How to cat-proof your balcony
Cats are well-known for being expert climbers and jumpers. But a balcony can still be a very dangerous place for them. A fall can cause your feline friend to suffer life-threatening injuries. By cat proofing your balcony, you ensure your cat stays safe while enjoying some fresh air.
Published on the 10/01/2021, 17:00
If your flat or house has a balcony, you may be thinking of letting your cat have access to it. A balcony will give them more territory to explore and for house cats, the chance to get some fresh air.
But before you allow your feline friend to roam around your balcony, make sure it's sufficiently cat proofed to keep them safe.
How to keep your cat safe by cat proofing your balcony
Some people say that cats have nine lives and always land on their feet. But no cat owner actually wants to put that to the test. High-rise syndrome is when a cat sustains an injury from falling from a steep heigh, such as a balcony. These injuries can range from shock, facial trauma and chest injuries to abdominal bleeding and broken bones.
To avoid your feline friend getting hurt from a fall, here are some things you can do to cat-proof your balcony.
Always make sure your cat is well supervised when they are out on the balcony. Never leave your cat shut outside on the balcony alone.
On the days when it's hot and sunny outside, make sure your cat has adequate shelter on the balcony. A small cat house on the balcony will provide cosy protection from the sun. Even just tables and chairs that they can sit underneath will provide good shade. Alternatively, ensure your cat can easily get back into the flat or house whenever they wish.
Be careful what plants are on the balcony while your cat is out there. There are several plants which are highly toxic to cats which you should avoid. Put pots of cat grass and catnip out on the balcony for your furry friend to sniff and nibble.
Always make sure there's a bowl of clean and fresh water on the balcony for your cat, especially on very warm days.
Cats love to have something soft under their paws. Soft blankets, towels or rugs can be put outside on the patio for your cat to stretch out and relax on.
While cats do love to eat, sleep, and people watch, they also love to play. Put out some cat toys and one or two scratching posts on the balcony to keep your cat entertained. A scratching post with different levels or even a chair on the balcony will make the space multi-level so your cat can explore the view and stretch their legs at various heights.
Build a Catio
If your cat is particularly adventurous, you may need to close off the balcony area completely. Cats can, after all, climb or squeeze through the tiniest of gaps. A catio, or cat patio, offers a good solution. It's an outdoor enclosure that will keep your cat safe by closing off the space so they can't get off the balcony.
Use cat netting for balconies
If you don't have enough space for a catio, installing a safety net on your balcony is a good alternative. It allows your cat some freedom while stopping your cat from being able to fall off the balcony. You will need it to be very durable and weatherproof. The mesh should also be small enough, so even a small cat can't squeeze through.
Cats don't need a huge amount of space for them to enjoy being outside. Even a very small balcony can give your cat the feeling that they are outdoors. Cat proofing your balcony will ensure that whether they are sunbathing, people watching or stretching their paws, they are safe at all times.
Frequently asked questions
How to choose between an indoor and outdoor cat?
For both the cat and the owner there are pros and cons for indoor and outdoor cats. Cats that are allowed outside get the chance to really stretch their paws, get plenty of fresh air and can enjoy all the stimuli on offer outdoors. However, there's a greater risk that they could get hit by a car or hurt in a catfight. They are also more likely to get fleas, ringworm and mites. They may also bring home 'presents' that they catch outdoors.
Find out more about indoor and outdoor cats.
Which are the best indoor cat breeds?
There are certain cat breeds that make ideal indoor cats. For instance, the Ragdoll, the Sphynx, the Cornish Rex and the Russian Blue are great at keeping themselves entertained. They are also aren't particularly adventurous cats so don't mind staying indoors.
Find out more about the perfect house cat breeds.
How to get your cat to exercise indoors?
Even house cats need exercise. Ensuring they get enough exercise helps to keep your cat happy, healthy and mentally stimulated. You can keep your cat active by providing a good variety of cat toys, scratching posts and a stimulating environment for them. Not forgetting making sure you spend time interacting and playing with them too. You can even make your feline friend work for their food by using puzzle feeders.
Find out more about exercising your indoor cat.