How to protect vertical blinds when renting with cats

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Imma fuck these up. By: SupernanCC BY 2.0
I am currently renting with my partner and we have two seven-month-old kittens (Whoopsa and Daisy) who are in that crazy-must-play-with-absolutely-everything-and-destroy-it-to-the-best-of-my-sharp-toothed-ability stage. The rental that we have has vertical blinds on every window and door covering. I'm terrified of them being destroyed, as they were only just repaired when we moved in, so any breakages are obviously our fault.

I don't want to take the blinds down, as we have fairly regular rent inspections, and the house is fully-fenced so privacy isn't really an issue. I was thinking about opening them, and then covering the bottoms with fabric (as to not make any noise to excite kittens) so the little plastic connectors are damaged.

Have you faced this situation, and what did you do about kitten-protecting vertical blinds? -Ashleigh

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  1. Have your cats ever attacked vertical blinds? My cats haven't bothered them at all–it's the horizontal blinds they've torn up. I think vertical blinds are a bit heavy for them to really mess with too much. Mostly, they just push them aside to slip through to look at the outside world. This obviously varies by cat and blind slat, but our's are so thick that I don't think our cats could do much damage to them.
    You can buy replacement slats. They're really easy to install, and not painfully expensive. So if something does go wrong, it probably won't be a huge catastrophe (pun?) You might also ask your housing office how much it costs to replace those. The cost might be lower than you fear. And if something DOES go wrong, call them sooner rather than later. In my experience, housing offices are more willing to cut you a deal on the cost if you get it replaced right away, rather than waiting for them to find the damage when you move out.

    7 agree
    • Yup. We always just replaced the vertical blinds that our cats messed up, but it was really the horizontal ones that got the brunt of the damage (and we replaced those too). The one time we didn't replace the broken blinds, the cost was covered by our security deposit and we still got money back afterwards. If you really just want to avoid it though, I think keeping them open all the time would cut back greatly on the damage. My cats wouldn't even notice the blinds if they got to look out a big window everyday.

      6 agree
    • Hi, I find my cats don't play or attack vertical blinds in my house, but they can be quite aggressive in getting through the blinds to look out. Especially if a neighbor's cat is heard meowing outside!

      The worst damage is done to the stiff blinds in my bathroom. The flexible cloth ones elsewhere look like heck because of the cats going in and out, but the hard ones in the bathroom get broken regularly as the cats dash in and out and run back and forth in the sill.

      I'd prefer to keep them out of certain windows (but not all – let them have their views) if at all possible.

  2. As a renter, the key to keeping my cats off of things I want left alone has been Vapor Rub. I smear vapor rub on the window sills, on the rims and tips of leaves of potted plants, on the base of my flat screen. They won't touch it. You might have to replenish it every couple of weeks or so until they are trained to stay away.

    6 agree
    • Oh what a brilliant idea, Lola, using Vapor Rub! Hadn't thought of that. (Wonder if you can buy it by the bucket load?)

      I have a 15 week old male kitten who's constantly attacking the rather cheap and tacky venetian blinds in the house I rent. Squirts with a water bottle are useless, since he seems to adore water and thinks it's a game.

      2 agree
  3. I don't have much advice, but I love your kitties' names! So cute.

    I think keeping them open (and keeping cords/pulls out of reach) is your best bet. We only have horizontal blinds, but our kitten only touches them when they're interfering with his view. And, as I'm sure you know, diversion helps too. Make sure they have plenty of toys and stimulation, and give them a window perch//tower of their own somewhere where the blinds are out of reach.

  4. I think your idea of opening them the whole way, then securing the bottoms so they don't rattle might be your best bet if you think that they're really going to be a problem. I doubt that verticals would be as much of a problem as horizontal blinds, though.

    Funny story: once, apparently my giant cat must have gotten stuck behind a set of horizontal blinds and burst out through them in his escape–I came home to an explosion of plastic, not pretty. It's mean, but I sort of wish I had been there to see it…

    1 agrees
    • The people who rented an apartment across from me had a Jack Russell terrier and horizontal blinds. I walked outside one day to the poor guy stuck all in them, limbs and head poking through whatever of the blinds wasn't destroyed. He was in zero apparent distress and his feet were on the ledge so I doubt it was painful or anything. The housing office was closed and his parents were due home shortly by my best guess, so there was nothing I could do but wish the wee guy well. When I came home an hour later, the blinds were totally dismantled and his people had come home. He was totally fine after, so I guess everything went okay. Haha
      What does a person even DO in those situations? He wasn't trying to wriggle free, wasn't panting and didn't even get excited when he saw me, so I felt like he wasn't in any sort of physical danger–our blinds are incredibly strongly anchored in.

      1 agrees
  5. Our strategy, unfortunately, is to give up on getting our cleaning deposit back. We moved in with one cat, and got the second soon after, and the new baby of the family proceeded to destroy both sets of horizontal blinds within a week, and we're currently missing three of the vertical blinds from the set…they got pulled down. Fun times…and we can't leave them open because we're on a courtyard.

    2 agree
    • Sadly, that's our strategy too. We have cat-holes in each set of horizontal blinds, where they've bent the edge so much the pieces have fallen off. Very convenient now for them to get in–blinds stay down, but they have a convenient entrance. Now just wish they had a way to pay us back for the deposit we're losing!

      • If there are some spare slats on your set and depending on the damage, you might be able to repair them yourself! Here's a (badly filmed with a couple curse words) video tutorial on how to remove and replace slats. The housing office may be willing to just give you some blind slats if you're willing to do the work, but you can also buy spare blind slats. Depending on the extent of damage, it may be cheaper to buy a single set of blinds and use the slats to repair all your windows rather than pay from your deposit for the housing office to replace every single set of blinds. Don't fret if you can't find the exact width of your apartment's blinds–buy slightly larger and cut them down to suit your needs with scissors.
        Once repaired, lift the blinds to cat height and keep them up, then hang a white sheet or curtain behind the blinds. Hopefully, no more cat interference. This has worked for us.

    • Oh, kittens. When we went to go rent our last apartment the guy asked us if we had pets, how destructive were they, etc. We truthfully told him that our cat never bothered scratching up anything that wasn't our own furniture, and definitely never the carpet. So naturally the kitten we got shortly after we moved in thought it was the greatest thing ever to utterly shred the carpet in some spots. It's an absolute miracle we got our deposit back in full (or at all!).

  6. "How to protect vertical blinds when renting with …" a crawling 7 month old baby?!?

    I'm very interested in the replies to this one, even though a cat is a little bit more agile than a baby just starting to figure out how to get around. I'm using long body pillow cushions at the moment but he'll figure out how to get over these soon and then… ??

    2 agree
  7. I have vertical blinds, and a cat, and while she has never destroyed them, they do have a constant coat of cat fur on them (they're made of a material that seems to attract fur) – so I am always hoovering them. It's pretty tiresome. Keeping them open during the day helps reduce the fur coating a little. She doesn't attack them though, just occasionally gets a little bit stuck in between them…

    1 agrees
  8. You mentioned that you can't take the blinds down because of regular rent inspections. Could you bring this up with the owner or management? If you phrase the issue as "we don't want to tempt the cats to destroy your property" they may be willing to grant an exception.

    5 agree
  9. My cats have never done anything to harm vertical blinds, even though they do usually like to chew plastic. They just walk through them to get to the window or sliding door they want to look out. They are much more convenient than horizontal blinds, which have to be raised for cats to get at the windows. Also, horizontal blinds seem to get bent easily either by cats or by some other factors, and you can't usually unbend the type of metal that most horizontal blinds are made of. As Dootsie Bug mentioned, you can easily replace a single slat in vertical blinds, while with horizontal blinds you have to replace the blinds completely if one slat gets damaged. I've mentioned before in posts relating to cats and blinds that I think vertical blinds are the most cat friendly type of blinds.

    On the subject of taking the blinds down or leaving them open, wouldn't you want something to keep early morning light out even if you don't need them for privacy? If I didn't have window coverings of some sort I would always walk up at 5:00 or earlier due to light. Perhaps you sleep through bright light more easily, but that is something to consider.

  10. Thanks for your suggestions!
    The problem more lies around the cats going into the blinds, and then deciding 'hey this is a great place to try and kill each other'. Or they will chase each other and crash into the blinds.
    BUT I have discovered a solution. I looked at the blind contraption and the called my agent and asked if it was ok just to unhook the blinds and store them. I definitely played the 'help me take care of your property' card. They agreed and I bought some cheap curtains from Kmart and attached them to the blind holders ( just with safety pins because I don't sew). Now I have great curtains AND I can use the pulley function to open and close them. I did catch Whoopsa climbing them the other day, but because its attached with safety pins – no damage to the blind tracks ­čÖé

    4 agree
  11. We have both Vertical and horizontal in our apartment. so our last apartment we had just vertical in both the living room and the bedroom. The cats didn't bite or play with the blinds in the bedroom, though they did jump behind them to see out the window. The living room was a different story because at the time we had the cat tree next to the sliding glass door and the blinds obstructing the window. So they would play on the tree and get feisty and bite the blinds. Luckily, we were in an apartment that didn't even charge for replacing the damaged blinds that had little tiny pin prick holes in them from the cat bites.. mostly because they removed them to clean them between tenants anyways and to paint which inevitably resulted in a few snapping off anyways.

    But this new place, we're pretty sure they won't be so accommodating. First, we no longer have a cat tree, but a wall of shelving for the cats to climb and play on. They're not near the veritical blinds in the living room. and while they do peak their head through to look outside on the balcony, they don't bite at them as most of their play takes place elsewhere.

    The horizontals are on a patio door from the bedroom…. we've lifted those up out of reach – they were trying to climb up on them or at least move them to see out the windowed door. This has reduced their destruction of those.

    Best thing imo is to provide play space away from the blinds… hang sisal ropes off a shelf for them to wrestle with – something thick that they can't chew through or ingest.

  12. I have a different pet/blinds problem. I have a balcony off my master bedroom with a sliding glass door and vertical blinds. I love to open the door and let fresh air in, but the blinds rattle all day and my dog goes nuts!! I just open them all the way and rubberband the middle and bottom sections and it does the trick!

  13. I've used a bitter apple spray to keep cats from chewing on anything that they shouldn't, including blinds and cords. A homemade spray made with spicy flavors (capsaicin if you have it) works well. Cats dislike bitter and spicy tastes and will only try a couple times before finding more interesting things.

    Of course, be sure to have plenty of options that they are allowed to play with.

  14. I had 3 boys + vertical blinds. I just opened the blinds all the way and gathered them together with a rubber band/ hair elastic about halfway up. Worked fine!

  15. I am lucky, my cats don't damage the blinds, but unfortunately where they like to sit at all the windows, the bottom of each are covered in fur. I have tried wet clothes, wet sponge, lint rolls from various stores, rubber glove treatment and hoovering but I am getting nowhere at all.
    Please, I really need some new suggestions.

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