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9 Best Catios for Apartment Balconies in 2021 – Reviews & Top Picks!

cat in a catioAs people are becoming more aware and educated about the risks that outdoor cats face and the damage they can do to the environment, catios are becoming increasingly popular. Catios are simply enclosed outdoor spaces for cats that allow them outdoor time in a safe environment. If you live in an apartment, a catio can really come in handy since your cat likely doesn’t have access to a yard. If you have an apartment balcony, your cat may attempt to spend time out there, but a cat loose on a balcony is at risk for an escape or injury. These reviews will help you wade through the different types of catios on the market to choose the safest catio for your apartment balcony.hepper-single-cat-paw-divider-e1614923017121

A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites

Rating Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Outback Jack Kitty Compound Cat Playpen Tent & Tunnel Outback Jack Kitty Compound Cat Playpen Tent & Tunnel
  • Breathable
  • Easy to set up
  • 30 square feet of play space
  • Best Value
    Second place
    EliteField 2-Door Soft-Sided Dog & Cat Playpen EliteField 2-Door Soft-Sided Dog & Cat Playpen
  • Folds into a carry bag for storage
  • Locking zippers and storage pockets
  • Water resistant nylon and breathable mesh
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Prevue Pet Products Deluxe Cat Cage Playpen Prevue Pet Products Deluxe Cat Cage Playpen
  • Safe for paws
  • Three levels and includes hammocks
  • Rust-resistant, lightweight aluminum
  • Best for Kittens
    Eiiel Large Cat Cage Playpen Eiiel Large Cat Cage Playpen
  • Includes doors for easy access
  • Good option for multi-cat homes
  • Three levels with ramps between them
  • Kittywalk Town & Country Collection Outdoor Cat Playpen Kittywalk Town & Country Collection Outdoor Cat Playpen
  • Brightly colored
  • Awnings provide shade
  • PVC mesh is durable and water-resistant
  • The 9 Best Catios for Apartment Balconies in 2021

    1. Outback Jack Kitty Compound Cat Playpen Tent & Tunnel – Best Overall

    Outback Jack Outdoor Cat Enclosure

    Size: 74” x 63” x 36”
    Primary material: Polyester mesh
    Number of levels: 1
    The Outback Jack Kitty Compound Cat Playpen Tent & Tunnel is the best overall catio for apartment balconies. This large playpen features an enclosed tent with attached tunnel, giving your kitty over 30 square feet of play space. The polyester mesh material means it’s made with lots of airflow and it allows your kitty plenty of outdoor views. It’s easy to set up and requires no tools, plus it folds into a carry bag for easy storage. Keep in mind that since this is lightweight, there is a chance it could blow off a balcony in a strong wind, so make sure it’s secured in place.
    Pros
    • Top pick
    • Features a tent and tunnel
    • 30 square feet of play space
    • Breathable
    • Easy to set up
    • Folds into a carry bag for storage
    Cons
    • Needs to be secured into place

    2. EliteField 2-Door Soft-Sided Dog & Cat Playpen – Best Value

    EliteField 2-Door Soft-Sided Dog & Cat Playpen

    Size: Wide range of sizes
    Primary material: Nylon
    Number of levels: 1
    The EliteField 2-Door Soft-Sided Dog & Cat Playpen is available in eight sizes and eight color combinations. It’s the best catio for apartment balconies for the money and is made from water resistant nylon and mesh, making it breathable and lightweight. It has multiple openings with locking zippers and pockets for storage and folds down, fitting into a carry bag for easy storage. The included floor mat is machine washable for easy cleaning and maintenance. It’s recommended for pets up to 45 pounds, making this a good option for multiple cats or kittens. This is another lightweight option, so make sure it is secured or weighted into place when in use.
    Pros
    • Eight sizes and eight color options
    • Budget friendly
    • Water resistant nylon and breathable mesh
    • Locking zippers and storage pockets
    • Folds into a carry bag for storage
    • Machine washable mat is included
    • Recommended for pets up to 45 pounds
    Cons
    • Needs to be secured into place

    3. Prevue Pet Products Deluxe Cat Cage Playpen – Premium Choice

    Prevue Pet Products Deluxe Cat Cage Playpen

    Size: 25” x 25.25” x 44.88”
    Primary material: Aluminum
    Number of levels: 3
    The premium choice for apartment balcony catios is the Prevue Pet Products Deluxe Cat Cage Playpen, which features a solid base and two shelf levels, as well as hammocks that can be attached at various points in the cage. This catio is made from rust-resistant aluminum and it sits on rubber casters, making it easy to move. It has a “paw-friendly” design that prevents pinch points and keeps paws safe. The doors secure with a two-finger locking mechanism, ensuring your kitty can’t knock the doors open on its own. Although it’s designed to be secure, it’s easy to put together and lightweight enough for one person to manage. Since this is primarily made of metal, care should be taken when allowing your kitty out into this catio in direct sunlight to prevent overheating and burns.
    Pros
    • Three levels and includes hammocks
    • Rust-resistant, lightweight aluminum
    • Rubber casters and light weight make it easy for one person to move
    • Safe for paws
    • Two-finger locking mechanism
    • Easy to put together
    Cons
    • Materials may get hot in sunlight

    4. Eiiel Large Cat Cage Playpen – Best for Kittens

    Eiiel Large Cat Cage Playpen

    Size: 41” x 41” x 55”, 28” x 14” x 28”, 55” x 28” x 41”
    Primary material: Aluminum
    Number of levels: 3
    For kittens, the best apartment balcony catio is the Eiiel Large Cat Cage Playpen, which is available in three sizes and can be put together multiple ways to suit the space. Each set includes multiple doors, allowing you easy access to the catio for cleaning, maintenance, and interacting with your cat. Multiple cats can comfortably spend time in this catio together, making it ideal for homes with whole litters of kittens. It has three platforms and ramps between them, allowing your cat or kitten to safely explore. It includes clear instructions and is easy to assemble, along with being lightweight enough for one person to handle but heavy enough to be resistant to blowing over. The metal materials may get hot in sunlight, so be careful with this.
    Pros
    • Three sizes
    • Can be organized multiple different ways
    • Includes doors for easy access
    • Good option for multi-cat homes
    • Three levels with ramps between them
    • Clear instructions and easy to assemble
    Cons
    • Materials may get hot in sunlight

    5. Kittywalk Town & Country Collection Outdoor Cat Playpen

    Kittywalk Town & Country Collection Outdoor Cat Playpen

    Size: 96” x 18” x 72”
    Primary material: PVC mesh
    Number of levels: 5
    The Kittywalk Town & Country Collection Outdoor Cat Playpen is a fun catio option with bright colors and multiple levels, including a hammock. It has a large tower with a tunnel coming out from the base. This catio is made from PVC mesh and is held together with durable steel components, so it’s built to last. It offers awnings for shade and is made from water-resistant materials. It can easily be folded up and stored in its travel bag. It’s easy to put together and can be managed by one person. It is lightweight enough that it should be secured into place on a balcony, but it is heavier than some similar items.
    Pros
    • Brightly colored
    • Multiple levels
    • PVC mesh is durable and water-resistant
    • Awnings provide shade
    • Can be folded up and stored in its bag
    • Easy to put together
    Cons
    • Needs to be secured into place

    6. GUTINNEEN Cat House Outdoor Enclosure on Wheels

    GUTINNEEN Cat House Outdoor Enclosure on Wheels

    Size: 5” x 31.5” x 70.9”
    Primary material: Wood
    Number of levels: 4
    The GUTINNEEN Cat House Outdoor Enclosure on Wheels is a great catio option for your kitty to be able to access without your assistance. It’s made to be kept against a window, allowing your cat to come and go through the open window as they please. It has multiple levels, weather-resistant PVC on the inside, a weather-resistant roof, and durable casters that allow one person to move it. It even has an enclosed box that can hold a bed or blankets for cozy naps. This company was a furniture producer before entering into the world of pet-related furniture in 1999. Multiple people have complained about the strong chemical smell of this catio on arrival, so it may need a few days to air out.
    Pros
    • Made to be accessible via a window
    • Multiple levels
    • Weather-resistant components
    • Locking casters allow for easy movement
    • Enclosed napping box
    • Made by a company that has a background in furniture building
    Cons
    • May need to air out for a few days before use

    7. IRIS 3-Tier Plastic Cat Cage Playpen

    IRIS 3-Tier Plastic Cat Cage Playpen

    Size: 48” x 22.24” x 68.98”
    Primary material: Plastic
    Number of levels: 3
    The IRIS 3-Tier Plastic Cat Cage Playpen is accessible via four doors and features three levels. It’s made of strong but lightweight plastic and sits on casters, allowing you to easily move it if needed. It is somewhat heavier than many of the other apartment balcony-safe catios. If you want your cat to have access to or from the catio and you won’t be around, the doors can be propped open. It has a per-shelf weight limit of 33 – 66 pounds, making this a great option for multi-cat homes. Some people report finding the door latches to not be as secure as they’d like, so it’s a good idea to only allow access to this on your balcony when you will be able to supervise your cat.
    Pros
    • Four doors and three levels
    • Strong and lightweight
    • Casters make it easy for one person to move it
    • Doors can be propped open
    • Weight limit per shelf is up to 66 pounds
    • Good option for multi-cat homes
    Cons
    • Heavier than most catios reviewed
    • Latches may not be as secure as other options

    8. Frisco Collapsible Wire Cat Cage Playpen

    Frisco Collapsible Wire Cat Cage Playpen

    Size: 35” x 23” x 48”
    Primary material: Steel
    Number of levels: 3
    The Frisco Collapsible Wire Cat Cage Playpen is a catio option that has three shelves and three mats to make it feel cozier. It has locking casters, allowing one person to move it if needed. It’s also collapsible and easy to put together, so you can break it down for storage and set it back up by yourself. It has two sets of doors with two-finger locking mechanisms, ensuring your kitty can’t get itself out of the catio. The plastic trays and metal are black and can get quite warm in the sun, so use caution. The shelves may be too narrow for large cats to comfortably use, so this may be a better option for kittens and small cats.
    Pros
    • Three levels with included mats
    • Locking casters for safety and movement
    • Collapsible for storage
    • Easy to put together
    • Two sets of doors with two-finger locking mechanisms
    Cons
    • Materials may get hot in sunlight
    • Shelves may be too narrow for large cats to comfortably use

    Related Read: 10 Best Cat Tents & Teepees: Reviews & Top Picks


    9. PawHut Large Wooden Outdoor Catio Enclosure

    PawHut Large Wooden Outdoor Catio Enclosure

    Size: 71” x 38” x 71”
    Primary material: Wood
    Number of levels: 3
    The PawHut Large Wooden Outdoor Catio Enclosure has three levels, but there are three shelves on each side, so there are six shelves total. It’s made from wood and is available in two colors. This large catio may be too large for smaller apartment balconies, so make sure you measure your space before purchasing it. It has a weather-resistant roof and is designed for outdoor use. It has a large door that is easy for cats to use, but it may be difficult for larger people to access this catio. Some people have reported needing to make modifications to the setup of this product to ensure it is stable and durable in the weather.
    Pros
    • Three levels and six shelves
    • Two color options
    • Weather-resistant roof
    • Large door
    Cons
    • May be too large for some apartment balconies
    • Modifications may be necessary to ensure it is stable and weather-resistant
    • Door may be too small for larger people
    hepper-cat-paw-divider

    Buyer’s Guide

    Choosing the Best Catio for Your Apartment Balcony

    Choosing a catio shouldn’t be an overly complicated task, but it is important to choose the right item for your balcony.

    Safety Tips

    You want to make sure you choose a catio that fits your balcony in a safe way and that doesn’t inhibit your ability to access the catio if needed or escape your apartment in case of an emergency. Any catio that fully impedes your exit from your apartment is not suitable. Always check your apartment’s rules on patio furniture before choosing a catio as well. You may be limited to only catios that can be folded up or moved inside and outside, as opposed to a large structure that permanently lives on the balcony. Also consider how you can secure the catio on your balcony. A lightweight catio that may blow away needs to be secured differently than a larger, heavier catio might. However, large structures do still need to be checked for stability and safety. This is especially true if you live in an area prone to rapid changes in the environment, like areas prone to hurricanes or earthquakes. Even if you can safely get your cat indoors, the last thing you want is for your catio to fall off your balcony and hurt someone below or damage property.

    two cats in a catio by the pool
    Image Credit: Chewy

    hepper-cat-paw-divider

    Conclusion

    To recap these reviews, here’s what you need to know. The best overall catio for your apartment balcony is the Outback Jack Kitty Compound Cat Playpen Tent & Tunnel, which offers plenty of space to play and rest. The budget-friendly pick is the EliteField 2-Door Soft-Sided Dog & Cat Playpen, which is available in a variety of sizes and colors. The premium pick is the Prevue Pet Products Deluxe Cat Cage Playpen, which is functional and sturdy, and the most kitten-friendly option is the Eiiel Large Cat Cage Playpen, which can be set up different ways depending on your needs.

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    Featured Image Credit: Chewy