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Cats and Screens - Tips?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
(please move this if there is a more appropriate forum)

I am sure this question has been asked before but I need some really thrifty hints.

The two windows I have for the cats to look out are 3 stories up. I really worry about them falling through the screens if the windows are left open too far. With hot weather just around the corner, we will all broil if the windows aren't open. I want them to be able to see outside.

So, need some super cheap/creative ways to make my two safer. I live in an apartment so cannot do anything too permanent - beyond a few hooks/nails. I cannot afford the "cat screens".

Here are some off the wall things I have considered. Large plastic canvas sheets that can be somehow hooked outside the window frame. Or some type of metal grating (if I can find it free) that I can attached with a few nails.

That's all I've been able to brainstorm so far.
post #2 of 16
I cant think of anything that wouldn't spoil their view. Do you have scrap yards or rubbish days in your area? You might be able to find something through there
post #3 of 16
I use baby gates in my upstairs windows.
post #4 of 16
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Arlyn View Post
I use baby gates in my upstairs windows.
Do you attach them to the window frame in any way or just let the weight of the window hold them? I like this idea.
post #5 of 16
Ahhh... I wonder if you might like something similar to what I did in my apartment, when Clyde and Pearl and I were there. It has an inside stairway with a half-wall overlooking the foyer, and I was terrified that a kitty would leap up onto that halfwall and slide right off into midair.

I thought up all sorts of elaborate constructions, but in the end, here's what I did:

Went to a craft-and-garden store and found a triptych, a three-part hinged fence sorta thing about 30 inches high, made of thick metal wire bent into lovely archtopped shapes and finished in verdigris. Very pretty!

Got a nice piece of lumber, a 1x8, and cut it to fit on the top of that halfwall edge to edge. Sanded, painted it white to match the woodwork on the halfwall, and used three long woodscrews to secure it there. (I know that made holes in the woodwork that I will have to fix before I leave... but this was the least intrusive idea I came up with.)

Then I got some of those very sturdy white plastic pieces that are meant for attaching that nice coated-wire shelving in closets -- they're shaped like a little U with tabs on each side where screws go through, and they happened to be exactly the right size. I arranged the triptych carefully, standing it on the wood with its three sections bent at angles that would help give it stability, and I used the U-shapes to secure its bottom edges to the wood. At the right side, where there was a vertical wall, I added a couple of those U-shapes with special drywall screws for security. Then I took some plastic ties, the kind they use to hold a lot of electrical cords together, and added those just above the hinges on the triptych, as backup in case the hinges ever fail.

Then I got some pretty silk vines and draped them all around to disguise the hardware, and it looks pretty darn good, if I do say so myself!

I'm thinking you might be able to do it a little easier in a window... just U-shape the metal piece to a piece of wood that fits, use velcro to keep the wood on the sill, and maybe put in a couple of eyebolts in the sides of the window framing... then you could use a springhook (something the kitties couldn't possibly dislodge) on each side to hold the metal piece to those eyebolts. The idea being that it would be pretty, too -- and easy to rip out in case of an emergency.

Cons: You'd have to undo the springhooks and tip the piece of wood back a little to get access to your window to open and close it... and you'd have to be super-certain that your kitties couldn't possibly get behind the metal piece, to get between it and the window.

Pros: You could get a piece of wood a little deeper than the sill itself and attach a pillow to it to make a little kitty windowseat. Awwww.
post #6 of 16
With ballast weight windows I stretch them tight into the opening, then let the window weight hold them.

On this condo, my windows are sliders and I stretch the gate tight into the opening, then slide the window tight against it.
If you have ballast weight windows, measure the opening when the window is up and take a tape measure with you while shopping for gates.
post #7 of 16
Ha! I just composed this whole complicated post full of detailed instructions and cautious admonitions, and now I see a simple, "I use baby gates in my upstairs windows" above.

Of course. An easy, pre-existing solution.

post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 
Ahh Carol, I love your idea, too! It is very creative I think I might be able to ask around for baby gates, see if anyone has any they don't use.

Also, was thinking of some type of fencing that may be tall enough. Will have to go looking through the neighborhoods, I suppose, see what people are giving away

I am going to try to make something nice like Carol's but my do-it-yourself adventures don't usually turn out well
post #9 of 16
Originally Posted by CarolPetunia View Post
Ha! I just composed this whole complicated post full of detailed instructions and cautious admonitions, and now I see a simple, "I use baby gates in my upstairs windows" above.

Of course. An easy, pre-existing solution.

Aww don't feel bad, I actually copied your idea down and will certainly use it if I ever live someplace with a half wall, it sounds pretty.
post #10 of 16
I use an adjustable, removable window screen. They come up to 20" tall...I understand the financial constraints, but these cost me under $7 each at Walmart (the only place I could find them around here).

They fit in the window like the baby gates and the weight of my old windows holds them in place. I actually bought them to keep little claws out of my big window screens, but they also provide a level of security since they can't lean far enough to push anything out the window.

They look like this, although I paid less at Wallyworld
post #11 of 16
At my local Home Depot, Pet Proof screens are $4 per window, or $13 per roll (does 3 windows.)

Might be cheaper than a lot of the "alternatives" people are suggesting.

That's what I'm buying to replace all the screens in my new apartment with.
post #12 of 16
Originally Posted by Bonnie1965 View Post
I am going to try to make something nice like Carol's but my do-it-yourself adventures don't usually turn out well
Mine either! This one was a fluke, believe me!
post #13 of 16
Wonderful ideas! You guys are awesome!
post #14 of 16
I live on the third floor in an apartment too. We have our bedroom window and a sliding glass patio door. Bedroom window is never open more than 2-3 inches unless I have our window fan in it. The patio door is only open without a fan in it when we are home to supervise. This works pretty well.

I'm glad I do this, our neighbors on the second floor have a screen that popped out of their window--who knows if their cat got out. They never had fans blocking the screen like I always do.

Edited to add: my window fan is one of those 2 fan thingies that braces into the window. They sell them all over now. In the patio door we use a box fan.
post #15 of 16
I think I remember someone saying they used latticework on the insides of the screens.
post #16 of 16
I have used baby gates when I didn't trust the windows with my cats(had 16 at time half were kittens). 10 bucks(cheaper at yard sales/ garbage day)from the street it looked half decent(i got the wood with the diamond white plastic mesh. if you put it in tight enough no cat is getting through
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