Quiet, gentle and never blows open

Author: heather (Page 1 of 2)

Gift your pet a Petflap this Pet Appreciation Week

Gift your pet a Petflap this Pet Appreciation Week

pet appreciation weekDuring Pet Appreciation Week (6-12th June), we want to debunk some of the common fears around pet doors and encourage pet owners to gift their pet the freedom of a Petflap this year. There are many common fears and misconceptions surrounding pet doors, often surrounding safety, but here at Ecoflap we only provide the best for your pets, ensuring they are properly cared for.

Pet doors let draughts in

One of the most common misconceptions surrounding pet doors is that they let draughts inside. Our Petflaps do the opposite. The pet access flap is pressed more firmly shut with any change in air pressure, regardless of which side it comes from. This means that winds outside will push the door shut just the same as a breeze indoors would.

Our Petflaps are made up of several layers of insulating and durable materials. Tricoya, the material in the middle of the door sandwich, is weatherproof for over 70 years, ensuring you and your pet receive the best quality pet door possible.

Intruders can crawl through pet doors

This is virtually impossible as our standard Petflaps have access of 103mm x 187mm each side, which is far too small for most children to get through, let alone an adult. Our Petflaps also have a locking mechanism that can be locked open or shut for your extra peace of mind and to help train your cat to use the door. Check out our tricoya Maxflap door if your pet requires a larger door or, please get in touch to discuss your requirements.

Pet doors can hurt my pet

If the action of the flap is very strong or the animal is encourage to go through a space too small for them then a pet could be hurt by a pet door. There is a misconception that by nudging the pet door open with their heads pets will get hurt but this doesn’t arise with the Petflap. Only the gentlest focussed pressure is required to open it, and the acrylic peep holes allow your cat to see through. Your animal will tend to drop their head when they go through the Petflap and, once they are used to it, they will find a way to go through which is most comfortable to them.

Other animals can crawl through

This is a common fear when it comes to fitting a pet door. However, as well as our locking mechanism, we are developing microchip access doors, allowing only animals with the registered microchip to open the flap. The likelihood is most other animals will be deterred by your pet if it is in the house or garden and won’t want to enter.

Above all else, pet doors are a great convenience to both you and your pet. With more of us working from home than ever before, pet doors allow you to get on with your working day and your pet to get on with theirs without interrupting you. They allow your pet the freedom to roam the great outdoors, making them less disruptive as they have a safe, constructive outlet for their energy!

Please remember that if you are using one of our Petflaps for your small dog, they are not replacements for walking your four-legged friend. Make sure you’re meet your pet’s caring needs.

Passivhaus Petflap

Passivhaus Petflap

We often receive enquiries from people interested in fitting a Petflap in a Passivhaus or other low-energy home. Until recently we have had only anecdotal information to offer, but now the Petflap is undergoing accredited testing.

passivhaus petflap

By Jayswipe – James N, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8199117

In September 2020 we were approached by the Passive House Academy New Zealand. They were looking for evidence of the Petflap’s performance. When we weren’t able to provide more than anecdotal and informal test results, their Director offered to help. We have tried before to arrange testing in the UK but never got anywhere due to the nature of the product. We were quite happy to send a Petflap to New Zealand if it got us the data!

We established that we needed two types of test: an evaluation of the Petflap’s intrinsic thermal properties, and a test with air blowing on it to see how much got through. These are respectively the U-value and the air leakage rate.

To calculate the U-value you need to know the thermal value of each component. In theory, you’ll have access to information giving you the thermal performance of each material. We approached all our suppliers but none had been provided with this information, so we had to go with generic values. Because of this, the result is a conservative one. The U-value was calculated to 3.521 W/(m²K).

We were all set to have the air leakage tests run in February. This involves sealing the Petflap into a unit and then blowing air at it and measuring how much gets through. The testing lab is in Auckland, and Auckland went into lockdown just as the lab was ready to go with it. We wish them all the very best and look forward to receiving our test results with they’ve caught up with their backlog.

Please get in touch if you would like us to email you with the information when we have it.

Keep your cat calm during bonfire night fireworks

Keep your cat calm during bonfire night fireworks

cat fireworks

Fireworks photo credit CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=276193

It’s that time of year again when your cat and fireworks don’t mix. Bonfire night has lots going for it, but if you’re a pet owner it can be a very worrying time of year. Here we have a few suggestions for how to keep your cat, dog and other pets cool, calm and collected on November 5th.

Hiding place for your cat

When the bangs and pops start your cat’s first instinct will be to run and hide. He or she is bound to have their favourite hiding places in your home already, so make sure these are accessible. Leave doors open within your home so that the cat can run to wherever it feels safest – in the wardrobe, under the bed or in the laundry pile etc. If your cat hasn’t developed a favourite spot then create one or two – perhaps an old cardboard box or couple of washable blankets left in a heap. They’ll probably ignore them and find somewhere else but it’s worth a try.

If your cat does burrow into a hiding place, leave them there in peace and let them come out in their own time. Trying to coax them out could make matters worse.

Keep the cat in during fireworks

A cat will become far more upset if it’s outside during the firework display. If it’s possible, get your cat in a little while before you expect the fireworks to start. If you have a remote control microchip locking hub or a multiway lock, set it to allow the cat in but not out again. That way, if your cat is still out when fireworks begin but rushes into the house in fright, you can be sure it won’t be able to get out again if it’s still in a panic.

Make your home a haven

There are things you can do to make your home a refuge for any animals you have indoors. Simple things like shutting the curtains and putting some music on can dull and mask the sounds. If you’re staying in with your animals keep to the usual routine and be available for them if they seek you out for comfort. Don’t react at all to the fireworks yourself. If you have dogs avoid walking them during the firework display, even this is a variation on the usual routine. Taking them out before hand and afterwards should be fine.

Thank you to the RSPCA for information for this post.


Cat treats recipe

Cat treats recipe

cat treats recipe

Nippy waiting to be served

Have you ever made cat treats at home? We searched up cat treats recipe and have found a variety of titbits on offer. We’ve brought a few of them together here, so you can see if there’s anything your cat will fancy.

Trusted sources

We’ve stuck to information from trusted organisations including Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, the RSPCA and the PDSA. When you’re looking up treat recipes to feed to your cat, it might be best to avoid random posts on the internet (not this one, obviously). If in doubt, call your vet’s surgery for advice or ask next time you’re visiting.

Battersea reminds us on its recipe page:

“You should only give these to your cat as occasional treats, alongside a well-balanced diet and they’re not suitable for cats with special dietary requirements.”


Most recipes use fish such as salmon or tuna as their base, but a couple use a can of cat food or dry food. One even includes catnip! All ingredients are easily available, and the recipes simple to put together. Here’s the list:

Let us know how you get on! What did your cat think of the treats? If you tried a couple of recipes which one was more popular. If you have several cats, did they like different things?

Cats with extra toes

Cats with extra toes

why do some cats have extra digits

Polydactyl cat

Technically, cats with extra toes is called polydactyly. Cats with this genetic trait can have varying numbers of extra toes. Some have a distinct thumb, such as in the photo here. Others just have lots of regular toes. Extra toes are more common on the front feet.

A cat without polydactyly has five toes on each of its front paws, and four on each back foot. A polydactyl cat can have as many as nine toes on each foot. There’s even a Guinness World Record for the cat with the most toes! It’s very unusual for a cat to have extra toes on all four paws.

Where does polydactyly come from?

Some cats’ polydactyly results from a genetic mutation. The gene that regulates toe spacing allows for far more toes than usual. The mutation seems to have spread on ships’ cats. This is borne out by the clusters of polydacytly in south west England and East Coast USA. Cats were very popular as ship’s cats. Wikipedia tells us:

sailors were long known to value polydactyl cats especially for their extraordinary climbing and hunting abilities as an aid in controlling shipboard rodents. Some sailors thought they bring good luck at sea. The rarity of polydactyl cats in Europe may be because they were hunted and killed due to superstitions about witchcraft.

Famously, the novelist Ernest Hemingway adored polydactyl cats. His home in Florida is now a cat museum and home to 50 or so cats. About half of these have extra toes. There are now two polydactyl cat breeds officially recognised in the USA – Maine Coon Polydactyl and American Polydactyl.  Any cat can have extra toes – any breed, either sex, big or small.

Looking after cats with extra toes

Cats with extra toes don’t usually need any more care and attention than an ordinary cat (which is to say lots). The main area to pay attention to is their nails, to make sure they are all keeping to a healthy length. There is a condition known as feline radial hypoplasia which can sometimes resemble polydactyly. It results in what re often termed ‘hamburger feet’ – very wide flat feet rather than the many-toed but otherwise normally shaped polydactyl paw. Feline radial hypoplasia needs to be monitored by your vet, so if you have any doubt about which condition your cat has, if it has extra toes, then see your vet.

Make sure you have a robust scratching post for your polydactyl cat – you’ve seen how much damage regular paws can do so imagine what those extra claws can get up to.



We’ve begun to use tricoya in our Petflaps to replace about 80% of the acrylic we use. We have been looking for a replacement for a while, and tricoya came to our attention at about the same time that acrylic became hard to source, so it was an obvious move for us. Acrylic has become hard to source due to its use in Covid-19 protection measures, such as screens.

What is tricoya?


Section showing the laser cut edge of tricoya

Tricoya is a form of MDF that uses accoya is its starting point. Accoya is a sustainable treated softwood. Board made from an accoya base is far more stable, long-lasting and moisture-resistant than standard MDF. This makes it ideal for use in a Petflap. Petflaps are exposed to all sorts of weather, so the durability and moisture-resistance of this particular type of board was essential to us. It is insulating, making the Petflap an even better choice for a low-energy or passivhaus build.

We’re looking at using tricoya to make our new Letterplate Eco. This will provide a draughtproof and insulated barrier to draughts through your letter box.

How are we using it?

We are using tricoya to replace the acrylic ‘filling in the sandwich’ between the ABS outer frames. This means you’ll see what looks like wood on the edges of the open flap, and in the rim of the frame. In both cases, this is visible only when the Petflap is being used and the flap opens. Eventually we expect to make entire Petflaps from tricoya, ditching plastic altogether. Petflaps made this way can be sprayed or painted to match your  decor.

For the time being we will use our stock of acrylic to make the peep holes in the Petflap. Tricoya’s great stuff but it’s not yet made see-through! When our acrylic is all finished we expect to replace it with toughened glass.


According to accoya.com,

“The trees selected to make Accoya are sourced from fast growing, abundantly available sustainably certified forests.”

It is a carbon capture product. At the end of its life, this board will degrade completely. It is a non-toxic product so releases nothing harmful into the environment.

Are vets open during lockdown?

Are vets open during lockdown?

vets open lockdown

Rusty, the cat with at least nine lives

The simple answer is yes, vets are open during lockdown, but not in the usual way. Government regulations allow vet surgeries to remain open but with much reduced contact with owners. According to British Veterinary Association advice vets can fill prescriptions, provide food and sell routine treatments such as worming tablets and provide emergency care. This includes euthanising sick animals.

Usually a vet can’t write a prescription for an animal without having seen it, but this regulation has been lifted during lockdown. The situation is being monitored. Some vets are still offering routine puppy and kitten vaccinations, microchipping, and boosters. Neutering and nail clipping though are not considered essential and many practices aren’t offering it at the moment.

Alternative ways of ‘seeing’ animals

Many vets are using alternative ways of ‘seeing’ animals and their owners. This includes telephone and video consultions. If an animal does need to go to the practice the owner is not usually allowed into the building. Often an owner arriving by car isn’t allowed out of the car but will have the animal taken from it by a member of staff.

After treatment if appropriate your vet might ask you to send photos so that progress or healing can be kept under review.

What to do if your animal needs treatment

So what do you need to keep in mind if you think your pet needs to see a vet? Firstly not all practices are open, so don’t just turn up – ring them and check how they are working at the moment. Secondly, if anyone in your household has symptoms of Covid-19 you should not take your sick animal to the vet. Again, ring the surgery and ask them how they deal with this situation. Some vets do home visits in these circumstances, taking extra precautions.

Speak to your pet insurance company if you think you will need to make a claim. Many insurance companies don’t cover the consequences of notifiable diseases, and Covid-19 is a notifiable disease.

vets open lockdown

Rusty enjoying a sunny day


If the worst happens and your pet needs to be put down, what can you expect? It will vary from practice to practice, but Jen from Birmingham, one of our earliest Petflap customers, got in touch to share her experience when Rusty, her mum’s 18 year old tabby, was very ill.

Mum put Rusty in her carrier and drove 20minutes to the vets. She was under strict instruction to leave the carrier on the doorstep of the vets, ring the doorbell and step back to the marker (3m away) and then a very friendly and sympathetic vet nurse picked up the carrier and told Mum that she will personally cuddle Rusty until the end. Mum had put one of her jumpers in the carrier for Rusty to be held with so that Rusty could be put at ease by Mum’s scent.

Mum was told to return to her car and wait for her empty carrier to be placed outside the door. Mum spent the full 20minutes sobbing in her car until the carrier was placed outside the door.

So in this case rules were in place about what could be in the carrier with the cat – just one type of material eg a jumper or newspaper – and the carrier had to be freshly cleaned. The usual social distancing rules were observed. Apart from minimal contact with the nurse at drop-off all communication was over the phone. In fact this story has a happy ending. Jen again:

Mum went to collect the carrier and in total shock and disbelief, Rusty was still in there. The Nurse said that the vet will be phoning her momentarily to discuss. In pure amazement the vet had decided now was not the time for Rusty and instead took blood and gave her a 10-day antibiotic shot.

So great news for everyone, and we could all use some good news at the moment.

Can cats get coronavirus?

draughtproof pet doorCan cats get coronavirus?

There have been reports from Belgium, the USA and Hong Kong that cats and dogs are developing and transmitting coronavirus. Myth or reality? The issue seems to be that animals can pick up coronavirus/COVID-19 from humans, rather than passing it on to them

World Health Organisation advice

According to the WHO, the dog in Hong Kong that returned a weak positive for coronavirus likely picked it up from its owner. There is yet no evidence that cats, dogs or other animals can give humans coronavirus. At the moment the WHO advice remains to observe good hygiene, particularly careful hand washing. However it does include this advice about how long the virus can survive on surfaces:

“This could include your pet’s fur, so if you are showing any symptoms it’s important to minimise contact with your pet as much as possible.”

Its advice includes taking extra care when feeding and handling your pet. If you have concerns that your pet is becoming ill, the PDSA advises calling your vet.

What is Feline Coronavirus?

Feline Coronavirus, or FCov, is a type of coronavirus different from Covid-19. FCov is commonly found in cat faeces and doesn’t affect humans or animals other than cats.

How to protect your pet

If you’re unlucky enough to develop coronavirus you might have questions about how to protect your pet. The PDSA has published a page of questions and answers at this link.

There has been false information circulating online that hand sanitizer can poison dogs. Yes, your dog would become ill if it ingested a whole bottle of hand sanitizer, but if it just licks your hand when you’ve used hand sanitizer the dog won’t become ill. The alcohol used in hand sanitizer is ethanol, not ethylene glycol (in antifreeze) which is toxic to animals.

Vegan cat food

Vegan Cat Food

vegan cat foodVeganism has gained a high profile lately, and some cat owners are interested in feeding their cats vegan cat food. Is this a good idea?

Taurine in the vegan diet

One vital ingredient of standard cat food is taurine. Taurine is an amino acid vital to cat health. They can’t produce enough of it themselves, unlike other mammals, so are reliant on finding it through their food. It can only be found in animal proteins, so vegan cat food needs to be carefully formulated to contain it. This article on Pet Central goes into details, but essentially cats need taurine for a healthy heart, digestion and vision, among other functions. Blindness and heart disease are just two of the problems that arise from insufficient taurine in a cat’s diet.

As Vegan.com acknowledges, switching a cat’s diet is notoriously difficult. Cats are fussy and tend to make snap judgments. There is no guarantee whatsoever that your cats will co-operate with the changes you might want to make. That aside, the site makes this interesting point:

Fortunately, taurine and arginine are both easily synthesized from vegan sources. Any reputable brand of vegan cat food will therefore feature taurine and arginine in their ingredients. But taurine and arginine alone won’t cover a vegan cat’s nutritional needs. Cats typically obtain most of their vitamin A and D from animal sources.


As yet there is no real evidence about the effect of putting a cat on a vegan diet. As well as taurine cats need vitamin A and arachidonic acid, which some vegan cat foods are including. Long-term studies don’t exist yet, so it’s impossible to say categorically how a vegan diet will affect a cat. Anyone planning to put their cat on a vegan diet will need to do take great care to ensure their cat takes in all essential nutrients and be vigilant to any change in their cat’s health and condition. The RSPCA recommends putting a cat on a vegan diet only under the supervision of a vet.


Canine Vomiting Bug

canine vomiting bugCanine Vomiting Bug

The Canine Vomiting Bug, also known as HGE, is causing great concern among dog owners and currently spreading into new areas of the UK, with the midlands and the North of England the latest areas to record cases.

According to Pet Gazette, The Small Animal Veterinary Surveillance Network (SAVSNET) of the University of Liverpool has begun to collect data on the outbreak. Any animal health professional who comes across a case of the bug is asked to fill in a SAVNET questionnaire. You can find out more about SAVSNET and the surveillance project here.

What is the Canine Vomiting Bug?

The bug is defined as acute onset “prolific” vomiting – at least five instances in 12 hours. The sickness is often accompanied by bloody diarrhoea. Affected dogs usually go off both food and drink. The frequency of the vomiting is one of the key differences between the bug and dogs throwing up because they’ve eaten something nasty on a walk. The vomiting also tends to be quite forceful. Dogs stay feeling unwell for longer than they would after a minor vomiting episode. Dogs can take up to 10 days to get well. In some cases dogs seem to improve for a day or two and then have another episode.

If you see these symptoms in your dog, expert advice is to get them to the vet as soon as possible for the best outcome. In extreme cases the bug can kill so keep an affected dog isolated from other dogs.


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