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The surprising reason old houses have small doors


Earlier this year, a curious photo of a tiny door in a house went viral on Reddit, sparking intrigue and speculation. Some people humorously guessed it was for fairies or mice, while others provided more practical explanations.

A Tiny Door in Denver

Photo Credits: Shutterstock

Colonel424 shared that their mother-in-law’s home in Denver, Colorado, featured several small doors, each about the height of a soda can. This old house, with its unique charm, led many to wonder about the purpose of these tiny doors. According to some users, these doors were designed as pet doors, specifically for cats. One commenter noted, “f it’s actually the height of a soda can, then it’s a cat door.”

Confirming the Purpose

Another person explained that in the early 1900s, small doors called “cat flaps” were cut into doors to allow cats to move from room to room. This was done to help control the mice population. A user shared a personal story: “My grandmother grew up in one of these homes and told me stories of this.”

Photo Credits: Shutterstock

Modern-Day Pet Doors

Tiny doors are still used today but come with modern features like electronic locks that sync with a pet’s collar. These doors retain a charming, rustic feel and fit well in both traditional and modern homes. They show how our relationship with pets has evolved, balancing between allowing them freedom and keeping them safe indoors.

Photo Credits: Shutterstock

Other Theories

While the cat door explanation makes sense, some Reddit users suggested other possible uses. A few thought they might be fairy doors for children, fostering imaginative play. Others speculated they could be part of a drainage system or used for heating and cooling. One user even suggested they were for sweeping debris outside without a dustpan.

Interestingly, these tiny doors seem to be unique to the United States. Scott Lucas, an Australian heritage expert, mentioned that such doors are rare in Australian homes. He explained that older U.S. homes often included full basements, whereas Australian homes typically had cellars.

Old homes often have mysterious features that reflect the era they were built in. While many of these features are now outdated, they add a unique charm and historical value to homes. The tiny door is a perfect example of how something small can offer a glimpse into the past and spark curiosity about its original purpose.