Famously cats are elegant creatures who love heights and find comfort even when perched on something as thin and slippery as a balcony railing. While they might make their moves look easy and safe, cats can sometimes fall off the fence, especially if they are startled or chasing another animal. While they can hold onto the spongy bark of a tree, rails can be too slippery for them – so, cat-proofing your balcony is essential!
To keep your cats off the balcony railings, keep the windows closed or add screens. If this is not possible, open only the top part of the window or train your cat to stay off the balcony altogether. Other solutions include bird netting, tepee structures, and harnesses.
Understanding the reasons and motivations behind your cat’s behavior can also help you find the best solution for your situation. Read on for more tips!
1. Keep Window Screens Secured or Close the Windows
One of the most inexpensive and easy-to-implement solutions is to prevent your cat from entering your balcony. Ensuring that all doors and screens are closed – especially when you are not at home – can help you police your cat’s behavior.
However, if you have opted for this solution, you should also consider that your cat might require an increased amount of time outdoors. Since your pet is not allowed on the balcony, ensure it has a garden or a green space to enjoy staying outdoors.
Like many other pets, spending some time outdoors can positively benefit the cat’s mental health.
2. Open the Top Part of the Window
Another way of preventing your cat from entering your balcony is to open only the top half of your window. However, this solution to keep your cat off the balcony railings is viable only if you can open just half of your windows.
If you have window doors that lead onto the balcony, you might have to keep them always closed and secured, mainly if you can’t supervise your cat.
3. Ensure There Are No Other Gaps
If you have decided to keep your car off the balcony, it is essential to check other openings and gaps that your cat could use to get on the balcony. These tend to be even more dangerous if you don’t know they existed: your cat could make it to the balcony without knowing it!
The main gaps you should check include air conditioning opening and potential holes around the windows. Cats can fit through spaces that seem much smaller than them at first, but they can squeeze through it effortlessly.
4. Build a “Catio”
If you wish to allow your cat on the balcony and you are not in the position to be able to close all your windows, building a cation, catwalk, or enclosure can be an extremely efficient solution.
If you feel confident with DIY tools and techniques, you can build your cat completed with all the courses and amenities your cat might need when outside.
While that is also the cheapest way of achieving the results wanted, you can also employ a professional company to build a cat enclosure for you.
If you have decided to build one, you will need basic construction materials like screening, mesh nets, tools, and lumber to create catwalks.
Opting for this DIY option can also give you the chance to make your catio as intricate or simple as you want and get it to match your home’s interior design.
You can find inspiration for your DIY catio in the video below.
5. Use Heavy-Duty Mesh Screen
If building a catio represents a significant investment, you are not in the position to afford, buying, and installing heavy-duty mesh screens can be just as efficient.
Of course, your cat might not have as many entertainment opportunities while on the balcony.
Mesh screens can be wrapped around the railings and prevent your cat from climbing up to them.
However, you could opt to fit them outside of the railing to allow your cat to still walk on the railing, but in complete safety.
6. Install Bird Netting to Increase Safety
While bird netting might not prevent your cat from climbing up to the balcony railings, it can be beneficial to save your cat’s life if he falls.
Indeed, these types of nets are usually installed on the outside of your balcony and created to stop birds and other avian visitors from entering your living areas. However, you can secure a sheet of bird netting to the mesh screen already present on your balcony to catch your cat if he falls.
Make sure the bird netting is secured to avoid fatal system failures later on!
7. Allow Your Cat Outdoors in Cages and Tepees
Cat cages, teepees, and large dog crates can be useful to create a safe area for your cat to enjoy. This can be positioned on your balcony and help you keep an eye on your feline, regardless of how long the cat decides to stay outside.
The main downside of this solution is that you might have to bring your cat into the enclosure and take him out after a while. Therefore, this might not be a viable strategy to use while you are away or at work. So, you might still need to keep all windows and doors closed when you are not at home.
Nonetheless, cages and teepees are often made of mesh and include a range of toys and courses your cat can use to kill boredom. These devices might also include tunnels and facilities for your cat to move around and keep in shape. At the same time, you can ensure that your cat is safe while enjoying the fresh air on your balcony.
8. Use a Harness
Using a harness for your cat implies that you have trained your cat to be comfortable with it. To do so, you should get him to become used to the harness and leash while on the balcony and outdoors. You can do so by staying on the balcony with him.
Then, install a metal par or unmovable hook on the balcony and fix a leash there. Once connected to the harness, this can help you keep your cat under control and ensure he is safe.
If you wish to grant him enough freedom of movement around the balcony, ensure that the leash is long enough for the balcony to walk the balcony’s lengths.
However, you should also make sure that the leash is short enough to prevent your cat from jumping on the railing.
9. Keep Your Cat Entertained
If you have noticed your cat spending a lot of time in the balcony jumping on the railings and chasing birds and insects, your cat might be bored. While cats usually like heights and suspended areas, they also spend a considerable portion of their day sleeping.
Therefore, a cat that keeps climbing up to the railings and playing there might be doing so due to the lack of other entertainment opportunities indoors. Make sure you are playing with your pet enough to keep him entertained throughout the day.
Through this strategy, you are likely to notice that he won’t be walking or resting on the railings anymore but becomes tired more easily.
Keeping your cat off the balcony railings is easy, but it is essential to understand your cat’s natural behavior. Your pet is likely to love heights, but balcony railings can represent a safety hazard for him.
Therefore, installing bird netting or mesh screens can be highly effective. However, training your cat to be comfortable in a harness or investing in teepees, cages, enclosures, or catios allows your cat to enjoy the right freedom of movement and safety.