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Pet-proof privacy, does it exist?
July 29, 2009 9:15 AM   Subscribe

Decor-challenged homeowner seeks pet-proof window coverings. Please share your experiences and recommendations.

We've got six living room windows that are currently covered in cheapo aluminum blinds. Whenever we leave the house, our dog and cat like to watch us go, which is incredibly cute and all, but they shove their faces through the closed blinds to do so, and consquently the bottom six inches of the blinds are completely bent and mashed to hell.

We're finally getting around to upgrading them, and need something that provides privacy but won't be trashed by their strong heads and muzzles, the dog's in particular.

I'm 100% clueless about window treatments (hence the crappy blinds). What's our best bet? Links to pictures or specific products would be awesome.

Preferences and/or irritating limitations:
- Ideally, I'd like to be able to lower them all the way, as it feels safer when we're not home (we live on a corner with a lot of foot traffic), but if I have to leave them up a few inches to prevent damage, I'm willing to do so.
- Would prefer to avoid curtains unless they're super minimalist and can be laundered easily. (Our house is tiny, and they seem too heavy and overwhelming otherwise).
- String-free or cord-free would be a huge bonus.

Three of them all situated in the same frame, directly face the street, and look like this. The other three are on the sides of the house, are single windows, and a bit longer, like the two you see here.  

Any ideas?

Thanks, hive!
posted by anderjen to Home & Garden (13 answers total)
 
Roman shades are what I used to deal with the cats and dogs ruining the blinds. They can move them aside and don't bend them and if you get the right kinds you can take them down and wash them rather easily. Just make sure to read the care instructions before you buy them
posted by teleri025 at 9:21 AM on July 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wood blinds might hold up better but are pricey. Have you considered verticals? they should allow pet noses without destruction. They do have the hanging cordage, but it can be put up out of reach or tied solidly to something cleat-like to avoid destruction
posted by Redhush at 9:22 AM on July 29, 2009


Had the same problem as you with our cats. Faux wood blinds are what we went with after we ditched the cheapo vinyl blinds. They've held up very well to the abuse, although I can't comment on their durability relating to dogs.
posted by puritycontrol at 9:36 AM on July 29, 2009


Is privacy window film an option? It comes in lots of styles now. Easy to apply, easy to remove.
- good post on applying window film and options
- you could do half film on the bottom and none on top -- allowing plenty of light. Bonus: no weird dents, no gross dust collections, lots of natural light, good privacy. Downside: not as insulating as blinds/drapes and lets in more light.
posted by barnone at 9:38 AM on July 29, 2009


You are too modest. Decor challenged? Your house is charming! And the animals too!

Some simple wooden (or faux wood?) blinds, like the ones you have but a step up would be good, but yes you'd probably need to leave them up a bit. You could add a simple tab-top curtain which could be closed but still allow the animals to peek through. Then for real privacy, when you are home at night, you could close both.
posted by bluedaisy at 9:47 AM on July 29, 2009


Good old roller shades work for our nose-to-pane cats. Nowadays they come in many cheerful colors, too, so you don't need to worry about that cheap motel look.

(Very cute goggie/kitteh pic!)
posted by scratch at 9:50 AM on July 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


I leave my blinds up about six inches so my cat can see out and perch on the window sill. I have simple Target-brand curtains over the blinds that he can easily get around. No one can see in, he can see out, without damaging anything. The curtain pole took five minutes to put up. The curtains themselves can be easily removed and washed when you need to... for me, this is once every few months since the little guy's often ducking behind them means they attract a lot of fur.
posted by whiskeyspider at 10:18 AM on July 29, 2009


I don't know how much you're looking to spend, but if all else fails, you could go with windows with between-the-glass-blinds. Could be a bit extreme, but there would be no way for you pets to destroy them, no cords, etc.
posted by Eumachia L F at 10:21 AM on July 29, 2009


We solved this same issue (4 cats, 1 labrador, lots of windows, corner lot) with wood blinds. Go with the wider slats, at least 2.5" as when they are opened the space between the slats is wide enough to accommodate cat bodies and blocky dog heads. We leave ours down but slats open on most days.

Note that a big untrained dog can easily snap wood blinds—we discovered this while fostering a lab mix who had never lived indoors before—but we haven't had any breakage incidents with our own dog and his two predecessors.

We have a mix of faux and real wood. I've noticed the real wood is more flexible, which is important when a 16# cat decides to take the direct route to the window sill.
posted by jamaro at 10:39 AM on July 29, 2009


I've used spray-on frosted glass (available at the hardware store with the spraypaint) to cover parts of windows where I wanted pet-proof privacy. Applied with a bit of care, it looks pretty much like real frosted glass, and can be removed quickly with a razor blade.

On the sidelight windows to my front door, I've "frosted" the area from about 18" up to about eye level -- this lets both the critters and me look out, while still providing privacy from anyone not standing on the porch craning up to look over or stooping down to look under the frosted area.
posted by nonliteral at 10:43 AM on July 29, 2009


We have vertical blinds on a track. Pull them to the left to open all the way, right to close. They have one of those wand thingies to open the slats if we don't want them wide open. The cat can get past them to sit on the windowsill or peak her head out and they go back to their normal placement when she's done peering at the world.
posted by Aleen at 11:20 AM on July 29, 2009


Our verticals hold up well to giant dog snout and the cats can easily move the panels out of the way for viewing convenience.
posted by crankylex at 11:27 AM on July 29, 2009


Another vote for wood (real or fake) blinds (more appropriate for the age of your home than verticals). The mister and I had aluminum blinds in our RV that the cats trashed trying to get to the windows. My mum has fake wood blinds and they've held up to her cats doing the same thing for five years (the mister and I are going to get the same thing for our windows). Note: she has the cloth tapes over the strings and the tape attracts pet hair, but it's easily dealt with by using a vacuum on them.
posted by deborah at 4:19 PM on July 29, 2009


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