Wednesday, June 10, 2009


It had to happen sooner or later. The big breakout from the cat jail (aka the screened-in front porch) took place while I was in the side yard. I walked around the corner of the house to find this:
And the biggest of the cats (whose big paws must've torn the screen loose) was wandering through the front yard with a mystified look on his wide kitty face. (" I got out...but now what the heck do I do??")The medium-sized cat and the little cat were still inside the pen. Sigh....I'd been wanting to replace that black PetScreen with nicer aluminum screen to match the rest of the porch...just not today. So I took the handle off the screen door and then took the door off its hinges and laid it flat on the porch floor.
I pulled the spline loose from the channel and put it aside. Since it's fairly new and still flexible, I can re-use it.

Then I pulled the old screen off the door and threw it away, and rolled out shiny new screen across the door. I cut it a bit larger than the door with my trusty Stanley utility knife. Yes, the same one that so neatly sliced off the edge of my thumb a few days ago—and remembering that, I put gloves on before cutting the screen. I found my spline roller (the little thing with the wooden handle in the photo below) and weighted down the end of the screen with a tube of caulk I just happened to have laying around.

Spline rollers have two ends, an "out-tie" end that looks kinda like a very dull pizza cutter, and an "in-nie" one with a groove in it for the spline. (If I'd thought of it, I'd have taken a better photo of it.) Using the out-tie end, I pushed the screen down into the spline channel on the door, being careful to push just enough to get the screen down into the channel nice and tight but not so hard that the spline roller tears the screen. After I finished that, I used the "in-nie" end to push the rubber spline down into the channel to hold the screen in place.

And then the battery went dead on my camera.
But I persevered, and you'll have to trust me on the rest of the story without photographic evidence.
I did the long left side of the door first, then pulled the screen taut and did the right side, then the bottom edge, and finally the top. When the spline was all rolled into place, I trimmed the screen neatly (well, as neatly as I can) with the utility knife. Now, if you live in a normal household (i.e., one without jailbreaking cats) the next steps would be to re-hang the door, put the door handle back on, and sit back admiring your handiwork while drinking the cold beverage of your choice. But my household is not a normal one....and so my next steps were to go to the lumberyard, buy a piece of Plexi-Glass slightly less than the width of the door and about 13" high, drill holes in all four corners and the top middle and bottom middle edge, and then screw the piece of Plexi-Glass to the inside of the screen door.
Pretty? No.
Cat-proof? We'll see....


  1. I was wondering when that was going to happen. Our cats were always hell on screens.

    And when ours weren't, the neighborhood ones would CRAWL UP THE OUTSIDE!

  2. At our house the plexiglass attached to the bottom of the screen on the patio door is called a kitty guard. LOL

    Our kitties have learned how to open the sliding screen even when it is locked so we had to install a hook and eye closure.

  3. We have the Plexiglas too, only to keep the dog from scratching the screen off not the cat. I'm impressed you were able to screen it by yourself. You're my idol.

  4. A jail-break cat. What a stinker! Great job on the screen replacement.

  5. It's been almost a week. Is anyone else concerned that the prisoners have rioted and taken the guard hostage?

  6. Jayne, I'd like to pick your brain a bit out your job, the training required, etc. If you would be willing to let me ask you questions, get your opinions and suggestions about being a 911 operator, please email me at lisa @ (no spaces).