I have one cat at the moment, who is inside all of the time, but he loves to sit in windowsills.

It doesn't happen often, but there are many nights where another cat or an animal such as a raccoon will wander near the window, which greatly upsets my cat, and usually ends up waking me up.

I can't do much outside the house to prevent animals/cats coming around as I live in a basement of a house owned by other people, but is there anything I could do inside my house to keep my cat calm or otherwise prevent this sort of upset?

7 Answers 7


You need to add a relatively tall climbing tree (the number one answer to almost anything related to cats) or similar high-up vantage point near the window and instead of closing the curtains I'd let a view to the outside from this tree. Closing the curtains forces your cat to go on the windowsill where s/he is then suddenly too close to the passerby. Having the window glass between them makes no difference, as you've noticed.

Provide your cat with the high-up observation platform with a good view to keep watch over the "intruder" while the cat itself can stay invisible (or at least feel like invisible). How this might work depends a lot on the reason what really upsets your cat in the first place. Usually it is the close proximity to the passerby, which is quite unavoidable if the cat sits on a windowsill and the intruder moves right under your cat's nose. Stealth is life!

What changes between night and day is the lighting. During a day the brightest light comes from outside, which makes it very difficult from the outside to see in. An animal passing the window at daytime can't really see in, so it can't make eye-contact with your cat. Your cat is invisible because of the glass reflection. Night changes this. An animal on the outside can see your cat so close on the windowsill and makes eyecontact.

In case there is an outside lightsource that shines through the window illuminating your cat as well as the outside creature, then a roll-down curtain might help by shadowing your cat out of view. Like this:

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From what I've later understood of the setting, it seems the above pic is not quite what your basement apartment looks like. If I got it right, the relation of ground level to window looks like this:

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For the happiness of the cat I would not try to prevent access to the windowsill, as cats seem to like to sit and watch things through a window. I would turn the window into a one-way-mirror to the outside, which adds some darkening effect to the inside. Making it one-way to outside allows you (and your cat) to see out, but from the outside it appears to be a mirror. I don't know what the product is called in English, but it is a thin foil-like adhesive film that is spread on the window glass. Though there's no guarantee that this would work, but at least it would prevent eyecontact between your cat and the by-passing animal, as I believe that is an important part of the problem.

The get a full mirror-effect requires that there's some light on the outside and relatively dark in the room inside.

  • There are no one-way-mirrors. Only half-transparent mirrors and abundance of light from one side.
    – Erbureth
    Commented Oct 13, 2014 at 16:01

It is normal for a cat to get upset if an unfamiliar creature passes 'their' lawn/street/window.

The problem here is that they bother you when it happens. This means you have to teach them that waking you up won't help them. If they wake you up, don't give them anything, including attention. Try to just roll over and go back to sleep.

If they are persistant, use your usual behaviour for when they have done something wrong (I don't know what you do, I normally give a soft nudge in a direction away from me at first, and if it doesn't help I speak in a harsh tone to her)

They might still be upset, but they will learn to deal with it.

  • I've been trying this for weeks now, and it doesn't help - I can redirect/spray/yell/whatever, and he gets down for a moment, then goes back.
    – user53
    Commented Apr 8, 2014 at 15:35

It may be worth trying one of the artificial pheromone sprays. In Australia we can get one called FeliWay and it has been recommended by two different vets for various cat neuroses.

Basically, you either spray an area with the pheromone or you have a thing you plug in a powerpoint like an air freshener. The pheromone chills the cat out. We had it recommended to us for a neurotic cat that was over grooming and it has also been suggested for our other cat who is very aggressive on vet visits. My parents had it suggested for their cats (brother & sister) who were not getting along.

One of our cats (the aggressive one) does exactly the same thing as yours - stomps around in the middle of the night wailing away because he has spotted an intruder outside. Your cat probably thinks he is doing you a big favour by alerting you to the imminent danger so chilling him out a bit might help him to pipe down.

Our cat only does it a couple of times a week and tbh it doesn't bother us that much - but having used Feliway in the past for other things it definitely helps calm them down.

Best of luck!


This happened to me a lot when I was feeding a lot of outdoor strays and feral cats. I had french doors on the back porch and some of the indoor cats were very unhappy when they outdoor cats came close to the door. I took some white posterboard and carefully cut out sections to match the small window openings in the french door and attached them with press-on adhesive squares. I just covered up the bottom row which was cat height. This solved the problem of highly irate screaming cats for me.

If your main problem area are window sills look for a way to just block cat line of sight at the bottom bottom 18" or so of the problem areas. (Adjust height as needed based on indoor and outdoor elevation, cat size, etc.) Sheet metal, opaque plexiglas or lexan would be some materials to consider using. If you are concerned about appearances you can put the material either inside or out, paint it, or wrap the material with a fabric you like. Someone adept at decorating may be able to assist.

If you have a fenced-in yard, getting a mainly outdoor dog to scare off the intruding animals would work too, but may create a new set of issues.

Over the years there have been various products that claim to scare away wildlife. You could look into what is currently on the market. I have no experience with them though.

  • My biggest problem is that the windows are set right at ground level because it is a basement, so I can't really cover part of the window I would have to cover all of it and that means going without Windows.
    – user53
    Commented Apr 9, 2014 at 16:43
  • That makes it rough. The only way I see is to prevent your cat from jumping up to the windowsill. You could fill the windowsill with non valuable break-resistant objects so the cat will think there is no room to jump (some cats will jump up anyway). I used this trick to keep cats off a shelf.
    – Beo
    Commented Apr 9, 2014 at 16:57
  • You could also use glass or plexiglass to seal off the window sill, so there is no place for them to sit. So there is a window on either side of the sill. My cats usually don't get angry unless something is right at the window. Can you build a little fenced in area around the window outside the house? With heavy gauge wire like you see protecting trees and gardens. Maybe plant some flowers or plants around the outside to further obstruct the cat's vision?
    – Beo
    Commented Apr 9, 2014 at 16:59

You could try installing a privacy film on your windows. There are several brands, but my experience has been with Gila (which can be found at Home Depot).

Your cat (and you) will no longer be able to see outside, but some light will still be able to enter (how much depends on which film you pick). It may not work because your cat may still hear the other animals outside, but it's not a permanent alteration to your living space (it peels right off when you don't want it anymore).

  • I've noticed that if he hears them but doesn't see them, he doesn't get as agitated, so this might be worth a shot. I like the idea of still being able to get light through the window, too.
    – user53
    Commented Apr 7, 2014 at 20:47

You could always close or add curtains to the windows. I think the reason your cat is getting so upset is because another animal is "trespassing" in his territory.

  • I have curtains - he either goes around them, or pulls them down (that is rare, though.) I forgot to mention that.
    – user53
    Commented Oct 9, 2013 at 1:59
  • @AshleyNunn Does he meow loud when he sees another cat? Commented Oct 9, 2013 at 2:00
  • Only at night - if he sees them during the day, he is fine.
    – user53
    Commented Oct 9, 2013 at 2:25

My impractical solution is to put a television into the wall, and have it act as the window that the cat looks out of. That way, you can control what your cat can see, and make sure that there are no animals that are going to show up "outside" Then you can also have different videos during the day, like video of an aquarium, or even a webcam to a zoo exhibit.

Here's roughly how I would do it:

Step 1: Acquire a flatscreen television. One that's about 32-inches should be a good size I think.

Step 2: Cut a hole in the wall to embed the television into. Cut the hole so that the television is sideways.

Step 3: Mount the television into the hole in the wall and route the wires to a plugin and a computer.

Step 4: Put some trim around the television to hide that it's a television and make it look like a window.

Step 5: Put a looping video of the outdoors on the screen, and move your cat to look out of that window instead. No animals on the video, means no noise when your cat is watching.

Another somewhat less impractical solution, is to set up a projector. Set up a fake window with the trim with a white screen inside. The difference with the projector, is that it's generally more expensive, and can possibly not look realistic enough for the cat to show interest.

  • That wouldn't keep the cat away from the windows, though. It would just mean he could still access the windows when I wasn't around to redirect him to my expensive wall tv.
    – user53
    Commented Apr 8, 2014 at 15:33
  • Well you'd have to block off the actual window so that the fake window is the accessible one. But yeah, it's definitely not the best or easiest solution. Especially if you live in an apartment, or don't enjoy tinkering with those kinds of projects like I do. That's why I said it was impractical.
    – Spidercat
    Commented Apr 8, 2014 at 15:39

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