4 window treatments to avoid with cats

Joan Fieldstone

April 30, 2014

By: Joan Fieldstone, Home Improv Advocate

In: Interior DesignWindows and Window Fashions

When you decide to bring pets into your life and your home, you have to think of it the same way you do when you decide to have kids -- for the better part of the next couple of decades, you are committed.

Over the years I've had some pretty trying situations with every one of my pets -- present company included -- as well as with my kids, but I would never have parted with my fur babies any more than I would my children. I tear up whenever I see or hear about abandoned and neglected pets.

Sometimes -- okay, most times -- you have to take the good with the bad, and this includes ruined furnishings and vet visits due to poorly pet-proofing your home. So here's a bit of advice if you are new to cat ownership -- you may have to rethink your window treatments. Nothing brought that fact home more than my son posting this zinger on my Facebook timeline.

cat in blinds

That's why I'm glad I didn't rush to purchase custom window fashions when I first moved in nearly three years ago. The truth is that paying for a refrigerator, central AC, and a washer and dryer immediately after closing on the house left my budget pretty thin. I bought some paper shades that attached to the windows like sticky notes. For the bedroom and patio sliders, I got some off-the-shelf vinyl blinds and called it "done."

My excuse for not getting permanent window coverings later that year was that my choices were drastically compromised: I had to comply with the HOA rules that the window treatments be white -- at least on the side that was visible outside. Then, when I started thinking about putting color on the walls, I decided to wait until I finished painting. Before I knew it, another few months had gone by and I had a house full of kittens. What's the point of buying costly window treatments that the cats can destroy?

Cats find window hunting as irresistible as we find window shopping on Fifth Avenue. It's in the DNA. A wise cat owner will provide a perch for kitty to lounge and watch the world go by. A window treatment that can be raised or drawn aside, either by you or your cat, to allow an unobstructed view will leave kitty less likely to claw your curtains or slice up your sheers. Avoid these no-no's when it comes to choosing window coverings with cats in mind:

  1. Mini blinds. You can always tell who has cats in the neighborhood, even if you never see them. They're in the house with the mangled minis.
  2. Cords. Hanging cords are a tantalizing recipe for tragedy. Cats will either ingest them, blocking their intestines, or get caught in them and strangle. I nearly lost a cat the second way. Luckily, my son saw her struggling, and we were able to disentangle her in time, but not before she clawed us in terror.
  3. Sheer fabrics. You know how much you like seeing snagged pantyhose? Think how you'll feel when those are your expensive cellular shades or sheer curtains the cat's nails have mauled.
  4. Heavy drapes. These may actually stand up to your cat. You might even find it amusing to see her clinging to the valance as she tries to figure out how to get down once she's clawed her way to the top.

Until I can find something that conforms to my taste, the pet parameters, and the HOA's restrictions, I'll keep flipping through catalogs looking for the perfect solution. Still, I have to admit that when I saw The Home Depot had a sale on window treatments through the beginning of May, I was very tempted to buy at least one for the kitchen window that I'm pretty sure will stand up to the kitties and appeal to my retro sense of style. They are acrylic, textured blinds by Bali -- with a stained glass pattern you can see from outside when they are closed.

open diffusion blinds

Arbitrary rules just beg to be broken.


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