As the popularity for microchip cat flaps increases so is the battle to be the leading brand of cat flap. SureFlap and Pet Porte go head to head on a daily basis with each brand trying to gain market share over the other and sell more microchip cat flaps than the other. Historically the Pet Porte was invented by a guy called David Chamberlain who lives in the Channel Islands and he developed the technology before selling out to a very large company based in America called Radio Systems. This company own many companies and continually seem to grow by acquiring new brands and they own Staywell cat flaps, PetSafe dog training, Drink well water fountains, Innotek, Sport dog and possibly a few other brands too. Due to their very considerable size they have access to considerable resources so they can invest heavily into research and development. SureFlap is by size a smaller company who focus on this arena of microchip cat flaps but they clearly recognise the potential and have been working hard to raise brand awareness by investing in TV advertising. So how do the leading two brands compare with each other? Well the most significant difference is the power source, the SureFlap is battery operated and this is an advantage if you don’t have a power socket near by but this does cause customers to wonder what will happen if the batteries run out? The Pet Porte is mains operated which is fine if there is a power socket but not everyone wants to have trailing power cables and then again this begs the issue about power cuts leading to cats become locked out. I have to say in our area a power failure is a very rare occurrence so this shouldn’t really deter too many customers. The next thing to look at is the microchip scanner; this scans your cats chip and is the most significant part of the cat flap. The SureFlap has this set within the frame of the cat flap whilst the Pet Porte has its scanner located in a porch that protrudes from the flap; this range is significant especially as it affects the speed at which a cat enters through the flap. Our independent trials suggests that the Pet Porte scans from a slightly further distance than the SureFlap but access speeds were similar. With a normal 4 way locking cat flap cats can just fly through them but with both brands of microchip cat flaps the cats need to be retrained to pause slightly before entering, as they wait a fraction of a second whilst the scanner reads the chip and then sends the message to open the lock. The next thing we compared was the features of each brand, the SureFlap has fewer functions and will read a chip and this in turn allows entry to the cat, this can be programmed for multiple cats but other than this there are no more features so it is simple in its operation. The Pet Porte has more features like a ‘Vet Mode’ which enables the flap to allow your cats to enter but not exit so you can catch your cat to take it to the vets. It also has a very useful ‘Night Mode’ which automatically senses the light levels outside and will only allow a cat to enter and not exit after dark. This feature saves cats lives as statistically most cats are killed at night on our roads. There is also plans to allow the Pet Porte to be upgraded via a chip that will enable it to run on a selective feature so that you can programme different cats to access through it at pre determined times, this is especially useful if you have a kitten that you want to keep in whilst still allowing older cats to use it. So the Pet Porte is a more sophisticated cat flap but bear in mind this is only important if you feel that you will use these features. The SureFlaps flap size is slightly smaller than the Pet Portes flap size so the SureFlap is best for small to medium cats. SureFlap are looking to bring out a large cat flap in early 2012. Reliability is always an issue to customers looking to invest in a microchip cat flap, any early teething problems seem to have been ironed out and both brands seem to be very reliable, of course some customers will experience the odd issue but this is to be expected in any manufactured product, on the whole the failure rate is very low and both brands are supported by a warranty the SureFlap is a 2 year warranty and the Pet Porte is a 3 year warranty. I sincerely hope this review on these two leading brands of microchip cat flaps, our experience has been based on selling these on a daily basis for the last 18 months and is a fair reflection on our findings.
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