Because I’ve never allowed my cats outside, I’ve tried to give them the best and most stimulating indoor experience possible. Windows are a big part of my cats’ lives. Most of my cats love looking out windows. Keiran was the exception. When we rescued him, he had no interest in looking out windows. That has changed.
Our living space has lots of windows for the cats to enjoy. Over the years, living in different places, I’ve noticed that some windows are much easier than others for cats to utilize. The height of the window makes a difference, for example, as does the space available for a cat to perch at the window. How can we make our cats’ window watching experiences as safe and as fun for the cats as possible? Here are some ideas.
1. Provide wide sills, or something like a sill
Our house has some pretty old windows, and they probably won’t be replaced for some time. They also vary in construction. Some windows have sills that are five to six inches wide, perfect for a cat to perch upon. These are also at a good jumping height for most of the cats.
That said, some other windows have tiny sills, only about two inches wide. The solution that we accidentally provided was to put a couch right up to one of the windows. There’s also a bird feeder right outside that window. Norton can spend hours perched on the couch, watching “bird TV.”
Darcy Matheson, author of Greening Your Pet Care, suggests adding cat shelves and perches to create a “cat hangout.”
“Install these near a sunny window and let your kitty sunbathe and enjoy nature without being in harm’s way,” Matheson recommends.
Such items can be purchased in pet stores or you can make your own.
Matheson seconds the suggestion of a bird feeder outside the window, and suggests a bird bath as well: “Make sure the window is tightly secured and your cat has a comfy spot to sit. ‘Bird TV’ will provide hours of entertainment.”
You might also provide bird sounds inside the house. Some apps provide these.
2. Use strong screens
Avoid the danger of your cat going through or clawing through the external screen on your windows. We’re lucky that our window screens are old but made of super sturdy mesh. A cat couldn’t possibly claw through it. However, a cat could potentially lean into the screen and pop it out of its gasket, so I am careful about not leaving those particular windows wide open when I am not in the room with the cats. Make sure your windows are secure, especially if your cat would have no idea what to do if he got outside.
3. Use curtains or shades that cats can easily work around
Cats will want to get to the window, so make it easy . We have soft curtains that the cats can easily paw aside. The downside? These curtains will quickly accumulate lots of cat hair, so make sure the curtains are easily washable. In a previous house, we had cheap blinds that got brittle in the sun. As the cats pawed around the blinds to get to the window, they’d eventually snap off a piece of the brittle blind. I think they like the curtains better.
4. Build a catio
I’ve always wanted one of these. Some are designed to hang outside windows so cats will have their own little enclosed balconies. Matheson says catios and well-placed windows “make life a lot more interesting for indoor cats and brings a little bit of the outdoors to them.” These endeavors don’t have to be expensive or difficult.
“You can build your catio with upcycled boards from other projects, or with wire mesh or chicken wire to keep your cat secure,” Matheson says. “Pinterest is full of catio ideas for every design, budget and style.”
Do you have creative ideas for making the best of your cat’s window sitting experience? Share in the comments.