Cats can be great companions, but they also have a habit of getting into places they shouldn’t. So, if you’re a cat parent who lives in an apartment or high-rise, it’s natural to be worried about your feline friend’s safety.
In this post, I’ll share some tips on how to cat-proof your balcony area so you can keep your kitty safe and sound. By the end, you’ll be able to relax knowing your cat is protected from the dangers of apartment living.
Why Are Balconies Dangerous for Cats?
Home and apartment balcony owners usually don’t think twice before walking out onto them for some fresh air or a scenic view. Unfortunately, when it comes to our curious kitty companions, they often seem to magically appear on the balcony railing at a moment’s notice!
Cats may find the sights and sounds of high-up structures irresistible, but they can be exposed to a host of risks if they attempt to explore them. Should your feline friend misstep or take a tumble from the balcony railing, it could spell disaster.
Without appropriate care, balconies can become unsafe havens for adventurous house cats. High-rise syndrome is another problem that could make your cat jump off a high balcony in an attempt to escape.
Fortunately for pet parents, there are plenty of ways to cat-proof a balcony and create a safe outdoor space – even if you have one or more cats. Let’s take a look at some simple steps you can take to protect your feline family member.
Check Your Building Codes and Renter Restrictions
The first step in ensuring you have a cat-proof balcony is to make sure that cats are allowed on balconies in your building. You’ll also need to know what work you’re allowed to carry out on the balcony, such as drilling or nailing in supports.
Next, check the balcony itself for potential risks. Look at any ledges or railings and make sure they’re sturdy enough to support your cat’s weight. If they aren’t, reinforce them with additional supports so that they won’t collapse if your cat jumps on them or leans against them.
Use Netting or Mesh
Keeping your cat safe and sound is one of the main concerns when living in a multi-story dwelling, such as an apartment or townhouse. Fortunately, there are solutions available to prevent cats from accidentally slipping or jumping from balconies.
Mesh or netting is one of the most efficient ways to cat-proof a balcony. You can install it along the entire length of the railing to ensure your kitty can’t squeeze through or fall over the side. Just make sure that the netting or mesh fits tightly over the railing and is secure enough to prevent your cat from getting stuck in it or tearing through it.
The netting or mesh should also be strong enough to withstand the elements and keep its shape over time. The best kinds are those that are made from a UV-resistant, weatherproof material and strong enough to withstand any climbing attempts.
Whatever you choose to use for cat-proofing your balcony, make sure it’s installed securely and properly. The last thing you want is for your kitty to get tangled in the balcony netting or mesh, or for them to find a way to squeeze through. And knowing cats, they’re definitely going to try!
Build a Balcony Fence
Building a basic cat-proof fence for your balcony is simple. First, measure the area and decide on the design of your fence and the materials you’ll need. Make sure it’ll be high enough to prevent your curious cat from escaping and strong enough to withstand any high winds.
Then, get your materials and attach them securely to the railing. You can buy ready-made balcony fences and panels or make your own from sturdy materials like plexiglass, wood, or metal. Make sure to use the correct hardware and tools to ensure the fence is safe and secure.
Once your fence is securely in place, you can add netting or mesh on top. If you choose the latter option, make sure it’s reinforced with sturdy staples and that the mesh is taut enough. And remember, if you’re struggling to do this yourself, you can always hire a professional to help you get the job done.
Install a Catio
If you have an apartment balcony, making a safe and secure outdoor space for your pet can be challenging. But that’s where catios come in; these spacious enclosures provide cats with the freedom to explore safely while eliminating the risk of falls and injuries.
Catios can come in all shapes and sizes, but they all have one thing in common: a secure enclosure that allows cats to safely explore without the risk of falling or escaping. The best part is that you don’t have to be a handyman to build one. There are plenty of pre-made enclosures available online and in pet stores that are designed to fit most standard balconies.
A catio is also great for keeping cats away from dangerous plants and other hazards, allowing you to enjoy your balcony in peace without worrying about your cat’s safety. If you’re worried about the aesthetic appeal of a catio, there are plenty of stylish designs available. Some even come with decorative features like benches, towers, and bridges.
Finally, make sure to provide plenty of toys and scratching posts so that your cat can entertain themselves while they’re out in the catio. Whether you choose to build one yourself or buy a pre-made enclosure, a catio is an excellent way to keep your precious pet safe!
Make Sure Your Plants Are Cat Friendly
Some plants are dangerous and toxic for your kitty, so check you have cat-friendly plants cats can be around before allowing them to roam free.
Cat grass is a particularly popular choice. It’s safe and healthy, plus cats love it! It also adds fiber to your kitty’s diet and helps support their digestion.
Other cat-friendly plants include catnip, mint, lavender, and lemon balm. If your greenery is kitty certified, use potted plants, rather than hanging baskets, to avoid any danger of your cat getting caught in the basket.
Ensure that any potted plants on the balcony are firmly anchored in place and aren’t likely to topple over if your cat climbs them. Consider moving any large plants or tall furniture away from the railing so that your cat won’t be tempted to jump onto them and risk falling off the balcony.
Train Your Kitty to Keep Off the Balcony
Training your cat to stay off your balcony is a good way to protect them from falling. Although it’s worth noting that some cats will respond better than others to this kind of training.
If your cat is curious about the balcony, use verbal cues or distractions to show them that the balcony door is off-limits. Don’t forget to provide a positive reward when they stay away from the balcony, such as treats or extra cuddles.
It’s also a good idea to schedule regular playtime with your pet, as this helps build the bond between you both and reinforces their understanding of your commands and expectations.
Setting up designated areas inside your home where your cat can explore and play is another good way to keep them away from the balcony. Provide plenty of enrichment activities such as toys, scratching posts, and tunnels to keep them entertained.
It’s important to keep in mind the many risks posed when cats roam onto balconies unsupervised. Aside from loud noises or other animals that can startle them, there are also physical dangers that cats can encounter when left unmonitored.
These include getting stuck between railings, falling off of balcony edges, and ingesting poisonous plants found in potting boxes or on windowsills.
Making sure to cat-proof your balcony can help protect your furry friend from potential accidents and injury, so keep these precautions in mind to ensure a safe and fun environment for your kitty.
By following the tips and instructions in this article, you can help keep your cat safe on and around your balcony for many seasons to come!