Apartment living is becoming more popular and with that comes enjoying time on the balcony, especially in the summer. For many, the balcony becomes the summer “social hub” for cooking out or enjoying the sun. Fun for us, but balconies can be very dangerous for cats. Here are a few ways to ensure balcony safety for cats:
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Inspect Balcony Before Allowing Your Pet Access
Make sure the balcony is safe before allowing your cat access. Cats can squeeze between balcony railings or jump over balcony walls. To secure space between railings, The Spruce.com offers this recommendation:
To create transparent rail guards with materials from the local hardware store:
- Get 20 12″-by-10″ acrylic sheets
- White nylon cable ties.
Drill holes for the cable ties in each of the acrylic sheets. Next, use the ties to attach the sheets to the railings.
A screened enclosure is the safest bet. Check screen regularly for holes and repair before giving your cat balcony access. Depending on the size of your balcony, there are many pre-made options such as: Lounger Tents or Cat Playpens
Remove Balcony Furniture Close to Railing
Most cats love to jump, and can do so before we realize it. Remove any balcony furniture close to railings so your cat won’t be tempted to jump onto the furniture, then over the railing.
Consider Keeping Harness and Leash On Cats While on Balcony
To prevent your cat from jumping off the balcony in pursuit of a bird on squirrel he spotted, consider putting a harness and leash on your cat while he’s on the balcony. Jacket-type harnesses like the Mynwood Jacket Harness are safer, since cats aren’t able to get out of them as easily.
Cats Don’t Always Land Safely
It’s been said that cats always land safely on their feet, but as an article from Petmd.com points out:
In one report of 119 cats who had fallen from high rises during a four-year period, about 97 percent survived, but many sustained serious injuries, including 46 percent who presented with fractured limbs.
Falling is the primary balcony hazard for pets,and can cause injuries including broken bones, skin abrasions and damage to internal organs. It can also be the cause of soft-tissue sprains and facial injuries like trauma to the nose and teeth, split palates and broken jaws. Even if your cat isn’t injured in a fall, he may run away and get lost.
Falls Aren’t the Only Potential Balcony Danger for Cats
The Petmd.com article goes on to say:
Falling isn’t the only potential danger. Burns from heated grills, exposure to toxic plants, bees, wasps and other insects, and getting a head or limb caught in a railing are also risks to be wary of.
Our cats like to be with us, especially when we’re outside. Keeping balcony safety for cats in mind, those cats and their people can enjoy being outside without injury.