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Cat Proofing a Screen Door (Is There Such a Thing?)

Growing up in the country, we’ve always had at least a handful of cats around. Screens on doors and windows seem to be a constant target for their shenanigans. After replacing one too many screens, I decided to try and find a way to eliminate the problem once and for all. This is what I found out.

You can cat-proof your screen door using store-bought attachments or DIY ideas. Depending on whether you want to keep your cat in or let them out, there are many options to choose from. Screen doors made from high-quality materials will withstand scratches, last longer, and keep insects at bay. 

Birds, reptiles, and small animals running past your screen door can drive adventurous cats crazy, and they’ll want to get through as quickly as possible. In the process, they might get hurt or damage your door. Thankfully, there’s a way to cat-proof your screen door to keep your cats safely inside.

Back view of a cat trying to climb a window screen

Is There a Cat-Proof Screen?

There’s a variety of cat-proof screens available. You can choose between screens for your doors and windows. Each screen has unique features to keep your cats in, out, or safer from threats. Some cat-proof screens are permanent fixtures, while you can easily remove others when needed. 

Do Pet-Resistant Screens Work?

Pet-resistant screens work, but they aren’t a foolproof solution. They’ll stay intact if your cat tries to scratch or puncture them. However, a reasonably sized pet that runs into it at full speed can damage the frame or screen material. 

Best Pet-Proof Screen

Pet-proof screens made from bamboo, wire, and coated polyester are considered the most durable. Keep your pet’s strength and determination in mind when selecting a pet-proof screen. Additionally, your pet’s abilities will also influence whether the screen should be half or full-length. 

Thankfully, you can easily buy a cat-proof screen or attachment. These will help prevent damage to your screen door. 

Here are three of my favorite pet-proof screens or attachments:

1. Safety 1st Eco-Friendly Nature Next Bamboo Gate

Made with a bamboo frame and plastic screen, this sturdy gate will keep your cats in. You can adjust this screened gate until it fits your door to ensure every inch is protected from your furry friend. The plastic screen has a simple design, making it a good fit for any interior space. It also won’t obstruct your view.

Installation only takes a few minutes, and the screen has a functional mechanism that keeps it locked in place. You’ll need some muscle power to unlatch it once you want to pack it away.

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2. DocaScreen Pet Screen

Your cat’s nails will be no match for the DocaScreen. This tear- and scratch-resistant pet screen is durable and effective. It’s made from vinyl-coated polyester that’ll withstand any cat-inflicted damage. If you cut it to the correct size, it will be easy to install and will look neat.

While the material is thick and strong, it still lets plenty of light through. Besides acting as a pet screen, the DocaScreen will double as an insulator and will keep warm air out to help cool your house down. 

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3. PetSafe Pet Screen Door

If you don’t mind letting your kitty out but still want to keep insects away, the PetSafe Pet Screen Door might be what you’re looking for. It’s made from tear-resistant mesh and a lightweight but sturdy plastic frame. Unlike many other screen doors, this solution is visually pleasing.

This pet door is a little more tricky to install since you’ll have to add it to your existing screen. However, it’ll allow your cat to exit and enter as they please. The flap will open when they push it, and it will close behind them. You can also slide the locks into place to temporarily close the flap. 

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Three DIY Solutions for Cat-Proofing a Screen Door

If you don’t want to purchase a pet screen, there are many DIY solutions for you to choose from to temporarily cat-proof your screen door. If your budget is tight or you need a quick solution, use one of these DIY ideas to protect your screen door from your cats. They’re easy to set up and affordable.

1. Create A Chicken Wire Screen

Replacing your existing screen door with chicken wire is pretty simple. This heavy-duty material might not fit your aesthetics, but it does the job. While this won’t help your screen door keep bugs out, you’ll be greeted with a pleasant breeze. Your cats also won’t be able to scratch these or get out.

2. Add A Barrier to the Bottom

You can add a barrier to the bottom of your screen door. Although cats can jump, it’s unlikely that they’ll try if they can’t see anything outside. You can build a bottom barrier from wood or metal. If you leave the top of your screen door as it is, you’ll still have the view. 

3. Build A Patterned Frame

If you want to get a little creative, try building a patterned frame to place over your screen door. You can make this from sturdy wire and design any pattern you’d like. Just keep the gaps small enough to ensure your cat can’t fit through. This will prevent them from damaging your screen door. 

Additional Tips to Keep Your Cat Away From Your Screen Door

A cat with its mouth against a screen trying to pull it away to get through

If your furry friend still won’t stay away from your screen door or has a feisty attitude, you might want to keep them away from your screen door for good. Try one of these tips to ensure your cat stays back:

Freshen The Area with Cat Repellent Fragrances

Cats dislike the smell of citrus, lavender, and vinegar. You can make a spray scented with one of these and use it around your screen door. Keeping a vase with lavender flowers or citrus peels beside your door might also help. These fragrances don’t appeal to cats, and they’re likely to stay away when they get a whiff of it.  

Provide a Scratching Alternative for Your Cat

If your feline is messing with your screen door because they have the urge to scratch something, find a replacement. You can get your cat a dedicated scratch post and steer them away from the door with a scratch-deterrent spray. Teaching your cat to use their new scratching post might take some time. I suggest implementing a reward system to encourage them to use it. 

Use Sticky Tape On Your Door

Attaching double-sided sticky strips, like this type found on Amazon, to your screen door can help keep your cats away. Felines don’t like the sticky sensation on their paws. After being met by this a few times, your pet is sure to start staying away.

The only downside to this method is that you’ll occasionally need to replace the sticky strips as they will gather dust and dirt.

Why You Should Cat-Proof a Screen Door

Our pets might not always understand why we restrict them from doing certain things, but many times it’s for their own good. 

There are several reasons you need to cat-proof your screen door. Here are some:

  1. Your cat will do almost anything to get out if they want to. If you live in a suburban area, this isn’t always safe for them. A screen door can help keep your pet inside while allowing fresh air into your home.
  2. Attaching a stronger screen door can discourage your cat from trying to get out. If they notice their attempts keep failing, your kitty will likely back off. 
  3. Having a screen door can also keep other animals away. Snakes, squirrels, and even your neighbor’s dog can harm your cat. Having a screen door that can withstand your cat’s attempts to get out can save its life. 
  4. Cats like being silly sometimes and often simply have the urge to scratch something. An unprotected screen door can become their target. While this could leave you in tears, your cat will soak up the good time they had. Cat-proofing your screen door can steer them away and leave your emotions intact. 

Final Thoughts

You should choose a cat-proof screen door solution that’s scratch-resistant and durable. These are the main factors that should influence your decision. Cats have sharp claws and like to climb. They’ll also try breaking out a few times before realizing there’s no point. Your screen door should be able to hold out against these attacks.

For more, don’t miss The 8 Best Ways to Keep Chipmunks Out of the Garden.

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