Today I have a little something different for all you pet lovers out there. I’m sharing my personal tips on how I made my balcony cat-proof.
Your cat doesn’t need an abundance of space to enjoy being outside. Even if you only have a small area, this might still be enough for your cat to think he’s “outdoors”. If you know how to cat proof your apartment balcony first, of course.
As their most important outdoor activities consist of sunbathing, stretching and gazing, a comfortable patio, cute balcony or closed off catio is all it takes to make your cat feel like the king/queen of their own outdoor space.
Those of you who follow me closely (*ahem*, #catgram), know I’m a cat lover at heart.
When we finally started our search to adopt a cat, we had one priority.
Since we live in an apartment our new room mate would have to be comfortable staying indoors.
Most pure bred cats are perfectly happy staying inside. As long as they have a window sil where they can safely observe their surroundings behind a thick wall of glass, they are happy, chirping cats.
It’s a different story for the felis catus domesticus, also known as the common house cat.
Even if they were rescued or placed for adoption as a kitten, they probably were still born in nature. They consider green grass and trees as their natural habitat.
As much as they appreciate the comfort of your heated floor, soft couch or comfy lap, they will most likely want to roam and protect their outside surroundings at some point during the day.
So when we spotted a message for Mono, an 11-year old ‘lady’ who loved nothing more than to sleep and cuddle inside all day every day, we fell in love.
How Can I make my Patio Cat Friendly?
The first few weeks our furry new room mate was perfectly happy exploring every room and nook of her new home.
But as Summer approached and butterflies started to teasingly flutter near our patio window, we quickly understood that she considered our balcony as part of ‘her new home’.
So we decided to let her outside for short periods of time. Supervised at first (we live on the first floor of our building) and now we feel comfortable leaving her outside as long as she sees fit.
Over time, bit by bit, we turned our outside living space into our cat’s dream haven.
To help out fellow cat owners with limited outside space, I’ve created this list of must haves for a cat-proof balcony that will make any cat a happy (outdoor) camper.
Below I have added links to items I like and could be useful to you. As a member of the Amazon affiliate program I might receive a small commission when you click on these links. Just so ya know!
Make your Patio a Comfy Place to Relax
Cats love to feel something soft underneath their paws. And if it can’t be a bed of grass or moss, they will search for it elsewhere.
Much like inside your house there are plenty of items they will use to lounge on.
1. Soft pillows or blankets
Leave a towel or piece of clothing on the floor and there’s a good chance your cat will gladly use it as her new sleeping blanket.
If your outdoor area has hard flooring like stone or wood, provide your cat with a softer alternative.
A blanket or soft pillow on the floor or draped over a chair will be much appreciated.
Even something as simple as a cardboard box with a folded blanket tucked in it can become your cat’s favorite outdoor bed.
Just make sure you place the cardboard box and other soft materials where it stays protected from rain and other elements of nature.
2. An outdoor rug
A design friendly alternative is an outdoor rug. A pretty outdoor rug instantly adds color and style to your patio or balcony.
Here are a couple of things to avoid when choosing an outdoor rug for your cat-friendly patio:
• Stay away from plastic mats or artificial grass.
There’s a good chance your feline friend will chew on it, ingesting plastic particles along the way.
• There’s no need to spend big.
Rain, snow and sun rays will do their best to wear the rug out in no time. And your cat will probably enjoy digging his/her nails into ‘their’ rug as well.
Excellent choices, in my opinion, are:
• Rope, raffia or jute
• Woven fabric
Have an Outside Place to Observe
Aside from sleeping and eating, cats’ favorite activity is people watching.
3. A Peek-through Spot
Don’t close off areas where your cat could peak through. Unless the space is big enough for your cat to get into trouble of course.
Whether it’s the neighbors’ place, the street below or a nearby garden, your cat likes to stay updated about what’s happening around town.
Make sure that even when you close off a certain area your cat can keep its view.
4. A Towering Throne
Cats like to look down on their ‘subjects’. If other (larger) animals can enter your outdoor space, your cat will prefer a higher observation spot.
That way your cat feels superior to the mere creatures entering ‘their’ space.
Make sure the area is closed off properly, for example by installing a multi story catio.
Create a Safe Haven
They say cats have nine lives and they always land on their feet. But I’m sure you’d rather not see that theory tested in real life when it comes to your furry friend.
5. Cat-proof Ledges
Make sure your beloved pet can’t climb on top of small ledges, like the edge of your balcony.
Something as simple as outdoor bulbs can make a once attractive border a now seemingly unstable object.
I only recommend this for first floor apartments or ground floor spaces. And if your cat has little to no interest in jumping ship.
If you live higher up I would consider looking into the ideas below to keep your balcony a cat-safe place.
6. Build a (Mini) Catio
If you have a particularly adventurous cat that can’t be tricked that easily, consider closing the space off with netting or building a catio.
You might not have room for a full blown, multi level cat patio. But if you’re worried your cat might get lost or hurt itself if you don’t have a closed off area, you can build a miniature version instead.
As long as your cat can move and turn around comfortably, your furry friend will be more than happy with her new place in the sun.
7. Use Netting
Another way you can cat-proof your apartment balcony is by using netting.
Here’s a simple example of someone who made their balcony cat-proof by using floor to ceiling netting.
You can buy ready to install netting online and in specialized pet shops.
Grow Cat friendly Plants
Cats are curious in nature. And when you introduce a new plant into your home you can be sure he/she will want to inspect the new house mate.
8. Look Out for Toxic Plants
Cats are less inclined to eat ‘all the things’ like dogs sometimes do.
But when they do take a nibble from a toxic plant it can have pretty severe consequences for your cat’s health.
Check the safe and toxic plants list on the APSCA website before you buy a new addition to your plant collection.
9. Plant a Cat Garden
Now that you know what plants to buy and which ones to avoid, you can start thinking about plants your cat will actually be drawn to, in a good way.
Ideal choices for a Cat Garden are:
- Cat grass
- Spider plant
And this list is certainly not complete. Here’s a fun guide on how to make your own dedicated cat garden.
11. Make a Unique Grass Bed
A great addition to your cat garden could be an actual plot of grass.
We made our cat a raised grass bed. Yep, you read that correctly.
How Do I Make a Grass Bed for my Cat?
It’s actually very easy to make your own outdoor cat grass bed. One trip to your local garden center is all it takes to get the items you need:
- a (raised) garden bed
- potting soil
- canvas to prevent leaking
- grass seeds
The idea behind this cat bed is pretty simple. It’s very similar to having a small vegetable patch on your balcony or patio. Only, in this case, the ‘greens’ you’re growing is a plot of grass.
The technique to make this grass bed is very simple. Line your garden bed with the canvas. Make sure you cover all the nooks. Fill the entire space with the right kind of potting soil.
Sow the grass seeds following the instructions on the packaging. Water the bed and wait for the grass to grow. Cover the bed lightly with canvas or a blanket until the grass is starting to show. This way you can keep your cat from digging in and using it as her personal litter box.
Before you know it, your cat will be lounging in her own personal grass patio, enjoying a nibble from the grass surrounding her.
Provide Human Contact for your Pets
Whoever says cats only care about eating and sleeping have never experienced a cat’s true love before.
Once your cat has decided the love is mutual and your feline friend has chosen you to be (one of) its favorite humans, they will want to be by your side ALL THE TIME.
Cats love nothing more than to follow their humans around. Just take a trip to the bath room, and you’ll see.
12. Invest in a Love Seat
A small bench is the perfect way to spend some quality time with your beloved feline friend.
As long as this outdoor seating area has enough room for the both of you to sit on, your cat will gladly keep you company while you’re reading a book or checking your DMs in the sun.
Close off garbage and compost bins
The garbage might attract mice and other rodents, making your cat jump for joy. But you’re probably not so happy when your cat follows his hunting instincts.
Aside from the fact that your cat will like to rummage through your thrash, you also have to keep in mind that he might take a bite from spoiled food or other thrash.
Save yourself (and your cat!) a trip to the vet and keep all garbage containers tightly sealed and out of your pets’ reach.
Have you turned your outdoor space in a pet friendly haven? Do you have any pro tips for other pet lovers?