Tips for protecting your window screens from cat-related damage

If you’re a cat owner, you know how curious and adventurous cats can be. There’s not one day that goes by that my cat doesn’t make me chuckle. However, after a long cold winter, the chuckling stops when opening my windows for the first time. 

There’s nothing better than opening our windows and letting the smell of fresh air and the sounds of spring into our homes. For my family, it changes the mood in our home dramatically. Even my cat seems happier. However, the mood changes when Toulouse decides to put his claws into our screens. For some reason, he feels that it’s necessary to use our screens for his stretching routine.

If your cat does the same thing, here are some tips that may help:

1. Buy a new scratching post. If your scratching post is worn out or you’ve never had one, now’s the time to consider buying one. I didn’t realize that cats need to find ways to wear down their claws if they’re not trimmed regularly. 

2. Give your cat a spa day. Every other Saturday, Toulouse has a spa day. He gets his nails trimmed and his fur dry shampooed and brushed. Trimming your cat’s nails regularly may deter it from attacking your screens. If it doesn’t, at least its nails will be duller, potentially reducing some of the screen damage. Remember, don’t cut them too short. Visit your local groomer for assistance.

3. Keep a small spray bottle handy. Gently spray your cat with water if it gets near your screens and start misbehaving. This doesn’t hurt your cat but will reinforce that you don’t like this behavior. Never reuse a bottle that previously contained chemicals. 

4. Stack up some pillows. If your home is like mine, there’s no shortage of pillows on the couch. We’ve found that creating barriers with pillows is enough to prevent our cat from stretching on our patio door. We also use this trick to prevent him from scratching our bedroom door while we’re sleeping. However, if your cat figures out how to move or get through them, then it’s on to a different option. 

5. Purchase pet-proof screens. If your pet is resilient, it may be time to get more durable screens. Pet-proof screens can withstand cat claws or untimely charges to the patio door. We tried re-screening our existing patio door with a pet-proof screen. Unfortunately, the screen pushed out at the bottom. The age of the screen’s frame and workmanship led to this. 

6. Open your windows slightly. Instead of opening our windows all the way, we open them only as wide as his body. So, when he lies on the windowsill it’s difficult for him to get his claws into our screens. Due to his size, if he tried to lay on his side, he’d fall off.

7. Buy a spray-on pet deterrent. This type of spray is odorless for us, but cats dislike the odor. This may help keep them away. 

8. Apply double-sided tape. Cats spend a lot of time cleaning themselves. The last thing they want is sticky paws. Double-sided tape can be used as another deterrent. 

9. Reinforce your screens. If your cat doesn’t scratch your screens but works on pushing them out, I’d recommend reinforcing them. This will prevent them from falling out and keep more money in your bank account.

While some of these options aren’t aesthetically appealing, they may help eliminate your frustration.

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