I need a temporary, cheap, tall, easy to move barrier at the top of my narrow stairs.
For several reasons, I need to limit my cat's
access to the downstairs portion of my grandma's house. I live upstairs in the equivalent of a 3-bedroom space and all his stuff is up here. He has many comfy spaces which he enjoys and everything he technically needs, but because he is a cat he is not satisfied with being cut off from the roomy first floor. We've been letting him downstairs during most of the day, but he really needs to be kept upstairs with me at night and when no one is around to check on him.
To my great surprise, this 14 year old cat
who has kidney problems, a slow swagger, and carefully chosen steps can climb and jump pretty ably when motivated. I put together a 40” gate using metal cube storage panels and he can climb this. I put a box of about the same height up and he can apparently jump it. My very elegant solution is to stack them
and this works so far, but it's not the most user friendly and it's ugly (it's secured so nothing can fall over). It would be wonderful to have something easier to use so my grandma wouldn't have to rely on me to open and close it.
The upstairs is partially heated by downstairs airflow, so simply installing a door is not an option. Also, the opening is pretty narrow at 28.5 inches. The solution needs to be extra easy to use so my grandma can do it without much help. Preferably something that acts somewhat like a door or can be easily moved/unhooked/rolled away by humans, but not by cat.
Every baby gate or expansion gate is too short. The tallest I've seen is about 42.” I would like to aim for something 55”+ that he can't climb. I was looking at this
as a possibility. It would completely cover the opening, but it's just a flimsy screen. He doesn't try to get through window screens, but he could probably learn how to get around the sides even with the Velcro? I've seen the indoor electric fence-ish barriers, but I don't want to zap my old man cat and he's allowed down sometimes so that would be pretty confusing for him. I've also seen vinyl accordion doors, but the inexpensive ones seem flimsy and they cut off airflow since they're top-hung.
I'm looking for creative ideas. Are there products I'm not thinking of that act like extra tall expansion/retractable gates? I've thought of window shades installed sideways, but haven't seen many wide enough ones. The cheaper the better! Also, if it involves cutting wood and building something, we don't really have the means to do that.