pass-through cat door to garage?

tracey_bApril 8, 2010

In our new house (under construction now), I'd like to create an "enclosed pen" for the litter boxes in the garage with a pass-through in the small mudroom wall (don't worry, it'll be safe so kitties can't actually get into the rest of the garage). Anyone else done this before?

I'm guessing I'll have to have a door on it (or 2 actually--one flap on each side of drywall) because of heat/cooling loss. I'd like to be able to clean the box from the garage side, so we'd hinge a lid (with lock).

Any thoughts?



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We have a door from our kitchen to our garage with a cat door on it. It works well. It is a standard pet door from the pet store. Just make sure the cats cannot get to the main part of the garage. Ours did and one of our cats was killed by the garage door closing. We have closed off the door now

    Bookmark   April 8, 2010 at 1:35PM
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Building the pass through from a living area into a garage is most likely a fire code violation. Call your local Fire Marshall *and* your local building code office and ask questions. Be sure and speak with an actual inspector/Fire Marshall, not an office person. Don't trust your contractor to do this for you...sometimes they will tell you something will pass and it won't.

Here is a snippet from the web of general attached garage wall construction requirements:
Garage Wall Construction

* Following are tips from the IRC and UBC on fire-resistant construction for garage walls:

* The wall separating the garage from the house needs to have 1/2-inch-thick gypsum board on the garage side. The UBC requires the use of Type X gypsum board, as well as fire tape to seal joints on drywall and gypsum board. UL has tested and assigned a one-hour rating to a wall assembly with Type X gypsum board on both sides and fire-taped.

* If there is any habitable space above the garage, 1/2-inch gypsum board is required on the garage ceiling. In addition, all of the supporting walls need to be clad with 1/2-inch gypsum board. The UBC requires a fire-rated floor-to-ceiling assembly.

* The entry into the house from the garage must have a 20-minute-rated fire door�"a minimum 1 3/8-inch thick solid wood or steel door. The UBC additionally requires the door to be self-closing and self-latching.

* There should be no opening for air duct systems in the garage, such as returns or vents. These might actually "fuel" a fire. Any ducts passing through the garage or penetrating its walls or ceilings are required to be a minimum of 26-gauge sheet steel or other material approved by the AHJ.


That last point especially applies to your plan, which is why I doubt it would pass inspection. Installing a door after all inspections are passed can be done, but personally I wouldn't live in a house with a pet door or other opening leading into the garage, whether it was in the wall or in the door.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2010 at 8:39PM
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Thank you for the safety information. It would be something we would do after the fact, obviously. I know there are others who've done this as I got the idea from a pet forum somewhere.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2010 at 12:26AM
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The way I read your post made it sound like you were going to have your contractor do it. I'm sure lots of people do it with no problems, but I've seen a fire up close (next door neighbor's) and it has left me cautious.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2010 at 7:58AM
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Whether done by the contractor or the home owner, the safety concerns and code issues would still apply. Really good points Weed. Tracey, how about a cat door to the basement or an unused guest bathroom instead of to the garage?

    Bookmark   April 10, 2010 at 12:08PM
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I wonder if we could build the enclosure with the same materials (2x4s, insulation, drywall) as the rest of the garage wall and have a small fire-rated door in the top, like a lid for easy cleaning of the litter boxes.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2010 at 12:03AM
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Is the basement an option? I have a cat door leading to the basement and it works out nicely. I love having the litter boxes and mess out of my living space. All the supplies are there and it's easy to clean. I clean it out a couple of times a day, I don't think I'd want to have to do this during the winter in the garage when it got cold.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2010 at 2:14PM
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Where the basement door is, it wouldn't look good with a pet door (we did that in our first house). Besides, it might be too out-of-sight for me. I'd rather have it in the garage where the trash can is, etc. We moved south (from the midwest); I'm not as worried about cold anymore.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2010 at 10:18AM
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