Getting in a flap

I decided today would be dry enough to finish fitting the cat flap in the back porch door. I enlisted Colin’s help once again in holding the door while I unscrewed it. We laid it on the sawhorses outside up so that I could jigsaw across the flat side, which I thought would be easier.

The drill was all charged up, and I’d bought an RCD and an extension wire for outside use, so plugged them in, then plugged the jigsaw in and tested the RCD. It seemed to work.

A lot of faffing and unsurety with the jigsaw later, a piece of wood fell to the ground from the door. Success! I was a bit puzzled though: the jigsaw didn’t seem to want to go round the curves in the cat flap outline, but I thought this was the entire point of a jigsaw. I solved this problem by drilling more holes. It seems drills are crucial when it comes to jigsawing.

Once the hole was made, we turned the door over so it was inside up. I fitted the inside of the flap in the hole. The inside part of the flap is the part without the flap itself. I drew the screw holes on the wood, snapping my pencil lead in the process. Then I got out the drill again and found a drill bit that seemed to be the right sort of size, and drilled four holes that I hoped were in the right place and that were perpendicular to the door.

The instructions said to check the depth of the door and use either just the screws or the screws with adaptor things. I measured the depth of the door; the screws weren’t long enough.

Of course, we didn’t have any screws of the right diameter and length knocking about, so I went to Screwfix and asked for a nail of this diameter — at which point, I proffered a screw supplied with the cat flap — and of this length — at which point, I proffered a slightly too wide screw of the correct length. The assistant took the screws and measured them against a gauge. It’s like people go in all the time with random screws they want more of.

She asked how many did I want. I said I wanted four screws. She said they come in boxes of 200. I got one box.

Back at home, I discovered that half of the holes were not perpendicular and not in the right place. I adjusted them with the drill, and screwed on the other side of the cat flap, the side with the flap on it, testing it to make sure it flapped suitably. It did.

I pushed on the screw covers. Colin held the door up against the frame and I screwed it back in. It still closed ok, and the flap still flapped when pushed. I closed the back porch window, which had been open all the time so Mr Perkins had somewhere safe and dry to go if necessary. All we needed now was a cat.

Some time later, Mr Perkins appeared. He went straight to the cat flap and peered in. I had some of his favourite sweeties — some awful smelling chicken and duck slices with catnip — with which to entice him in. He showed no sign of attempting to push the flap open from his side, so I pushed it open from my side. He came straight in, ignoring the proffered sweetie until he’d lain himself down on the living room floor.

He wanted to go out again later. This time, I pushed it with my hand to show him what to do. He got the idea and pushed it with his paw, but he didn’t follow through with the rest of him, so he was stuck for some time. Eventually, he worked it out, and he went out into the sunshine. It was a different story when he wanted to come back in. He was totally stumped, and despite me showing him how to do it many times, I had to open the human flap for him.

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