Cat Proof Window Screens: A Guide

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Originally published Feb 26, 2017 

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. Here are some of the top suggestions for cat proofing windows:

  • Putting double stick tape on the windowsill to deter cats from jumping up.
  • 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
  • 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:

Again, the solutions aren’t the most beautiful, but there are a lot of options if your cat’s safety is a concern. Note that sometimes screens advertised as pet safe actually just guard against scratching damage, rather than effectively keeping a cat from getting out a window.

Cat Proof Window Screens

You might also think about designating an outdoor area for your Ragdoll kitties to let them out occasionally so that they will be less tempted by the call of the outdoors, but this involves a separate set of considerations (i.e. beware of fleas).


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. ”

Frost King 15-Inch x 25-45-Inch Extension Window Screen

Photos of Lynn’s set-up:

extention screen added

Tobee showing how it works
Tobee showing how it works

What tips do you have for cat proofing window screens?

Comments (11)

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  1. Thank you for such an informative post. Yes, this always worries me and I make sure that the screens are securely affixed by clips every year. it would be horrible if one of my babies fell out!
    Thank you for bringing this to our attentn as the warmer weather is on its way!

  2. I have the Phifer Pet Safe Screening in the 4 windows I leave open in the nice weather (never when I am not home) and I also have it in the sliding door onto my upper deck. It is stretchy and has some give to it, so when the cats claw it, it doesn’t get damaged or torn like regular screening. Of course, the screen could still fall out if pushed on as yours did, but I always check (did it this weekend) to make sure the plastic ‘shims’ that hold the screen in place have not loosened or cracked over the winter. So glad your cats are safe, and that you noticed them outside right away.

  3. Very good topic, Jenny! I am so very sorry that Charlie & Chiggy fell/jumped out of that second story window back in 2012! My goodness! How scary for you when you saw the blood on Chiggy’s chin. Glad that incident had a happy ending with both kittehs being okay and also it resulting in a great discussion about this issue among cat owners. 🙂

    For us, it’s not an issue as we don’t open the windows or sliding glass door in our apartment that often. Usually, by the time the warmer months are here it’s air conditioning time for me (my heat intolerance is so crazy and cannot be explained by medical science so far…all tests come back normal…hmph). On the rare occasion when we have had our sliding glass door open, we are always in the living room to keep an eye on Miss PSB. She’s stretched out again the screen a few times and we have the claw marks to show for it on the screen. Another reason we don’t open that sliding door too often.

    Lots of good ideas offerred and I’m sure that this information will be very helpful and foster great discussions in the comments.

    Big hugs & lots of love!

    Patti & Miss Pink Sugarbelle 🙂 <3

  4. Another fabulously pawesome & very vital repost, Jenny honey! TYSVM! Such great info in this post, as usual! I know folks will find this very relevant and super helpfu! 🙂 <3

    Big hugs & lots of love & purrs! 🙂 <3

    Patti & Miss Pink Sugarbelle 🙂 <3 <3 <3

  5. I have two sliding screen doors that can be separated if “nosed” properly. I put a sticky piece of Velcro on each side and then joined the doors with two more pieces in a crosshatch configuration. Humans can still open the doors from each side by pushing but the Velcro is a little to tight for Winston to get through. I also Velcroed all of the sliding window screens. I have had enough of seeing him walk across the roof!

  6. I realized the windows in my apartment on the third floor are potentially dangerous too Jenny. My cats will race around and crash into things with abandon. I found these expandable refrigerator bars meant for RVs and they have worked well. They do have a limit as to width – so can’t do large windows. My windows have a side well where the window slides up and down-not sure if all windows have that feature, but placing the ends of the bars there helps with stability. (So, they are like a tension rod for the shower used in a window. ) I do check them when I open the window. I feel they will prevent my cats from tumbling out. I like the visual for the cats of the bars as well. A DIY solution

    Cat Proof Window Screens IMG_4809

  7. My cats have ruined every screen I own and unless the spot is too small or there is a glass barrier they will stop at nothing to try and get out. I put a baby gate up in one window and they kept trying to jump over it. They pulled the screen through it, chewed through it and destroyed the screen. Fiesty little brats I tell you. I love fresh, open air. I suppose I’m going to have to put lattice from top to bottom from the overhang to my porch so they can go in and out without escaping. There are no alternatives for these stinkies. Their mother was the same way. Bless her soul, wherever she ran off to.

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