When we think of safe window treatments, we often think about babies and small children, but it's important to consider pets, too. Because introducing a pet into the family is as important as bringing home a new baby to many people, it's important that the home be safe for the animal.
Curtains and other window treatments can be difficult for some animals, particularly cats, who would like to sharpen their claws on the lush fabric dangling at their level. Even if an animal doesn't damage the curtains, they may leave behind pet hair and dirt if they often walk by the window coverings.
Roman-style shades, valances and other fabrics that stop at the window sill are a good choice to keep them out of reach of a new puppy or kitten.
The ASPCA recommends avoiding vertical blinds, pooling drapery, ornate tassels and long cords. Pets can get entangled in these types of window coverings and may hurt themselves or pull the coverings down in a panic. Strangulation is also a worry for many pet owners.
When choosing fabric for a window treatment, the consumer should always look for fabric where the pet hair will easily wipe off. Microfiber and suede tend to have a problem with pet hair sticking to them. Silk will easily catch the animal's claws and will be snagged continuously. Cotton is probably the best fabric to look for, but anytime you have fabric hanging down near the pet's level, you're going to experience a hair problem. Try a microfiber cleaning cloth or periodically run your curtains through the washer. You should be doing this anyway to clean off the dust and pet dander.
If choosing a fabric that hangs low to the ground or that the pet often will be coming into contact with, choose fabric that is similar to the pet's fur color. Patterns and tweed designs tend to hide a lot more than other fabrics.
For pet owners who have animals that are likely to get caught in a blind or curtain cord, consider purchasing cord safety devices like those used for infants and small children. This also can be beneficial to pet owners with pets that have a tendency to chew cords and strings.
Mini-blinds are probably the most logical choice, but curious cats and dogs can easily bend or break them, or get caught in. If you really want mini-blinds, opt for faux wood or aluminum blinds, which are sturdier and can better withstand pet damage. These blinds are a little bit more expensive, but the additional expense is worth it. Cordless blinds are also available and are a nice alternative to using the child-proof cord savers, which can be difficult to figure out.
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