I have a type of window that lets me use a small hook to hold just a small gap open at the top and bottom corners (the window opens sideways). The gap is about 5 cm (2 in) and, if I use considerable force, I can stretch it to 7.5 cm (3 in).

How can I determine if the cat will be able to squeeze through it?

And is it likely to have enough strength to bend a double-glazed wooden window to get an extra inch?

EDIT: the cat is very slim.

  • Would it be possible for the cat to disengage the hook? Can you put the cat on the outside and a dish of some food that the cat is enthusiastic about on the inside so that the cat can demonstrate for you? Sep 25 '17 at 17:28
  • Cover your cat with olive oil and try to slide him through.
    – Theyouthis
    Sep 25 '17 at 18:32

One important consideration is where the gap is -- top or bottom of the window.

If the cat can get their head through a small gap (and some cats -- including my little girl --can) but can't get their body through, they can get stuck and panic. If the gap is at the bottom, they could still injure themselves but I'd be more worried about a gap at the top where they could actually hang themselves.

Is something like this Tilting Window Protection available where you live and suitable for your window? Or Cat nets ?

I'll add that a cat doesn't need to be particularly small to escape through a small gap by an open window, and they don't always have good sense: I've had a medium size cat (who objected to being shut indoors overnight for his own safety) squeeze out through a narrow gap at the top of a window one floor up, and jump down onto a shed roof (lucky it was there) before descending to the ground. And another (who had two broken front legs in plaster after jumping out of a window one floor up) repeat the experiment though an-only-just-open window (and break both legs again).

  • Good point about the risk of the gap on the top of the window, I hadn't thought of that (and hopefully more new cat owners will read this). I think I'll go with the cat nets to start with because now I'm starting to believe she will find her way through the gap eventually. Thanks!
    – cahen
    Sep 26 '17 at 9:11
  • 1
    @cahen Fix the nets firmly!
    – user10093
    Sep 26 '17 at 15:17

Depending on the definition of "considerable force" it's unlikely that the cat will be able to force the gap wider. As to whether the cat can fit through that all depends on the size of the cat. Or more specifically the cat's head, their skeletal system is put together such that it has floating clavicles so that the only real limit to what gaps they can squeeze through is the size of their head.

  • 3
    While this is true, I've seen cats get their heads through gaps, and then get stuck because they don't know how to get around something or because they've then slipped and could end up suffocating themselves. (Source: got 3 cats, had about 30 over the years.) Sep 25 '17 at 16:56
  • 2
    @djsmiley2k True.. I was pointing out that being able to fit their head through was the minimum required, not that such a gap would always be something they could get through. Since the OP is asking about having a gap they can't get through then making such a gap narrower than their head ensures they aren't going anywhere. Sep 26 '17 at 9:34

From what I've seen and have been told, if the gap is equal to the end-to-end distance between their whiskers then they'll get through. This apparently is the same distance in which they can squeeze through their whole body.

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