If you have cats, you know that they like to go out onto the porch, especially if they’ve been out once or twice before. The constant scratching and crying at the door can make any pet owner crazy, but we also want to make sure our pets are safe, and since most balconies are high up, we’re concerned they might fall.
We’ve done our best to round up as many steps that you can take to keep your cat on the porch and balcony as possible. We recommend trying them all to show you and your pack can enjoy some sunshine and fresh air.
Prepare the Balcony
Before you can let your cat code on the balcony, you’ll have to prepare it first.
1. Remove toxic plants
Many people like to decorate their balconies with plants. However, many varieties are harmful to cats, and you will need to remove them before all you can allow your pet to go outside as they tend to chew on leaves and flowers.
Plants like peace lilies, aloe vera, jade plants, English ivy, and others can create harmful reactions in your cat.
2. Remove bug repellents and torches
If you’re used to using your balcony as a place for humans to hang out, you likely have some citronella candles and torches, as well as incense and other bug-repellants. You will need to remove any bug-repellants because they are dangerous to your cat’s health.
3. Close off or move garbage cans
If your garbage cans are on the balcony, you will need to close them tight or move them. Garbage cans can attract flies and other animals that might cause your cat to leave the balcony in pursuit. The less chance of other animals invading your balcony, the better, and closing your garbage can lid tightly helps.
4. Take down or move bird feeders
If you have any bird feeders on your balcony, you’ll want to move them as well. Birds are just as likely to cause your cat to leap over boundaries as flies, and you should take every step to prevent them from coming near the balcony.
Seal Off the Porch
There are several ways you can seal off the porch and create a physical barrier to prevent the cat from leaving.
5. Close it off with netting
All netting is a very popular way to seal off a balcony because it allows air to flow naturally, preserving the feeling of being outdoors. There are dozens of brands of netting, and you can choose any you wish. Usually, the cat will assume it can penetrate the barrier and doesn’t try.
6. Put up shades
If your balcony is fairly closed in below the handrail. You can use outdoor shades to create a barrier above it. Shades will sway in the wind and scare your cat into not jumping on the rail. It reduces the outdoors feeling, but you can lift the shades when you are there to supervise.
7. Put up a lattice
Lattice provides a formidable barrier to prevent your cat from leaving the balcony. It retains the outside feeling but is much more permanent than netting or shades and often more expensive. However, if you have more than one cat, lattice may be the best long-term solution.
8. Christmas lights
Cats are very careful about where they jump, and many times adding a light obstruction like Christmas lights to the railing will be enough to convince them to avoid jumping there.
9. Use a leash
Many people don’t realize that you can purchase a cat leash, but this simple device will make it easy to keep your cat on a porch and gives you something to grab onto if they should get off. The leash also slows them down and makes them much easier to catch.
Convince Them to Stay
Once you have the balcony free of dangerous items and sealed in, it’s time to make it comfortable.
Cats love their cushions and placing a few around your balcony will make it much more comfortable. Most cats will be happy with a simple towel or throw pillow, but a cat bed works even better. The more time your cat spends relaxing, the less they will spend finding a way off the balcony.
11. Outdoor rug
An outdoor carpet is just another cushion your cat might use to lay on or sharpen its claws. Carpets provide a little more traction, and you can clean and easy by vacuuming.
Another reason your cat might jump over the balcony is to seek better visibility. When enclosing your balcony, be sure to leave plenty of small holes your pet can use to peek through. Lattice is perfect for maintaining high visibility and a solid barrier.
Cats love high places, and as long as your porch is enclosed, you can supply them with a few perches to sit on to look over their domain. Sometimes all that required is a tall box or a chair back, but there are plenty of commercial cat perches available if you would prefer.
14. Cat grass
Since you removed the poisonous plants, you can replace them with helpful plants like cat grass or catnip. These plants can help make it feel more like the outdoors and provide your cat with some entertainment while on the balcony.
15. All get a cat condo or “catio”
If you want the easiest possible solution, you can splurge and purchase a cat condo. Cat condos are very large cages designed for housing one or more cats. It would likely take up your entire balcony; however, it has the added benefit of being portable.
16. Sit out there with them
One of the best things you can do to help your cat enjoy their time on your balcony is to sit out there with them. Your cat will like no other comforts or perks as much as your company, and there’s no better way to keep an eye on them to make sure they’re not getting into mischief.
You can take many take steps to cat proof a balcony, but putting up a screen or lattice is going to be the most effective. We also recommend the leash if your cat is not too distressed wearing it, and a nice cushion or bed. Make sure you spend as much time as possible on the balcony with your cat for maximum enjoyment.
We hope you have enjoyed reading over this guide and have learned some new ways to prevent your cat from getting off the porch. If you have found it useful, please share the sixteen ways to cat proof a balcony on Facebook and Twitter.
Featured Image: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock
- Prepare the Balcony
- Seal Off the Porch
- Convince Them to Stay