• Home
  • /
  • Cat Care
  • /
  • Cat Proof Balcony: How to Make a Safe Enclosure for Your Cat

Cat Proof Balcony: How to Make a Safe Enclosure for Your Cat

Posted in: Cat Care - Last Updated: February 9, 2022 - Author: Rebekah Carter
Posted in Cat Care 
Last Updated: February 9, 2022  
Author:  Rebekah Carter
cat proof balcony

Creating a cat proof balcony could be essential if you want your cat to have some “outdoor space” time, but you don’t want to compromise on their safety if you live at great heights. If you’re living in an apartment, or your cat doesn’t have a lot of opportunities to explore the outside world, building a cat safe balcony can give them more freedom to explore their natural instincts.

Unfortunately, simply opening a window or door to let your kitty out onto the balcony is rarely a good idea. You need to be "cat safe" and get some high rise inspiration flowing!.

Cats are naturally adventurous, and they love jumping from and to high places. If your kitty sees a way out into the open world from your balcony, he or she is likely to take it.

Cat proofing your apartment balcony simply means transforming the space into something secure and comfortable for your kitty. You can enclose the space to prevent them from facing any high-rise dangers, while still allowing for the fresh air of the outdoors to get in.

How to Cat Proof a Balcony

Accidents are far more common than most cat owners like to think. There is even a name for it. Experts call it 'high-rise syndrome'. So protecting your cat is critical if they share a balcony with you.

There’s no one-size-fits-all strategy for balcony cat proofing. Some people build complex structures out of wood and cat netting for their feline friends. Others prefer to stick to something simpler, and more budget-friendly. 

To cat proof your balcony, you’ll need to consider a number of factors, including how much space you have, and what kind of budget you’ll be working with. 

Ask yourself:

  • What kind of structure are you working with? What’s the railing or ledge like on your balcony, do you need to cover that with a cat safety net as well as create an enclosed space over the top? Is the bottom section of your balcony completely encased by metal, cement, or another immovable object or material?
  • How much space are you working with? If the balcony is quite small, you might want to make the most of vertical space so your cat can climb and look out at the world from multiple different places. This will require a little more investment and creativity.
  • What kind of budget are you working with? Do you have a lot of cash to spend on things like custom wooden structures and climbing systems? If not, you may need to look into something a little simpler, like a few mesh screens.

Depending on your budget and available materials, you might want to start with a relatively simple structure. This will give you a chance to determine how comfortable your cat is with being outside in the porch enclosure, before you spend a fortune.

Cat Safe Balcony - Steps You Should Take

To help get you started, we’ve put together some step-by-step guidelines for building a budget-friendly cat proof balcony. Notably, while the actual balcony structure we talk about here is just one of the options available to today’s homeowners, there are a few steps that apply to all cases. No matter what kind of balcony you want to build, make sure you still follow our guide for preparing your cat’s new hangout spot.

cat safe balcony

Hoe to Make a Balcony Safe For Cats

The first step in successfully transforming your balcony for your cat is making it as safe as possible. Here are some tips to get you started.

Remove any dangerous plants

Although it’s nice to decorate your balcony with a little plant life, a lot of flowers and other greenery can be dangerous to your feline friend. Lilies, aloe vera plants, jade plants, and English Ivy can all cause harmful reactions in your cat.

Take the time to check out which plants you have on your balcony before you allow your cat to go out there, and make sure they’re safe. If you need to switch out for some pet-safe greenery, you could consider growing catnip or cat grass to make the balcony even more appealing to your furry friend.

Remove other risky items

Once you’ve gotten rid of any potentially dangerous plants, the next step is removing any extra “risky” products. For instance, you might have torches on your balcony if you’ve used the space to hang out with human friends in the past. Incense and candles can also be a common purchases. Removing these from the balcony is usually a good idea if you’re going to be entertaining cats.

Get 30% off and FREE shipping on cat food!

U.S.A. only

To Find out why we recommend chewy.com, click here

It’s also worth getting rid of any bug repellent products. Though these are great for getting insects to leave your home, they can also contain ingredients toxic to cats.

Remove or close off garbage cans

This might seem like an obvious tip, but the last thing you want is for your cat to end up in your garbage can. If you’ve got trash receptacles on the balcony, either get rid of them, or close them as tight as possible. Not only will this stop your kitty from getting messy, but it should prevent your balcony from attracting pests.

Floating bugs might cause your kitty to start jumping around dangerously in pursuit of flies. You’re also reducing the risk of having your garbage can knocked over.

Takedown bird feeders

Finally, make sure your balcony is cat-friendly by getting rid of bird feeders. While your kitty might love watching the birds approach your feeders when he’s indoors, he’s more likely to go on the hunt for prey when outside with those birds. Bird feeders will simply encourage your cat to try and leap over boundaries and climb mesh, which can be dangerous.

Sealing off the Space

Once you’re sure your balcony is free from any potentially dangerous objects, the next step is making sure the space is sealed off and protected. There are various ways you can do this. The key is ultimately to make sure your cat has a physical barrier in place to prevent them from leaving. Some of your options include:

  • Cat Balcony Enclosure: The best solution that will guarantee that you've made your balcony safe for your cat is to build a full balcony enclosure. These are a take on the 'catio or 'cat patio', but built to fit your balcony area. Enclosures are generally made from a metal or wodden frame with a mesh grill or netting covering all openings. All access will then be closed off. A cat balcony enclosure can be custom made to fit, or you can buy a fixed size to cover part of your balconyy or you can buy plans to make your own.
  • Netting: Netting is probably the most popular way to seal off your balcony if you want to make it cat-proof. The net will allow fresh air to flow naturally, so your cat still gets the experience of being outdoors. At the same time, it prevents your furry friend from going anywhere. Just make sure the netting is tough enough to withstand your cat’s claws.
  • Shades: If your balcony is relatively closed in underneath the handrail section, you can create a cat-proof balcony with shades. Although these shades might sway in the wind, this can also help to encourage your cat not to jump up. Though the outdoor feeling is slightly reduced, you can always lift the shades when you’re available to supervise your cat.
  • Lattice: A lattice is one of the most secure barriers if you want to ensure you’re preventing your cat from leaving the balcony space. With a lattice, you maintain a lot of the feeling of being outside for your kitty. However, the lattice is often much more permanent and resilient than netting or shades. The biggest downside is the extra cost, but at least you won’t have to replace netting constantly – particularly if you’re dealing with more than one cat.
  • Deterrents: Sometimes, you can prevent your cat from jumping up and over your balcony just by placing deterrents in the way of their paws. For instance, you might consider putting lights on the railing, so it seems as though there’s no clear place to jump for your cat.
  • Use a leash: Although it’s not as common to use a leash for cats as it is for dogs, it can be an ideal way to control where your kitty goes when outdoors. Having your cat attached to a leash or harness gives you something you can connect to the wall, or hold onto, so they can’t get far. You may need to invest in some leash training activities, however.

For most cat owners, the best option will usually be to start with something simple and affordable, like a little netting or a leash and harness. If you decide you want to implement something more secure and “long term” for your cat, you can invest in a lattice.

cat balcony

Making Your Balcony Comfortable for Your Cat

Creating a cat proof balcony isn’t just about stopping your kitty from jumping into the road when they have a chance to get outside. You should also be looking for ways to make the outdoor experience as comfortable and relaxing for your kitty as possible. 

Create a wonderful balcony for your cat, and they may develop a deeper bond with you, as well as feeling less of a need to go “roaming” or exploring.

Some of the best ways to make your cat proof balcony more comfortable include:

  • Rugs and cushions: Just as cushions and rugs can make our homes more comfortable, they can make the balcony more appealing to your kitty too. You can get these products made with weather-proof materials, so they’re less likely to deteriorate when placed outside. A good outdoor rug will give your kitty a place to lounge and sharpen their claws. Outdoor cushions are comfortable for laying in the sun and snoozing.
  • Visibility: One of the most common reasons a kitty will get frustrated with a balcony, is they simply can’t see as well as they’d like. If your cat feels like they need to shred your shades or climb up some netting to get a good view, they’re not going to enjoy the balcony as much as they could. With this in mind, think about ways to improve visibility. Mesh is a good way to give your cat more visibility.
  • Perches: Another way to give your cat more freedom to explore and see the world from different angles, is to provide it with a range of perches. As long as these perching spots are enclosed with the rest of the balcony, they should give your kitty a safe place to climb to when they need a better view. You could even look into getting outdoor scratching post towers to give your cat more vertical space to enjoy.
  • Cat plants: As mentioned above, plants designed specifically for cats can make your balcony more appealing too. Adding some cat grass or catnip to the balcony instantly makes it more exciting and relaxing to your cat. You’ll also give them something fun to play with when they’re outside, so they’re less likely to go climbing.
  • Other accessories: You may want to look into putting other accessories outside for your cat for when they don’t want to leave their favorite spot. For instance, a bowl for water, and a plate for food could be a good idea. You may also want to invest in an outdoor litter tray.

You could also consider going all-out with your cat proof balcony and investing in a cat patio or catio instead. These are specially-designed enclosed environments often made with wood, metal, and mesh. Cat condos and catios are a lot more expensive than a bit of netting, but they can come with a host of climbing sections for your feline friend.

Should You Sit With Your Cat on The Balcony?

In general, it’s best to start off sitting with your furry friend as often as you can. Ultimately, this will give you a chance to watch over your cat during the initial stages when they’re still getting used to being outside in an enclosed area. When you’re providing supervision, you can immediately jump into action if you notice your cat trying to scratch through some net or do something dangerous.

Invest in some outdoor seating so you can relax with your cat and a good book whenever you have a chance. A love seat or small bench will give you a cozy place to unwind, while also ensuring your kitty can come and sit with you whenever they feel like it. This should help to boost bonding between you and your furry friend. 

After a while, once you know your cat is safe on the balcony, and you feel comfortable allowing them to explore on their own, you can give them more freedom to do things by themselves. This will mean you only need to go out onto the balcony whenever you feel like it.

cat with a leash on

Is a Balcony a Safe Place for a Cat?

In general, balconies aren’t the safest place for your kitty. While cats are very intelligent creatures, they’re also naturally curious. When outside on a balcony, your cat is going to get the urge to jump up onto the railing, and potentially into the street below. They’re not necessarily trying to “escape” when they do this, but they are looking for adventure. 

If your cat jumps over the balcony railing, there’s no telling what could happen. First and foremost, you run the risk your cat could be injured by the long fall if you’re in a high-rise apartment or multi-floor home. There’s also a chance your cat could land in a dangerous location, like in the road or on some fencing. This may happen more often if your cat is paying attention to something else – like a bug or bird – and not looking at where they’re going to land. 

Even if your balcony isn’t high up or in a dangerous place, there’s still a risk your cat could jump over the railing and start exploring – then get lost. Cats who wander away from home don’t always know how to find their way back straight away. This could cause some serious distress for you and your family as you search for your missing friend.

The only way to make a balcony into a genuinely safe environment for your kitty is to cat-proof the space. A cat proof balcony gives your kitty the best of both worlds. They have an opportunity to explore the outdoor world, but they don’t risk injury by being allowed to jump (And fall) whenever they like.

Cat Proof Balcony - Final Thoughts

Building a cat proof balcony can take a little time and effort, particularly if you have a vision of what your balcony should look like. Our advice is to start with something simple and spend time outdoors with your cat to check they’re not doing anything dangerous or trying to escape. Using a cat leash or cat harness might be ideal, to begin with, as it will give you a chance to see whether you’ve missed any danger spots when enclosing your balcony, without putting your cat at risk. 

As your cat gets used to being on the cat safe balcony, and you decide whether you’re comfortable letting them go out there more often, you can begin to consider whether you want to invest in something more long-term. For multiple cats and adventurous kitties, a catio, a cat balcony enclosure or a lattice system made with metal and stone are usually the best options.

Good luck building the ultimate cat proof balcony.

Get 30% off and FREE shipping on cat supplies!

U.S.A only

To Find out why we recommend chewy.com, click here

Affiliate disclosure : We Love Cats and Kittens is a participant in several affiliate programs including the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, and the Chewy affiliate program. These are affiliate advertising programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to products on their sites. If you click on links in our blog posts and articles we may be paid a commission.

About the author

Rebekah Carter is a dedicated animal lover. Her Savannah cat, Roscoe, has a lot of attitude, while her Maine Coon, Dukino, is full of love. When not writing, she’s looking after her cats and researching ways to help them live their best possible life. Her passion for animals and natural skill for writing led her to pursue pet blogging.