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  • Writer's pictureDr. Rachel Geller

5 Tips for Apartment Window Safety for Cats

Cats love looking out windows and watching everything happening outside. But one loud noise or enticing bird could cause your cat to push against the screen with her paws. She could fall out, leading to severe harm or even death. You may press against your screens and think they are secure because they stretch and bend but don't come loose, however, they're probably not secure enough to prevent a spooked or playful cat from pushing through the screen. Unfortunately, these occurrences happen so often that there is a name for them: High Rise Syndrome.

In an apartment building, you may not be able to control the quality of the screens or how tightly and securely they fit, but there are ways to keep your cat safe by controlling how much your windows can open. This is the easiest solution, and I recommend using mechanisms so you cannot open your windows more than a couple of inches.

Close the Windows

For starters, close the windows when you are gone. Any time that you are not home, the windows should be closed. In fact, I advise cat owners to close their windows if they take a shower or run down the stairs to get the mail. Also, be aware of any "launching pads" that your cat can use to jump toward a window if she sees a bird or other enticing or rapid movement. Many cats are highly reactive to motion since it triggers their prey drive. Finally, remember that anything within seven feet of the window is reachable for your cat. Cats can move through the air both horizontally and vertically!

Child Proofing Tools

Child proofing tools can work well for cat proofing. A window wedge stopper is a small device that stops your window at the desired opening; no more than two inches is the recommended limit for cats. No tools are needed, no nails are necessary, and there is no damage when using this device…so it’s an ideal solution for rental apartments. The wedge attaches to the window frame with velcro that mates with a matching strip of velcro. A suction cup window stopper is another option that won’t cause any damage and stops windows from being opened more than two inches. The suction cups can be fixed directly to the window and are easy to use. These will work on any window.

Install a Hinged Wedge Lock

Consider installing a hinged wedge lock if you are handy and can make small patches. This allows you to open a window just to the desired two inches. You can install a chain lock (the same type used on doors) to limit the distance the window will open, as well. Use the most extended screws that the window will accommodate for maximum security.

Install a Guard

Another idea is to install a guard in front of the windows. A mesh window guard is a protective screen that fits inside your window frame. It deters cats from playing too close to an open window. Mesh window guards blend in with most window treatments. This can be an extra layer of safety if you do have screens. If your windows don't come with existing screens, a mesh guard is an excellent solution to deter your cat from the window. A mesh guard is also helpful for cats who claw the screens.

Designate a Cat Perch

Designating a spot to allow your cat to view the outdoors that is not too close to the edge of the window will allow your cat to enjoy surveying the outside action safely. Simple shelves placed strategically along the wall by the window can give your cat several different places to lounge while providing stimulation. A hanging cat perch or basket is another way to view the birds and goings-on without taking up floor space. Make the perch or basket even more enticing by placing a soft blanket or quilt. Your cat will appreciate this cozy napping spot with a view.

We hope these tips help you cat proof your apartment windows and create some ease when your cat decides to hang out near the window. Fortunately, enjoying the fresh air in your apartment and having cats does not have to be mutually incompatible! As always, we are happy to provide you with tips to keep your cat safe and happy. If you would like more cat-friendly advice, reach out through your building's Community Pet Portal to start the conversation!


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