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How to Cat Proof a Balcony: 16 Expert Solutions

ragdoll cat lying on balcony corner egde
Image Credit: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock
Last Updated on November 16, 2023 by Christian Adams

If you have cats, you know that they like to go out on 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 as possible to keep your cat on the porch and balcony. We recommend trying them all to show you and your pack can enjoy some sunshine and fresh air.

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The 16 Methods to Cat-Proof Your Balcony

Before you can let your cat go on the balcony, you’ll have to prepare it first.

1. Remove toxic plants

Rattlesnake Plant
Image Credit: Fabrizio Guarisco, Shutterstock

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 cause harmful reactions in your cat.

2. Remove bug repellents and torches

Image Credit: rawf8, Shutterstock

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. Minimizing the number of animals invading your balcony is safer for your cat, and closing your garbage can lid tightly helps.

4. Take down or move bird feeders

cat swipping bird house
Image Credit: Petr Bonek, Shutterstock

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

cat on netted balcony
Image Credit: Petr Bonek, Shutterstock

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’t penetrate the barrier and doesn’t try.

6. Put up shades

cat looking through blinds
Image Credit: ForGaby, Shutterstock

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 feeling of being outdoors, but you can lift the shades when you are there to supervise.

7. Put up a lattice

cat looking through lattice
Image Credit: Largoforte, Shutterstoc

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

balcony lights
Image Credit: Konstantina Baferou, Shutterstock

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

A woman with a cat on a leash walking along a path in the park
Image Credit: Nau Nau, Shutterstock

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.

10. Cushions

a domestic shorthair cat lying on the couch
Image Credit: Pxhere

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

cat laying on rug
Image Credit: N K, Shutterstock

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 them easily by vacuuming.

12. Visibility

Cat hiding behind curtain
Image Credit: llaszlo, Shutterstock

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.

13. Perches

Orangelight Cat Window Perch-BG
Image: Amazon

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 is 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

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”

two cats on a cat tree condo
Image Credit: Christopher Teixeira, Shutterstock

If you want the easiest possible solution, you can splurge and purchase a cat condo. Cat condos are large cat trees 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

cat on womans lap
Image Credit: Impact Photography, Shutterstock

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.

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You can take many take steps to create a cat proof 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 on how to cat-proof a balcony 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.

Related Read: 

Featured Image Credit: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock

About the Author

Christian Adams
Christian Adams
Christian is the Editor-in-Chief of Excited Cats and one of its original and primary contributors. A lifelong cat lover, now based in South East Asia, Christian and his wife are the proud parents of an 11-year-old son and four rescue cats: Trixie, Chloe, Sparky, and Chopper.

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