The latch bolt for my kitchen door rests very lightly on the latch which means my cat can easily push her way in, and steal food.

What is a sensible easy way to resolve this? Can I buy a longer latch bolt?

  • 23
    Your cat knows what you're trying to do. Beautiful cat.
    – JACK
    Commented Nov 2, 2021 at 20:19
  • 4
    Cats can open doors with handles like that by jumping up ;) Commented Nov 3, 2021 at 10:58
  • Couple of questions: Open the door, then close it like you normally would (or let it go if it has a closer).. Does it come to a stop with the catch resting on the outside of the door frame? Do you have to push the handle down a little to get it to close more, or bang it a bit harder to get the catch past the leading edge of the door frame? OK, so do that if you normally would.. Now, with it resting in what you consider a "usual closed" position, if you push it closed hard, do you hear a click? Give it a hard pull open without turning the handle; can you pull it open after this click?
    – Caius Jard
    Commented Nov 3, 2021 at 11:16
  • Next question: open the door then let go of the handle. If it has a closer use your foot to stop it closing. Lift the handle up while watching the catch. Does the catch come out of the door any more (protrude further)? If you stop lifting the handle up, does the weight of the handle pull the catch back into the door some?
    – Caius Jard
    Commented Nov 3, 2021 at 11:19
  • @AndrewMorton only some cats. In fact, I think you'll probably find that most can't, despite what YouTube tells you. I've owned three and know quite a few more and none of those can. I admit it's probably more common in the US where cats are often kept indoors.
    – SiHa
    Commented Nov 4, 2021 at 7:47

4 Answers 4


The primary problem is that the gap between the door edge and the jamb is too wide. It should be more like what you see on the hinge side. You probably don't want to open the jamb and casing up to adjust that, so I'd probably do one or a combination of these:

  1. Pull the strike plate off the jamb, clean it up, and re-mount it with shims or washers behind to move it closer to the bolt.
  2. Add another strike plate over the top, again with shims behind.
  3. Pull the hinges off the jamb, one at a time, and shim them out with cardboard or washers. You could also shim the hinges against the door for even more adjustment.
  • 11
    It looks to me like there isn't even a strike plate in OP's picture (2nd from bottom)
    – izzy
    Commented Nov 2, 2021 at 20:07
  • 1
    I think it's an old-school bucket style. It's hard to say, though, with all that paint.
    – isherwood
    Commented Nov 2, 2021 at 20:14
  • 2
    Assuming that is a striker plate, then the easiest form of "shim" may be a piece of thick card cut to the right size. Double up the card if necessary.
    – Simon B
    Commented Nov 3, 2021 at 14:16

You should be able to pick up a larger strike plate and your home store. If the opening is too large you can fill it in with some wood putty.

enter image description here

  • Other benefit of this is it covers up the ugly bit of the old strike plate where the latch has scraped off the paint every time it closes. I'd recommend not painting this after installing it. (If you need to repaint ever, remove the strike plate and hinges first and reinstall after the paint has fully dried.) Commented Nov 3, 2021 at 20:03
  • 1
    I actually wouldn't recommend removing the hinges. Reinstalling the door is not that easy to do, and you may strip the holes and/or misalign the door.
    – Nelson
    Commented Nov 4, 2021 at 3:24

The hole in the jamb is so large, it's going to need to be filled before most replacement strikes can be installed. This may be above your desired level of effort, so a quick and easy fix could be to screw a mending plate just in front of the large hole to give the door latch something more to grab.

mending plate

This would be installed vertically just in front of the hole. You may only be able to use the two outer screw holes, but that should be enough since the attacker you are protecting against is a house cat.

Edit: this answer was assuming the strike plate was missing, but the larger pictures make it look like there might be one that is very painted over. If there is a metal strike plate, removing it and shimming it out would probably be best as suggested by isherwood.

  • I think, as suggested by @isherwood in one of his comments, the strike plate is integral to a metal casing inside the jamb. In that case shimming it will be a pain. If installing a second plate is also a pain because the hole is so large, this answer becomes very attractive Even though it will be quite unattractive. :)
    – jay613
    Commented Nov 3, 2021 at 19:09
  • 1
    The first time people walk through the closed door after you do this, they will bang their noses into it because they are used to not really turning the handle very much.
    – jay613
    Commented Nov 3, 2021 at 19:13
  • 1
    @jay613, Ha, yea, I had that happen to my door going into the garage when I finally fixed it. Had to slow down when coming inside instead of my usual Kramer move.
    – JPhi1618
    Commented Nov 3, 2021 at 19:15
  • A storm door strike plate could be installed as suggested here forward of the big hole, but might look a little nicer, and since this isn't a security door would be strong enough.
    – jay613
    Commented Nov 3, 2021 at 19:28

Just need to add a 1/16” wood shim behind the hinges. Remove one hinge at a time and add shim. (Door will not move at all)then screw hinge back in. Done!

  • Hi, this site works differently. We expect each answer to add something new. It is not a discussion forum. It is question and answers. This ill get deleted by the bot. Commented Nov 16, 2023 at 5:58

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