Over the winter, my Kitteh had taught me to open the window of my second story apartment when she wanted to come in off the front porch roof. With the warmer weather arriving, I wanted to allow both the breezes and the cat to come in the window (but no bugs!). I bought the adjustable window screen for $8 at the local hardware store. I found an old plastic panel from the commercial freezer at work, but any thick plastic sheeting will work. The only other stuff I used to make it was duct tape, and everybody has that, right!?!
Step 1: What I Had to Start With
Here is Kitteh in the open window (the storm window is partially down). I knew the insects were just about to hatch and more critters than I wanted would be coming in the window if I just left it open. If I used the screen by itself, I was sure Kitteh would not approve! Next, let's look at the tools I used.
Step 2: Tools You'll Need
-- Box knife for cutting screen
-- Scissors for cutting stray wires and tape
-- Clamps to hold screen from "adjusting" while you are working on it
-- Duct tape
-- Metal ruler
-- Cutting mat
-- Adjustable window screen
-- Heavy plastic sheeting
Step 3: Put Screen in Window
First, put the screen in the window where you want it and mark a reference point on the screen so you can take it out of the window and work on it with the alignment accurate. When you put it back in the window all finished, it will fit correctly.
Step 4: Clamp (or Duct Tape) the Screen So It Will Not Adjust
Here's where you use the marks you just made. Take the screen out of the window so you can work on it, align the marks you just made and apply clamps so the screen parts won't slide. If you don't have clamps just duct tape it in a few places so it won't move. You'll want to avoid taping in the middle, where you will be working, but if you apply the tape where I applied the clamps, it should work.
Step 5: Decide Where to Cut the Screen
Measure where you want your opening to be and mark both sides on the screen using the ruler and marker.
Step 6: Cut the Screen
It is hard to see the marks here, but if you line up the ruler with the marks you made on the screen, it will be easy as pie to cut through. Don't stress about cutting through both thicknesses of screen at once, just do one at a time. Cut all around the opening, top of screen and bottom, too.
Scary note: at this point, when I found out how easy it was to cut a screen with a box knife, I realized how glad I live in a safe area of town!
Step 7: Adding Cat Scratch Guards
You'll notice the edges of the screen where you cut it are all pokey and sharp, with some stray wires sticking out. Cut it as best you can at the top and bottom. On the sides we'll apply duct tape. IMPORTANT NOTE: Do not tape two layers of screen together or the screen will no longer be adjustable and you won't be able to get it into and out of the window.
Step 8: Adding the Plastic Panels (the Door)
Hold up the plastic panels and measure them for fit. You can overlap them like I did or just use one panel. I chose to overlap to help keep the bugs out. I didn't take any photos of the process of cutting the panels - that seemed pretty self-explanatory. And besides, it took two hands to cut and I didn't have a spare hand to take the photos with.
Step 9: Cut the Tape in the Trough - IMPORTANT!
HERE'S ANOTHER IMPORTANT STEP! Because the screen sections will need to slide, cut the duct tape in the trough between the two sections and remove the excess.
Step 10: Install Screen in Window
That's about it! You put the screen in the window and close the window to secure it on top. At first Kitteh didn't have a clue about what to do. I positioned the door flaps so they push into the room, which makes it a little easier for her to come in. She has to push harder to go out, but I think she's getting the hang of it. Have fun and I hope this helps you. Comments always welcome!