With the weather in the Northern Hemisphere getting nicer, you might want to start leaving your windows open, but this can be a source of worry for Ragdoll cat owners since cats can jump or fall out of windows – like Charlie and Trigg did when a screen failed.
A lot of cat owners ask about solutions to this problem, and there are quite a few things you can do too, though cat window guards don’t necessarily make for the most elegant home décor.
It’s also good to keep in mind that some cats might scratch their way through screens, whereas others might be able to actually push through the screen with their body weight, so you have to either proof your window for both or keep in mind what your cat is capable of.
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Here are some of the top suggestions for cat proofing windows:
- Putting double stick tape on the windowsill to deter cats from jumping up.
- Steel Pet Grille - This article explains the importance - Metal grids or grill guards
- Reinforcing screens from the outside with duct tape, screws, or nails
- Clips or window locks you can attach – you can use the same kind available for child safety
- Metal latches - choosing a durable metal for your window latches rather than vinyl can really improve the strength of the lock. These fit inside the window frame and prevent the window from being opened too far unless you purposefully press the latches in, something a cat couldn’t do
- Magnetic window screens – there is a company in New Zealand called MagicSeal that one reader recommended, or you can try to DIY
- Replacing or doubling up your window screen with heavy mesh or pet screens, which you can cut and fit into a screen frame or simply tape to your regular screen. Here are a few suggestions for different kinds of screen guards for pets:
- New York Wire Saint Gobain Adfors Screen Wire
- Phifer Pet Screens this mesh screen can be installed easily in the window track, and is made from a tough vinyl plastic that’s resistant to tearing. Customer reviews mention that it’s sturdy enough to withstand some cats charging at speed without coming loose.
- Fence wire
- Hardware cloth
- Tension bars - these are actually designed to keep bottles and items secure in RV refrigerators, but they can fit into window tracks. Add a couple to your open window and you can block your cat from fitting through the gaps, and because they’re made of metal they’re tougher than screens.
- Flat Cats - This UK company creates custom-sized netting for your windows, made from the same kind of material as mosquito nets so that it’s tough enough to stop your cat from scratching through it. It’s designed to be fixed to your window frames using velcro, so there’s no drilling needed. They ship worldwide, and they have a lot of positive reviews
Again, the solutions aren’t the most beautiful, but there are a lot of options if your cat’s safety is a concern.
Note of Caution
Scratch Damage vs. Cat SafetyNote that sometimes screens advertised as pet safe actually just guard against scratching damage, rather than effectively keeping a cat from getting out a window.
A DIY Option
A Reader's Suggestion:After this post published, one of our readers, Lynn, was kind enough to share what she does: "I put 15 inches high extension window screens on all my windows. They were used years ago before screens came with windows. They slide to make them wide enough to fit the window. The wooden frame fits in the grove just after where the window slides down. They come in different sizes. "
Photos of Lynn's pet proof screen set-up:
Davidia wrote, "I saw your video about keeping the screens secure. What we do is put a round metal washer above the triangular clasp so they can’t flip it off of the stem that goes into the windowsill. Not sure if you have this kind of window, but thought I would share. It’s worked so far. We also had a kitty fall out of the second story window. He was okay, but this is why we devised this method.
So, I have an arrow pointing to the round metal washer that sits over the triangular clip. The screw itself has a bit of a small edge around it (lighter in color than the washer).
We attached the triangular clip to the bottom of the screen; placed the triangular clip down first, then the washer on top of the clip, and then the screw through the washer and clip into the window sill. The washer prevents the cats from flipping the triangular clip up over the screw head; the washer holds the triangular clip down. If there was just the triangular clip and the screw, our cats would flip the triangular clip over the screw and would be able to push the screen out from the bottom.
I believe the top of the screen fits into a groove in the windowsill so they can’t push that out. Our house is an old Spanish colonial revival built in the early 1930s so your window set up might be much different. Many of the older California homes have this set up. When we ordered new screens, we asked the screen company to do this set up and they were very accommodating. See photo."
What tips do you have for cat proofing window screens?