Creating a cat friendly balcony is about combining fun and safety. After all, if you’re anywhere above the first floor, the last thing you want is for your cat to be able to escape.
So, let’s look at 10 cat friendly balcony ideas to keep your pet entertained (and safe).
1. Cat-proof your balcony
The best place to start is by cat-proofing your balcony. Luckily, we’ve got a whole article on that topic, so check it out for some top tips on making your balcony safe.
2. Build a Catio
A catio (cat patio) is a common way of providing house cats with outdoor space in a secure way. They can range from simple wire frames to intricate, multi-level structures.
When building a catio for an apartment balcony, the most important thing is to ensure it’s safe.
If you’ve got a bit of DIY knowledge, the best option might be to build one yourself using some lumber and chicken wire. This way, you can customize it to the available space.
Check out this video for details on how to build a catio for an apartment balcony.
Alternatively, you can buy large playpens on sites like Amazon that you could modify for an apartment balcony.
3. Sun lounger
You probably already know that cats love the sun. For a cat friendly balcony, set up a space for them to soak up some rays, whether in a cat bed or a DIY lounger.
Along with providing them somewhere nice to nap, a bed should help reduce their desire to go exploring. After all, cats love to sleep, so it should make them more relaxed out on your balcony.
4. Provide distractions
While this won’t technically result in a cat proof balcony, the more distractions you put in place, the less likely your cat will be to go wandering.
Some great options include a bamboo or jute rug they can lie on and claw, some toys, or a scratching post.
Your cat might enjoy some plants, too, but ensure they’re not toxic. Similarly, stay away from plastic things, as your cat will likely chew on them. Some good plant options include:
- Catnip (obviously)
- Spider plants
- Cat grass
None of these are toxic and so your cat can happily play with them and chew on them whenever they want.
5. Add a water fountain
Not all cats like water, but those that do often enjoy playing with it. A cat fountain is essentially for drinking, although it can also work as entertainment. Plus, if you choose the right model, you’ll be blessed with the relaxing sound of trickling water!
6. A window seat
Although this crosses over with the sunbathing idea above, it works particularly well on smaller balconies. Set up a window hammock for your cat so they’ve got somewhere to sleep in the sun.
Most stick to windows with suckers, which you can set up outdoors. This saves you from having a cat bed, which, while small, still takes up valuable floor space.
Alternatively, consider a cat window box – also known as a window catio. It’s essentially a mini catio that sits in front of a window. It gives the cat some fresh air and somewhere outside to sit and means you don’t have to block off your whole balcony.
You can buy them online but they’re really easy to make, too.
7. Use shrubs for shade
On the other hand, cats also enjoy a bit of shade. Potted shrubs are perfect for this, as cats often enjoy hiding at the base of trees and bushes. Plenty of ferns and palms are ideal, but roses also work.
Something like a box hedge will be fine, although they are known to be toxic. If you think this could be an issue, try buying plastic box hedge panels instead.
8. Artificial grass
If you want to give your cat a taste of the real outdoors, throw down some artificial balcony grass. It doesn’t need to be massive, as you can buy small panels. That said, you could always use grow real grass on your balcony.
9. Sleeping shelves
If you’ve got an old shelving unit (and several cats) set up a few beds for them in the sun. You could add other cat friendly things, like toys and a scratching post. However you set it up, it’ll be like cat bunk beds!
10. Kitty litter tray
Fed up with your cat using a litter tray indoors? Why not build them an outdoor potty! We have an entire guide on what you’ll need to know to set up an outdoor litter box.
There are plenty of ways to create a cat friendly balcony. Of course, make sure your outdoor space is cat safe before you start giving them reasons to go out there.