Unfortunately (for cat owners), cats can be quite mischievous and curious. They will walk into animal traps, climb up walls, get caught in a fence, and the list goes on. They are very adventurous creatures and don’t take kindly to being told “no.” Sadly, the saying “curiosity killed the cat” is quite fitting. To avoid kitty accidents, there are ways you can cat-proof your home for increased safety.
For example, if you live in a building with a balcony, you will definitely want to keep your cats off them entirely or make it safe for them to explore. Continue reading for ideas on how to cat-proof your balcony.
The 10 Possible Ways to Cat-Proof a Balcony
1. Balcony Net
A great option to cat-proof your balcony is by purchasing a net. This net can be a basic netting that you might see to stop bugs from getting you while you sleep on vacation or camping. Some nets have magnetic strips that will easily fasten together to keep them closed.
You should make sure that it’s secure enough so that if your cat tries to climb it or jump up it will stay in place. We know cats can panic and rip through mesh easily. It should be high-quality, sturdy, secured, and ready to keep your cat from getting over the balcony.
These have been becoming increasingly popular over recent years as a great addition to a backyard or balcony of a home. The “Cat-io” (a play on the word patio), is basically a structure crafted to allow cats their own outdoor space without having free range of the outdoors. It’s usually a combination of different passageways either windowed or screened-in and has an entrance from inside the home.
Pet owners can either DIY these structures or buy them pre-made and ready to build. The latter can get pretty expensive, though! Cats will get the feeling of exploring freely outside and will get some exercise. Cat owners will rest easy knowing they can’t escape or get hurt.
3. Screened-in Balcony
This option is great for those who either have an already box-like balcony or a lower ceiling. Screening-in a porch is much easier than screening-in a smaller balcony. This is because ceilings are usually too high for people to reach and secure a screen. This can also be super dangerous to try and affix yourself—think of being on the tenth floor on a ladder!
If you can get to your ceiling safely, you can purchase a screen that has the flexibility to move around corners and either use a staple gun (if your building allows it) or another type of super glue to keep it from budging. Screens will be more durable and have less give when cats inevitably stick their paws in it.
4. Other Entertainment
A great alternative to keeping your balcony cat-proof is simply preventing them from accessing it and instead providing them safe, fun, indoor entertainment. If cats get bored, he or she will get distracted by flying birds and bugs. This can be really dangerous because cats will likely leap when they see potential prey. If you let your cats know that you’re there for them and giving them attention, they might be content solely with that and without having to try to escape outside.
5. Fence Additions
Most balconies (if not all) have a fence for safety purposes. However, fences are constructed in many different ways and are essentially made to keep humans from danger. Cats are much riskier and will jump and explore if they see a big enough space to squeeze through.
If you notice you have fencing on your balcony with too many spaces between panels, try looking for fence additions you can easily add on. This can be things like putting wood, wire, or net fencing over big spaces.
6. Make Higher Fencing
Another option to keep your balcony cat-proof is to remove the risk of your cat jumping over the railing. Most railings are made with enough space above them that people can see over so they aren’t completely blocked from seeing outdoors. This is great for people, but not so safe for cats.
A way to keep cats from jumping over railings would be to add additional, higher fencing over your balcony railing. This can be done by using something like bamboo fencing that’s a good few inches higher than your balcony. Cats will see that they can’t jump up and over it, or they won’t have the temptation at all.
7. Window Box
This option might be a bit trickier and more expensive, but a great option if you have the tools. If you want your kitty to stay inside but have a good view of the outdoors, you can make a window box up against a window facing your balcony. This can be as simple as using plastic sheets (with an open back for ventilation) that give your cat access to a place to sit and observe.
The tough part comes in if you need to make space in a window. An easier option would be to make one through a screen door.
8. Wire Mesh
Like netting, wire mesh is a great option to block off any spaces that your cat could get through and be harmed. Mesh is a great option for keeping cats within the balcony because it will still give them the feeling of being outdoors. Mesh patterns have pretty large holes throughout so cats can peek through or even stick their paws through so be cognizant of what type you purchase.
Wire is also versatile and can be adjusted with wire cutters to easily fit on any balcony. It’s also relatively safe in the sense that it won’t stick out and poke kitties—as long as you make sure all the ends are covered.
9. Comfy Relaxation Spot
If you have a kitty that likes to lounge (which they all do), make a spot for your cat on your balcony that becomes their cozy space. Whether you use a blanket, a rug, or a pillow this will give your cat a sense of homeyness. If they have a spot they like that isn’t too close to the edge of your balcony, your cat will be calmer and eventually get used to going straight to their comfy area.
This is a good option if you have a cat who is on the lazier side. They don’t get easily distracted by flying or buzzing animals or insects and may simply be content observing.
10. Cover Railings
It’s important to keep your cats off balcony railings. They might seem like they have the balance of non-existent proportions, but they are also a bit clumsy at times. Keep your cats from being too interested in jumping up on balcony railings by making them think that it’s not an easily achievable option.
This can be done by placing barriers along railings like plant pots, décor that sit on your railings, or hanging large items off the side so they don’t feel like bothering with them.
Hopefully, you find one of the above options doable for you, your cat, and your balcony. It’s very important to keep an eye on your cat the first few times they go out to explore and make sure they are as safe as possible. Cats are very curious and love to explore anywhere and everywhere. They will see gaps in your balcony fence as an opportunity to squeeze right through!
Try these methods to cat-proof your balcony and remember you might need to try a few before you find the best one for your balcony. You might even need to add more than one to make sure it’s completely cat-proof.
Featured Image Credit: Piotr Musioł, Unsplash