If you live in Europe or the UK, you probably don’t need any explanation with regards to what I’m talking about after having read the title of this post.
For indoor cat owners in Canada, Australia, and the United States – I might have to catch you up to speed, so let me do that right now.
Here in the UK, and to my knowledge in most countries across Europe, pretty much no one has mesh on their windows. I’m talking insect screen mesh. Strong, pet screen mesh is besides the point – if your problem is ever that you should ideally replace weak-ish insect screens with stronger versions a pet can’t as easily scratch through, you now should now know you’re in a pretty #blessed position. Here, we mostly all have nothing in the way of open widows. And if you have a house cat, this absolutely sucks.
Now before you say, “Well no big deal, just get a custom made mesh screen and whip it on” – that’s not so easy. I’ll get into this more later, but let me first show you what we often have to work with:
Pretty right? That’s about where my satisfaction with these windows ends.
My 2c About the Stupidity of No Mesh on Windows
I need to get in a rant right about here, because I have been beyond myself with frustration with this no-mesh-on-windows policy that Europeans and Brits pretty much all seem to live by, and I haven’t actually taken the time to thoroughly vent about it online before.
Brits love carpeting. They hate overpaying for utilities like heating, and often refuse to crank heat way up in the winter. Totally fine, and the end result is a nearly unanimous love of carpeting, as it’s magical in that it keeps the house warm even while the heat is on low. Great.
But carpet beetles and moths eat carpeting. And there’s no insect screen on British windows. So you’re basically inviting the potential of a disaster into your home each time you open a window.
No carpeting? Still problems. Especially with clothes: clothing moths eat clothes. So by not having insect screen on your window you’re inviting the absolutely god-awful potential of having your entire wardrobe slowly eaten away by the dreadful things.
Not done yet, because obviously – bugs in general. You have to live with them just waltzing their way in. Sure, you could argue Europe & the UK probably have a lot less flying bugs than might come through the window in North American summers. Maybe. But that doesn’t mean they don’t come into your house here.
Besides harmless, but annoying insects fly in, I’ve had countless bees and wasps fly in through my windows here in the UK, and have heard so many stories of BIRDS and even small mammals finding their way in…
Why the heck would you not want to prevent all this hassle and potential headache by merely giving in and adopting mesh like the rest of us?
Okay now, we come to the excuses. The “reasoning” I’ve heard being thrown about behind this mad window-mesh hate.
- It’s ugly. I don’t want that crap on my windows.
Yeah that’s great, but unless you keep your windows closed 24/7, why would you not put up with windows being slightly uglier to prevent all the downsides? Makes no sense.
- Insect screens are stupid; they make windows darker, which defeats the purpose of a window (to let in light).
Those of us who live in countries that have accepted window screens as enhancements of the window don’t have mesh covering our entire windows – just small the portions we want to open. We’ll have enormous window panes at the top, for instance, completely untouched by mesh and impossible to open, then small portions at the bottom that we can open, and only these portions are covered by mesh (check the picture below for a visual).
- Insect screens block airflow.
If you’re stating this you have never actually used an insect screen before. Mesh does not block air flow, at most it slightly dulls the wind. Also, you know what really blocks airflow? Having to close your window as soon as the sun goes down because otherwise insects attracted to the light will get into your house. Yes, I could turn off every light in the room to open the window at night without attracting bugs, but I don’t think it’s too much to ask to be able to use a room to its full capacity after dark while also keeping a window cracked open, thank you.
Having insect screens on your windows makes your windows usable 24/7. It protects your carpeting and your clothing from the increased potential of clothing moths getting into your home. It protects your house from being invaded by flying insects, and your sanity by making sure you don’t have to deal with an incredible array of problems that might come about solely for the sake of having marginally “prettier” windows. It’s mad. Hate window screens? Please god give me a better explanation why. These just don’t cut it.
Now moving on to the horrible insect screen options we have to work with..
Insect Screen Options for Europeans & Brits
Based on what I’ve seen, if you’ve got windows like mine, you have two options:
- Put pathetic velcro options like these up on your window and pretend they’ll be enough to keep your cat inside. They won’t – if a cat wants out, it’d be so easy for him/her to hack. And they’re a hassle. You can’t just open all your windows; after you’ve opened one, you’d have to carefully put on the velcro insect screen, then move on to do the same for any other windows you want opened. Getting air into my flat should not be a such a long process.
- Get a roller screen like one of these to screw in over top your regular window. Each time you want to open that window, you’d then roll the screen down. These are expensive, irreversible (you screw them directly into your window frames if I’m not wrong) and thus not renter friendly, and they’re still not ideal considering if you have a quick cat, he or she could jump out the window before you got the screen down (or of course you’d need to always make sure no cats are in the room whenever you try opening a window).
If you happen to have windows that open up or in? Your best option, I would think, would be to get a regular mesh screen and somehow fit it to the outside of the window. Obviously, the downside is your entire window would then always be covered in mesh (again, not the same as in North America where we have only small parts of our windows covered in mesh), but not the worst thing, especially when it comes to convenience, ability to remove them later, and cost.
Indoor Cats + No Viable Window Screens = ???
I don’t know if I’m missing something here, but this leads me to conclude that Europeans and Brits with typical windows either settle for the velcro option and somehow it manages to work out fine for them (maybe your cats don’t ever claw at window mesh?), or settle for nothing on the windows and rarely ever open them, or only open windows just a crack?
There’s one last option I suppose, but I don’t know that it’s physically possible:
Are all your cats somehow used to windows being wide open and miraculously, they’re never curious enough to be tempted to step outside? All of the house cats I know in Canada would definitely take an open window as an invitation to walk out, so I can’t quite wrap my head around this being a true possibility.
Not sure I understand how most of you work around the window situation. Especially those in apartments in big cities like Paris that have French windows out to balconies and such. Do you never open them if your house cat is in the room?
Please break it down for me so I can finally wrap my head around it!