At least in this part of the country, lots of houses are built with bifold doors in them, especially closet and pantry doors. Opinions about whether they are attractive or not aside, there is a more serious issue: they don’t latch, and cats can and do learn to open them.
Little paws fit right underneath the bifold doors, and a little tug will pull them ajar. If you store anything inside that your cats shouldn’t get into, this can make the kitties unsafe. It became a real issue in our house several years ago when our late cat, Louie, both diabetic and hyperthyroid, was so hungry that he was breaking into any food source he could find and indiscriminately eating it. Everything edible had to be locked up, which meant that the human food pantry had to be secured.
Newton will be happy to demonstrate that the pantry door isn’t safe from a determined cat who knows there are treats inside…
One way to latch a bifold door is to use commercially-available bifold door latches intended for childproofing a house. We found that these worked well for the standard wooden bifold doors, but our house has metal bifold doors for both the kitchen pantry and bedroom closet doors.
We could have replaced the doors, but instead, we came up with another solution. We barred the doors.The process was actually pretty simple, and didn’t take much in the way of needing handy-ness. It took a sturdy 1 1/2″ wooden dowel, cut to the width of the doorway, and a set of wooden curtain rod brackets per doorway. We painted them with some leftover trim paint to match the room trim, then used the included screws to attach them on either side of the pantry door.
This is the end that you will put the dowel into first to secure the door.
The other bracket is U-shaped.
The dowel slides down into this bracket to secure the door.
The result is a tidy barrier that sits so close to the door itself that the cats can’t pull it open.
When the dowel is removed from the brackets, they are unobtrusive, and the door operates as normal.
We used slightly different sized brackets for the kitchen pantry and for the bedroom closets. The bedroom closets were a challenge because the door jambs are narrower than the one in the kitchen. After some research, we realized that we were going to be unable to get a bracket that was quite narrow enough to allow the door to close and also not to protrrude into the room. We overcame this problem by trimming the sides of each bracket so that the decorative edge was no longer round, narrowing it to fit on the door jamb.
This project was done all with the materials available at the nearest home improvement store, so the wider array of brackets available online would have prevented us from needing to take this extra step.
This inexpensive, easy project has given us a lot of peace of mind. The cats can’t get into the food pantry and steal things they aren’t supposed to have, and they can’t get into the spare room closet where the extra dry food bins are stored, either.
Newton doesn’t approve of either of these things, but it’s for his own good.