I have always lived on the first or ground floor, but about a year ago I moved into a new building and I am on the third floor. My cat Pookie LOVES looking out windows, something I never thought twice about in the past. Now, as I leave my screened windows open, I can’t help but get nervous if she inches too close to the edge. My building is old and the screens are flimsy. One wrong push and Pooks could tumble out of the window to serious harm or even death.
I began my search on how to cat-proof my windows and that turned out to be a lot harder than you would think. There’s a term “high rise syndrome” specifically coined for when cats fall out of windows in tall buildings. High Rise Syndrome is especially prevalent in the summer months, when people keep windows open to let fresh air in. So how do you go about keeping your cat safe without keeping all of your windows shut and roasting in your own home? Here are a few tips and ideas.
There are a myriad of window safety tools available online that are aimed at keeping small children from falling out of windows. While there are a lot of bar options, it would be wiser to opt for a strong netting or screen for your cat; they could wiggle through the bars. KidCo has a guard mesh that can hold up to 60 pounds of pressure.
Unfortunately, most pre-made window guards aren’t helpful if you have windows that do not slide up. I have large, French windows that open in, leaving a tiny ledge and a flimsy screen between my cat and a three story fall. I cannot go outside to put on any stronger screens because I live in an apartment building and there isn’t a balcony or floor underneath my windows.
I measured my windows and ordered PetScreen to install in my windows. There are other screens that are made specifically for pets as well, or you can opt for another heavy-duty screen. Just make sure it is strong enough to hold even if your cat lunges at the window towards a bird outside. Home improvement stores like Home Depot even have all the necessary equipment to make your own screens. Using video tutorials like this one, you can make your new window screens in an hour or less.
If your window screens are relatively new and rip-free, try to reinforce your screens from the outside (if possible.) Use duct tape, screws, or nails to insure the the screen stays in place and is not easily knocked out of the window.
If your wallet allows it and you own your home, consider hiring a professional to create custom window treatments to keep your cat safe. For many people the idea of getting handy and making window screens can be daunting, and it is perfectly OK to hire someone if that is what you are more comfortable with. The most important thing is keeping your cat safe.
If your cat loves looking out the window, consider getting them a cat tree or condo that can be close to the window, but not so close for them to hop through it. By giving your cat a safe view of the outdoors, you are cutting down the chance of her hopping up on a small ledge and pushing through the window screen.
As tempting as it can be to leave just *one* window open to let a breeze through while you are out, resist it and close all windows when you are leaving the house. Even if you have secured and reinforced your windows, it is always safer to keep them closed while you are not home. I even go as far as to shut my windows while I am in the shower or even if I am simply running downstairs to get the mail. You can never be too safe.
Has your cat ever managed to break a window screen and get out? How did you kitty-proof your windows? Share your tips and tricks in the comments.