So you’re one of those lucky people with a balcony? (I want!) I am sure your cat already expressed their deepest desire to explore that unfamiliar territory.
But is letting your cat on the balcony safe? Unfortunately not really. Accidents are not common but they do happen. Your cat might see a bird flying, instinctively try to catch it and fall down. That is why you should make some safety precautions before letting your feline roam around the balcony.
Cats are known for their skillful falls from the huge heights but that doesn’t mean that nothing will happen to them if they do fall. Sure, there were some miraculous situations where cats survived falling from extreme heights without getting a scratch, but those are exceptions. Most cats would get serious injuries or even die from the fall.
The vets even have a medical term for cats falling from large heights. It is called high-rise syndrome and according to PetMD, ASPCA’s Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital sees 3-5 cases of cat falls in a week during the warmer months.
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So how can you make your cat safe on the balcony? And how to keep a cat off balcony railing? I have a few suggestions so keep on reading.
How to cat proof a balcony and make sure your cat is safe
Use cat netting for balconies
Protective nets are a great way to give your cat some freedom while keeping them safe. This is my favorite way of securing the balcony for your cat and if I had a balcony (weep), I would definitely do that. I love that cats can move around the balcony and you don’t have to worry about them while there’s a protective net.
These protective nets are very popular in Europe and there are many good protective nets such as the Kerbl Transparent Cat Safety Net on Amazon.co.uk but I could barely find one protective net for cats on Amazon.com. I guess this is not something common in the USA as it is in Europe.
Cardinal-Deck Shield balcony net also seems to be popular but it’s only 36 inches (91cm) high so it is not something you can use to cover the entire balcony, only the balcony railing. If you opt for this kind of balcony protection, you’ll still have to keep an eye on your cat so they don’t jump over the railing.
Or, you might be able to find an ordinary net at the local Home Depot and it will work too.
Keep your cat on a leash
The easiest way to keep your cat safe on the balcony is using a leash. If you never used a leash on your cat, you’ll need to train your cat first. This will take some time, depending on the cat, it can take a few weeks for your cat to accept the leash and actually start walking with a harness on.
When you’re training your cat to use the leash, do it indoors until your cat has settled in and got used to it. Don’t go out on the balcony the first time you’ve put the leash on your cat because your cat might freak out trying to get the leash off.
When your cat learns to walk on the leash, you can take them on the balcony to enjoy a nice view and warming sunbeams. You can also tie the leash to an immovable object but make sure that they can’t reach the rails and keep an eye on them.
Get a cat condo
When you have a catio, you can leave your cat to enjoy while you do stuff around the house. You don’t have to be around all the time to keep your kitty safe.
There are many DIY cat condo ideas on Pinterest so you can try making it yourself. If you have no idea what you’re doing when it comes to DIYs, you can choose one of the many cat condos available for purchase such as the Kittwalk Cat Enclosure.
This is similar to protective nets but the primary purpose of screened-in balconies is not to protect cats from falling but to protect you from the insects and other nasty things. As a bonus, your cat would also be protected. So I say a double win for this one.
But there is one thing I am not a fan of. I really like as much sunlight as I can get and screened-in balconies are a bit darker because of the dense net that stops insects.
Of course, along with these 4 solutions, there is always an option to not let your cat go on the balcony. But I would first consider the solutions listed above because why wouldn’t your cat safely enjoy outdoors if they can. Cat-proofing the balcony is not that hard or expensive and it will give your cat new ways to entertain themselves while preventing kitty boredom.
I hope these ideas to cat proof a balcony will help you make your balcony a safe place for your cat to enjoy!
Let me know what you decide in the comments section!