists of two items:
- The Pet Door Connect: serving as a controlled pet door
- The Hub: Connects to the Pet Door and provides you with the ability to control and map your pets’ movements.
Installation of the pet door
The niggle with this device is that it caters to both cats and dogs. What this means as a cat owner is that the size of the pet door is bigger than your bog-standard cat door. If you already have a hole cut out for your cat door, you will have to adjust it. If you already have a dog, you probably don’t have much to worry about.
With this niggle dealt with, let’s focus on the installing the door. The process is reasonably simple, and same as installing any other pet door. You cut the template as needed, drill the holes for mounting screws, and off you go. The difficulty of this depends purely on where you want to fit this. Accessories that help you do this are available from their website.
Once installed, you can add your pets to the door. You can also do this by following your pets around and adding them manually with the pet door in close proximity with them.
Setting up the hub and app
In order to take full advantage of this device, you have to set up the hub and app. The process is reasonably simple:
- Take the hub out of its box, and connect it to your router via the ethernet cable provided. The niggle may be that your router may be far away from the installation of the door. I didn’t find this to be a problem. Another problem may be the lack of ethernet ports available on your router, or the lack of a router altogether.
- After this, install the app on your device. You may have to register or login if you already have done so.
- The app will let you find the hub and add it to your account. Once added, you can access this from anywhere.
- Once this is done, you can add your pet door.
It is important to add your pets before you add the door to the hub. While it shouldn’t cause a problem, the pets that were added didn’t appear in the app till we removed and re-added the door.
Once the door is added, you can look up the pets that you added, assign them names and add photos, etc to their profile. This will make it easier to track their movement as they use the door.
The app also lets you name the doors and the hub as needed.
Using the Pet Door
If your cat or dog are used to using a pet door, things shouldn’t be any different for them.
If inside, they should be able to force their way out as the pet door is open (by default) to any animal going out. When outside, it will only open for any pets you have already added.
You can change this behaviour by using the buttons on the door. This can be any of the following:
- Default – Any can go out, only your added pets can come in.
- Total lock – i.e. no movement in either direction
- Only allow inward movement for added pets, don’t let them out
- No movement in, only allow them to go out
- Set a timed curfew – so they can come in but cannot go out after a certain time.
At the end of the day, this product is all about making your house and your pets secure. This is reflected in the app and the door. While the door successfully lets your pets through, and prevents others, the hub lights up at every single movement, and the app sends you a notification.
Using the app
The Sure PetCare can be downloaded for iOS and Android phones. The app is reasonably simple to use. It works regardless of what network you are on, letting you change access settings from anywhere in the world.
It offers three tabs:
- Home – which lets you look at the general timeline of your door. This gives you both the pet status as well as the door status.
- Timeline – which focuses on each pet individually
- Lock – which lets you change the allowance characteristics of your door.
As each of your pet goes in and out, you also get notifications on your screen.
You can choose which pet you want to see more information on by using the menu on the left.
You can also make any changes to your pets or your door/hub through this menu as well. For example, you can choose whether your hub’s lights are fully bright, dim or totally off. For us, it was off.
The fact that you know whether your pet is at home or not, anywhere in the world, makes this a seriously useful piece of kit. You can go on holidays, be at work, have a house sitter for your pets, or just leave loads of food and take a day. Whatever you do, you will always have the piece of mind about your pets.
More information can be found on SureFlap’s website, linked above. The Microchip Pet Door Connect bundle (both the Microchip Pet Door Connect and the Hub) cost £159, while extra Pet Doors cost £119 each. You can buy both variations directly from their website.
This post has been sponsored by SureFlap. While the product may have been provided to us for testing, the review is honest and unbiased.