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I'm about to move back to Paris with my cat after having spent years in North America. My cat was found in Pittsburgh and has lived with me there, in California and in Montreal. In all of those places, there were two things in common: buildings were low and there were always window screens. When he was young, he absolutely wanted to go out, but I had a strong feeling things would end very badly for him if he did, like getting run over by a car, get lost or a combination of similar things.

But in Paris, there are no window screens. And we'll be at what Europeans call the fourth floor and what Americans call the fifth floor. (We count differently.) The living room has a spectacular view over one of the main plazas in Paris, which I thought would be great for my cat to have something to watch over. It also has this sort of rail with a wide but somewhat slippery top. My big fear is that he tries to jump onto the rail, fails and falls over down the five levels. For a cat, he is sort of clumsy. I am planning to put a cat tree in front of a living room window so that he can look at the view more easily, but in front of a closed window only. The kitchen window is at the same level, does not have a nice view, but I'd still be afraid he'd fall. He's about 7½ years old, and still pretty curious.

It will be fairly hot when I arrive and I will need to leave some windows open. (No A/C in Paris.) I know it's just a detail and my cat will probably know better than fall five floors out a window, but when I was a child, I had a friend whose cat fell from the fourth floor while pregnant and lived, but lost her kittens. They had a faulty balcony that no one was allowed to go on. The balcony broke from under her, I think. She did not fall actually fall from the window.

When he was younger, if I told my cat to come back in a stern voice if he was about to do something dangerous, he'd just run away faster. But now he trusts that I have his best interest in mind and actually backs off from what he's doing and runs back towards wherever "home" is. This took years. But these windows still scare me in advance. And I know that for all cats "no" usually means "wait until I'm not watching over you."

I have a friend whose cat started walking on a ledge on a Paris building and visited other buildings. He actually did okay with that until he was run over by a car in the countryside. I don't think my building in Paris has ledges.

So any advice of what I should do would do when we arrive would be welcome, even if it's "don't worry: he'll know not to fall from five floors above ground."

  • most modern european windows can be locked in semi open possision and most are childproof,if the windows are older you can get different types of safety devices in the local hardware store to keep your cat safe. – trond hansen Aug 18 at 17:00
  • I'll see what I can do when we get there next week. My first attempts will be to only open windows in rooms where my cat cannot enter and I'll look into screens after that. But the windows open like double doors, what Americans call "French windows", so I'm not sure I'll find screens big enough. Still, it will be worth looking. – eje211 Aug 21 at 1:56
  • whatever you do make sure it is safe for your cat,allison has some good points in her answer.you need to be carefull as some solutions can involve a risk your cat hanging himself or getting injured from getting stuck. – trond hansen Aug 21 at 4:15
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Your best bet would be to add some (pet safe) screens, either by simply installing them if the windows are compatible, or by adding a modification to block the opening from inside if they aren't screen-ready. You could also use other options, such as "catios" that install in windows, window-install fan units, and the like; as long as the opening to outside is blocked with something that can't be pushed out of the way by an excited or curious cat, it should do the trick for you.

Simply locking the window in a partially open position won't be sufficient; cats can and will attempt to squeeze into spaces that are much too small for them, often with serious or fatal results.

It's likely solutions exist for pet owners like yourself who need to confine their animals; you'll need to wait until you have the dimensions of the window to make any purchase (and thus need to keep the windows closed until then), but you certainly aren't the first person to have such a need. A quick google search turned up a couple of items and ideas; check reviews for whatever option you think best suits your needs (and if you DIY screens, keep in mind that your cat may attempt to climb them, so they should be able to support his weight), and be sure to supervise him after installation to be certain he'll be safe.

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    I'll look into that. I've never seen anything like this in Paris, but I do know people with cats in Paris and I'll ask around. Thanks! – eje211 Aug 21 at 1:53
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I went to amazon.co.uk (I'm in the UK) and searched for Window Screen. There were quite a few results. I then changed the URL in the address bar, substituting '.fr' for '.co.uk' and got Amazon France with, again, quite a few window screens. I'd suggest buying as many or as few as you need (if they're available on Amazon then they'll be available elsewhere too, if you don't like Amazon).

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