Wondering how to cat proof a balcony?
I will tell you all about it! My cat is an inquisitive little creature and she is always exploring and jumping up in places she isn’t supposed to.
Earlier, we lived on the first floor of an apartment complex, so it was fine. We did not need a special cat balcony enclosure for keeping our pet safe.
However, when we moved to a flat on the 8th floor, things changed.
So believe me – when it comes to answering the question – how to cat proof a balcony – I believe I am a bit of an expert! In this guide, I have 13 easy tips to cat proof a balcony.
Let us dive right into it:
How to Cat Proof a Balcony – 13 Easy Methods to Make a Balcony Safer for Your Cat!
Here are ways to cat proof your balcony:
1. Use child-proofing tools for a balcony
You can find a plethora of child-proofing tools online and offline – the ones designed to keep our kids from falling out of balcony railing.
From baby gates to protective nets, there are many ways to make the balcony more secure. Some require DIY methods for installation while others may need professionals.
Depending on your budget, select a tool you can feel confident about.
One of the best solutions for ‘how to cat proof a balcony’ is a protective net or a mesh. You can also consider chicken wire to keep your kitty from jumping off the balcony and in-between the railing.
KidKusion comes with these special net guards that can keep pets, kids, and toys from falling through the balcony railing.
The best part is its DIY assembly – you do not need any special tools for attaching them to your railing. They come with tie straps which you can easily secure to existing supports and prevent your cat from jumping out.
2. Build a screen
In addition to securing your apartment balcony, you must also secure your flat’s windows. An inquisitive cat could even slip out from between the window railing.
Our apartment, for example, has large French windows. These have a large gap which makes my cat susceptible to an 8-storey fall.
Simply measure your windows and install a Pet Screen . This way, your cats cannot rip through the screen and will prevent injuries and falls.
Make sure you opt for a heavy-duty pet screen or industrial grade cloth – other low-quality screens can easily be ripped off by sharp claws and a determined cat.
You will need some tools like spline cutters and some DIY installation videos to help you with Pet Screen installation.
3. Get your cat a catio or enclosure
A catio enclosure comes with multi-level platforms that allow several cats to rest and play safely inside. This is the best way to let your cats enjoy the great outdoors without direct exposure to the weather elements while ensuring their safety.
These days, you can get sturdy wooden enclosures or catios that use animal-safe sealants and strong wire meshes so your cats can see you from the inside. Some enclosures are also weatherproof and come with asphalt covers to prevent rainwater from entering.
Place the Catio playpens in balconies, on patios, and even in the backyard for single or multiple cats.
4. Invest in a pet playpen
Playpens for kittens and puppies are another great way to provide a safe and secure enclosure for your cats in the balcony.
Many pet parents find meshes and nets or balcony enclosures too restrictive and stifling – after all, they do block that lovely view of the garden. To prevent your cat from escaping from the balcony, the playpen offers a safe, secure, and well-ventilated enclosure.
Unlike catio enclosures, you can easily pick up and carry the playpens where you want. They come with zippers to secure them and enhance your young or adult cats’ safety. You can leave the playpen in your yard, on the patio or in the balcony.
Make sure you always monitor your pets all the time despite using the playpen.
5. Give your cat a place to perch
If your cat is constantly seeking the balcony railing to perch upon, it may be telling you that it needs a place to perch/ a vantage point of sorts.
So, invest in a cat tree, a cat tower, or a cat condo. Place this close to the window so your pet can look outside all day and be safe.
A cat tree that looks like a tree or a cat condo can greatly reduce your cat’s need to jump up on ledges and railings, keeping it safe from falls and injuries.
6. Check railings and windows periodically
Since balcony and window railings are always exposed to the weather elements, you must make sure to inspect them periodically.
Whether or not you have your balcony or windows covered, keep an eye out for any cracks, rattling noises etc.
Remember: a strong cat can easily knock off an insecure window pane or a rattling balcony railing could collapse under a cat’s weight and injure your pet/s seriously.
7. Repair damaged mesh/windows right away
Even if there is a small rattling noise or a crack in the window glass, be proactive and get it repaired. Do not overlook small things because it does not take time for the minor issues to spiral out of control.
Replace faulty latches and nets with holes immediately. Also, caulk and seal the weather-stripping around the frames.
Add epoxy resins to fill holes in metal screens. For a simpler solution, add duct tapes around torn balcony mesh enclosures. Of course, a duct tape may not look too attractive and might even obscure your view of the garden outside.
You can also invest in window repair kits – there are many different kinds available but they all have different degrees of success. Do your research well instead of simply investing in a kit that doesn’t work.
If needed, get professionals to fix these things.
8. Use cat harness or leash
When you are with your cat on the balcony, you can give it a little more freedom by placing it on a leash or in a cat harness .
Train your cat to be in a harness since a young age – around 8 weeks. This will get your pet used to leash training. Harnesses and leashes can also prevent falls and injuries in balconies.
Escape-proof cat harness can also keep your cat safe when you are not at home. Tie the leash to an immovable object but make sure your cat is safe and has access to water and food.
Never leave your cat unattended for long at a stretch.
9. Train your cat
Positive reinforcement can help you teach your cat to stay out of the balcony.
Granted, cats are fussy creatures, but they love treats. Every time you cat moves to the balcony entrance (or near the window) but does not enter it, give it a treat.
If you have an outdoor cat, you can treat your pet every time it does not scratch the net or the windows’ protective outdoor enclosure.
Unlike dogs, it can be tricky to train a cat – many cats accept treats gladly but they cannot make the connection between the positive behavior and the reward. If needed, enlist the help of a professional cat trainer.
10. Use cat spray deterrents
If training does not keep your cat out of the balcony, you can use sprays. Many sprays keep cats away from the area.
Most cat deterrent sprays have a bitter or citrus after-taste which keeps cats away from the given area.
You need to use the spray consistently to change your cat’s habit.
11. Ensure the plants in the balcony are cat-safe
If you keep house plants in your balcony, make sure they are non-toxic and safe for cats.
Here is a list of plants and herbs safe for cats. Please add cat grass too since cats love it very much and if they find it at home, they would have little reason to go in the outdoor space.
12. Keep windows and balcony doors closed when you are away
Yes, it can be tempting to leave at least a few open window to let the breeze in.
Even if you have reinforced and secured your balcony with protective nets, adult cats can still get in trouble. So keep the windows and doors to the balcony secured even if you step into the shower for a few minutes or outdoors for a short errand.
13. Keep your cat’s amenities easily accessible
If your cat spends time in the balcony, make sure it has easy access to all amenities like litter box, food and water bowls, etc.
This will make it unnecessary for your pet to go outdoors and also keep the balcony cozy and comfortable for your feline friend.
Can Cats be Trusted on Balconies?
No. Cats and balconies do not mix and adult cats and young kitty will surely find ways to get in trouble there.
Sure, cats are very good at balancing and they also handle falls well, but you should always assume the worst.
For example, most cats will pounce without a second thought when they see a bird outside the balcony or in the yard. They might also get frightened by a passing airplane and jump up high on the railing or ledge.
That is why, you must always cat proof a balcony. Use the above section on ‘how to cat proof a balcony’ to make your windows, balcony, and patios more secure for your cat.
Aren’t Cats Smart Enough Not to Jump Off a Balcony?
Cats are incredibly smart creatures but they are also creatures of habit.
They love perching up on heights and nature has intended for them to be expert climbers. That is why, they always seek vantage points from where they can see the world.
Moreover, they are born hunters, so they will want to pounce at birds that they see outside their windows or in the yard.
Unfortunately, they are not gifted with the sense that they should not jump off heights. They will jump from literally any height and many a times that can lead to very grievous injuries.
HIGH-RISE Syndrome is very real thing in cats – it means injuries cats sustain when they leap off heights such as balcony railings, floor landings, etc.
In short, if you have a cat, then know it will jump from ANYWHERE without any regard for its safety.
That is why you should take ‘how to cat proof a balcony’ seriously.
FAQs on How to Cat Proof a Balcony
1. Can a cat survive a 2-storey fall?
Every year, thousands of cats are rushed to the emergency for falls from heights. Some cats do survive but nearly 10% of the cats do not.
That is why you must use the above solutions to ‘how to cat proof a balcony’ the day you bring your kitty home.
2. Will my cat jump off my balcony?
Most cats do not jump off the balcony but they do jump ‘at’ something or onto another ledge, railing, or landing spot. Sometimes, when they drift off to sleep, they could fall off too.
3. How high can a cat fall without hurting itself?
Statistics show that most cats that fall from a height of about 8 feet can easily land on their paws without hurting themselves. Many have survived falls from more than 8 feet– nearly 32 stories in fact!
However, no two cats are the same. Weak, senior cats, and younger kittens could get seriously hurt from heights shorter than 8 feet too.
4. Can cats sense heights?
Yes, cats are instinctively known to seek heights to hunt, to watch out for predators and dangers, and even to sleep.
While mostly they don’t fall, they could get distracted by prey or might even fall when they are asleep.
Conclusion – How To Cat Proof a Balcony
It is a great thing that you want to know how to cat proof a balcony – because it shows your love for your feline friend.
There are myriad options before you – you can literally use all the child-proofing-balcony tools to cat proof your windows, patios, and balcony.
You could add a chicken wire, protective nets, duct tape the gaps, add metal meshes, etc. to keep your cat safe and secure in the balcony. You can even train it to remain in a harness and leash.
We hope this guide helps make your balcony a safe haven for your cat.