Having a cat proof balcony is vital, particularly if you’re anywhere above the second floor. Also, if you live in a busy area, the last thing you want is your house cat escaping over your balcony railing!
So, let’s look at how to make your balcony a safe space for cats. Before we jump into the best options, we’ll go over some important considerations for creating a cat-safe space.
What to Consider for a Cat Proof Balcony
The Balcony Itself
First, think about the type of balcony you have. Generally, it’ll be easier to enclose a covered balcony than an uncovered one. If you have an uncovered balcony, the best option will be to just keep your cat inside.
Some options below require a bit of DIY. It won’t be much more than drilling some holes, but make sure you’re allowed to do this before you start.
Similarly, some HOA agreements might ban you from putting certain things on your balcony, or even letting cats out there at all. Check your agreements before you make any changes to your balcony.
Temporary or Permanent Solution
Will your cat have free reign of the balcony or will it only be allowed out when you’re there? If it’s the latter, you could use a temporary solution – such as a folding screen – that you set up when you’re out on your balcony.
How to Cat Proof an Apartment Balcony
1. Plexiglass panels
Plexiglass panels are a good starting option because they provide a solid barrier. You’ll need to drill some holes in the panels and then zip-tie them to your railing. While this is a bit more work than some other options, it should be renter-friendly.
It’ll be easiest to attach the panels to metal railings rather than solid walls. It’ll also work best on covered balconies, so you’ve got 2 points of attachment.
2. Furniture placement
One of the least expensive and most accessible solutions is to rearrange your furniture. Unlike dog-proofing a balcony, it’s a bit harder to cat proof a balcony. For starters, cats are more agile and can jump much further.
All you need to do is keep taller objects away from the railings. Things like sofas, chairs and tables are all perfect jumping platforms for cats. If this really isn’t an option, it might be worth considering folding furniture, so you can store it away when not in use.
3. Bamboo or reed fence
A bamboo or reed fence is a useful addition to your existing balcony railing or wall. The idea is to make it taller, so your cat can’t jump over. Of course, using reed fencing means you’ll lose your view but, by extension, gain some privacy!
This’ll work fine on covered and uncovered balconies, providing the fencing is tall enough. Secure it to a railing using zip ties, but you might need to be more creative for a wall. Adhesive hooks should do the job because you can zip tie the fence to them.
4. Cat-friendly plants
Cats sometimes enjoy munching on plants. As such, making a cat proof balcony is about more than stopping them from escaping. If you notice your cat is curious about plants, make sure you stick to ones that aren’t toxic. Safe plants include:
- Maiden grass
- Spider plant
Also, avoid things like tomatoes and potatoes because they’re very poisonous to cats.
5. Stop them from getting on the railing
Sometimes, you have to be harsh to be kind. Bird or cat spikes are one of the easiest ways to stop cats from jumping on a balcony railing. While they might not look friendly, they’re one of the most effective ways to cat proof a balcony.
Of course, this option works for preventing cats from coming in or out of your balcony. Plastic spikes are perfectly safe, they’re just uncomfortable and will stop the cat from sitting on the railing or finding its balance.
6. Balcony netting
Balcony netting is perhaps one of the most effective options. Unlike plexiglass, it’s easy to put up and take down, and you can simply use hooks for this. Balcony netting often comes with extra bits for setting it up, too. That said, any railing netting will be fine.
Of course, this’ll work best on covered balconies so you can hang the netting from the roof. For uncovered balconies, stick to fences and other rigid structures.
7. Cat unfriendly plants
You can use some plants to prevent cats from going near things. We obviously don’t mean poisonous plants, but there are plenty of plants that are too smelly for cats.
Some options include rosemary, lavender, and curry plant. Cats hate the smell, meaning they work as great deterrents for a cat proof balcony.
8. Enclosing your balcony
One of the best options for how to cat proof an apartment balcony is to just enclose it completely.
Alternatively, you could set up a rigid screen, which is essentially netting on a frame. This would work for covered and uncovered balconies, but the latter would take more work. Also, it’s more of a heavy DIY job, so might not be suitable for renters.
9. Lock up garbage and compost
It’s fair to assume your cat probably isn’t a dumpster diver. However, rats and mice are, and we all know how much cats love chasing them. Preventing rodents from coming onto your balcony will help keep your cat calm and should reduce the chances of it trying to jump over the railing.
Metal bins are the best solution because they’re heavy and chew-proof. Try to avoid plastic bins, as rodents can easily get into them. Failing that, keep bins elevated on tables with legs that aren’t in line with the top. Rodents can’t climb these, which will keep your trash and compost bins safe.
10. Cat friendly furnishings
As mentioned, making a cat proof balcony isn’t always about preventing escape. Another good solution is to make them not want to go anywhere. You can do this by giving them plenty of soft and comfy places to sleep.
Give your cat plenty of pillows and blankets so it’s got options for where to lie. Better yet, make sure they’re in the sun.
Granted, this won’t prevent them from trying to escape, but offering them incentive to stay put is often as successful as enclosing a balcony.
11. Make a catio
A catio is, unsurprisingly, a patio for cats. In short, it means setting up a small enclosed area specifically for your cat. If you have the luxury of a cat flap in your balcony door, this should be pretty easy to do.
Any kind of netted enclosure will work perfectly here. Set it up so your cat can get to it but not access the rest of the balcony. Provide a litter tray, somewhere to sleep, and some toys, and your cat should be happy.
Final Thoughts on How to Cat Proof a Balcony
Hopefully, these solutions should help you design the perfect cat proof balcony. Generally, it’s as much about comfort as it is preventing them from escaping. After all, if you give them a warm place to sleep, they shouldn’t have much incentive to go elsewhere.